Duck confit is a traditional cooking method the French have perfected. This method has been useful regardless of the cuisine you are cooking. Confit is the best method to cook the legs and wings of a duck and other meats. It involves salting the meat down for a while, then cooking it in fat, usually its own fat.
Confit has been a preservation method adopted by people for years. Duck legs were heavily salted together with herbs and slowly cooked in duck fat and stored in earthenware crocks. The meat is completed submerged in that fat and kept in a cool, dark place for months. Today’s confit, although not so heavily salted, is ripened for at least one week.
How to Go About Making Confit
Traditionally, making duck legs confit requires many cups of duck fat; however, this can get costly if you do not have a ready supply of fat on hand. That is why many people today vacuum seal their duck with a smaller amount of fat and submerging the sealed bag in hot water to cook either in a cooler with hot water poured in it or in a sous vide machine.
Curing Duck Confit
Genuine duck confit begins with a salt cure. Duck legs are salted, together with herbs and spices, and left to cure for hours or even days. Sometimes, curing salt is used to provide the confit with a rosy colour and a slightly hamlike flavour. For many people, the most difficult thing about making confit is getting the salt the way they like it. But, you can sidestep the “too salty” issue by using an equalisation cure. You can do this by weighing your duck legs in grams and weighing out 1.5 % to 2% of that weight in salt. The higher percentage yields a more conventional cure. Ensure to use a kosher or sea salt.
When it comes to seasonings in duck confit, it is best to stick to a few ones or none at all. But, if you want to use spices, mix them with your salt and herbs and massage them into your duck. Place the meat into a sealed container in the fridge for at least one hour. If you will store your confit for a long time in a cold cellar or any other place is around 55 degrees F, cure a full two days and increase the salt percentage to 2.5%. Although long-cured confit is too salty to consume as-is, it will be incredibly great for stews or cassoulet once it aged at least three weeks.