Confit is the classic, earthy food eaten by generations of French families around the table. This recipe is so simple and can be made ahead and preserved. This is the traditional way of preparing food, cooking it, preserving it and serving it.
4 duck legs
750g coarse salt
750g duck fat
For the sauce:
1 duck carcase, chopped (chicken as alternative)
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 bouquet garni
Salt and black pepper
Buy two ducks from a good butcher, and ask them to remove the fillets, wings and legs. Then chop one of the carcasses roughly. Keep the other for another recipe, or double up the other sauce ingredients to make double the amount. You will need 4 legs for the recipe.
Pour half the salt into a dish, and place the duck legs on top, skin-side-up. Pour over the rest of the salt, cover with cling film and place in fridge overnight.
The next day, discard the salt and rinse the legs under running water. Dry with a cloth and place in a cast iron casserole dish with the duck fat. Place on a high heat on the stove and bring to the boil, keeping an eye on it. Once boiling, cover with a lid and place in an oven pre-heated to 160°C for two hours. Then remove and rest until cool. At this stage you could place the legs in a kilner jar with enough fat to cover them, and keep for month.
To make the sauce, brown the duck bones in a cast iron dish on a medium heat on the stove, stirring all the time. When dark golden in colour, add the carrot and onion and sweat for 10 minutes. Add the bouquet garni and garlic, then pour in enough cold water to cover the bones by about 5cm. Bring to the boil and skim. Then simmer for one and a half to two hours, adding cold water if it’s reducing too much. When cooked, pass through a sieve into a clean pan to reduce to about one tenth of the volume. Pass through a fine sieve and reserve about 200ml for this dish and freeze any leftover sauce in an ice-cube tray for another meal.
To finish the preparation, remove the duck legs from the fat and place under a hot grill or in an oven pre-heated to 180°C for 20 minutes.
Reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon. Taste, season and taste again.