David Lebovitz—chef, baker, cookbook author, and ex-pat living in Paris (read his The Sweet Life in Paris) says that traditional recipes for duck confit can involve dozens of steps to prepare. Duck confit is the ancient way of preserving meat in an airtight grease pack. Before the days of refrigeration, this method was a lifesaver. Confit did not have to be chilled to stay fresh because harmful bacteria cannot thrive in dense fat.
But following a traditional recipe for confit de canard can be daunting—dozens of time-consuming steps. In David’s latest cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, he hacks back the recipe to five easy-to-follow steps.
The trick to this ridiculously easy technique is to use a dish that will hold the duck thighs snugly pressed together, which allows them to “confit” as they bake. If you only have a larger dish, increase the recipe and cook extra duck legs.
Another important step is to allow time before cooking for the seasoned legs to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
A bonus in the kitchen is the leftover duck fat. Use it to sauté onions, oven bake potatoes, fry eggs, or even to pop popcorn. You can also strain the fat and freeze it, or put it in little jars to give as gifts. David’s recipe is my go-to recipe for confit de canard. I buy excellent duck legs through D’Artagnan, a gourmet food company that bills itself as the “Vanguard of the farm-to-table movement for more than 30 years.”
Read more from NPR on David’s recipe for Counterfeit Duck Confit here.