One of my favorite French bistro dishes is Duck Confit a classic specialty of the French province of Gastony. Originally designed as a method for preserving an entire duck it is now commonly prepared with the legs and thighs. The duck legs are cured with a salt, garlic and a herb mixture for a period of time then rinsed, dried and slowly poached in its own duck fat until tender. This is fine if you have a lot of duck fat but for most home cooks, we will have only have a small amount that we have rendered from our duck. This is a perfect opportunity to use the technique of sous vide witch allows us the ability to do the job with a fraction of the duck fat we would need. We only need to add a small amount of fat in each bag. In this version I am using my standard curing mix which will allow this confit to be able to preserve the meat up to six months in the refrigerator but you can substitute with a mixture of kosher salt, herbs and sugar. The duck will still last a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. Once you prepare the confit you can use it to make salads or the classic French dish, cassoulet (pictured in slideshow below).
2-3 pounds duck leg quarters
1/2 cup home curing mix or a mixture of salt and sugar
4-6 garlic cloves crushed and minced
2 Tbsp. dried thyme
1. Rub each of the duck leg with the curing mix, seal in a plastic dish and store in the refrigerator for at least three days up to a week.
2. After curing the meat rinse off the salt and spices and vacuum seal the legs with 2 Tbsp. of duck fat for each leg in a food grade sealer bag. Sous vide at 175 degrees F for 10 to 12 hours. Drain the bags (reserving the fat) and place under the broiler to crisp the skin.