Duck Leg Confit in the Crock Pot
Saturday, 12 June 2010
One of my favorite meals is duck leg confit. Duck legs have a lot of fat on them, but the secret to confit is that slow-cooking them in their own fat makes the meat tender and juicy and the skin crispy as it cooks away the fat. The problem with most confit recipes is that it is time consuming, requiring a couple hours of slow cooking both on the stove top and in the oven. But then I thought about cooking it in the crock pot, which, even though it would take longer, would be more energy-efficient and require less attention since I could leave it unattended for longer periods if necessary.
I started out the way I normally cook it on the stove. Rub the duck legs with salt and leave them sit at room temperature while heating a few tablespoons of lard or duck fat (after making this recipe, you’ll have some to reserve for the next time) in a skillet over medium-low heat. When it becomes hot (but do not let it get to smoking), add the duck legs skin-side down. Let them simmer in oil for about 10 minutes, until their fat starts to render. Then turn off the skillet and transfer the duck legs to the crock pot, skin-side up. Let the remaining oil cool until safe to handle, then carefully pour over the duck legs. Set your crock pot on the low setting, and cook for about 4-5 hours.
When my duck legs were finished, they were perfectly golden-brown, as you can see above, and the meat was extremely tender. The skin was not quite as crispy as oven-roasted duck confit, and not all of the fat rendered away, but I was easily able to cut away the extra fat and enjoy the meat with a delicious bit of skin.
Once the rendered duck fat has cooled, strain it into a glass jar and refrigerate. You can use it the next time you start another batch of duck confit. I have also tried pan-frying some fingerling potatoes in a bit of duck fat and they were delicious.