If you are a fan of the sitcom ‘Friends’, you may remember an episode where Monica couldn’t work out a recipe for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies and gave up trying. She said: “I guess I’m not gonna be the mom who makes the world’s best chocolate cookies. I do make the best duck confit with broccoli rabe. Kids love that, right?” I don’t know about kids, but we (just about adults) really do. We make the best Slow Cooker Duck Confit with cherry sauce and serve it with tenderstem broccoli “rabe”.
- What is Confit?
- Step-By-Step Recipe: How to Make Duck Leg Confit in a Slow Cooker?
- What to Serve With Confit Duck?
- More Slow Cooker Recipes
- Recipe FAQs:
- Other French Recipes
- Recipe Card
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What is Confit?
Duck Confit may sound like a complicated dish, but it is all about time and patience, rather than complex methods. If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘low and slow’, it is definitely applicable to confit duck leg. Traditionally made by submerging the duck legs in olive oil and cooking in the oven at around 120°C for about 4 hours, we opted to confit our duck legs in a slow cooker (we have a Morphy Richards 3.5l slow cooker that is just enough to cook for 2 of us!).
In a nutshell, confit is a method of preserving, whereby ingredients are preserved by submerging and cooking the ingredients in fat. Whilst Duck Confit is one of the most popular dishes, other meats, vegetables and even fruit can be preserved this way. Three important elements of the confit process are:
- Salt Cure
- Slow Cooking
Read more about Confit, here.
For the slow cooker duck legs, cooked confit-style, you will need:
- duck legs: approx 220g each.
- coarse salt: we love Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.
- freshly-ground black pepper.
- olive oil: You may use extra virgin or not. You may substitute the oil with duck fat.
- garlic clove.
- sprigs of rosemary: can be replaced with thyme sprigs.
Step-By-Step Recipe: How to Make Duck Leg Confit in a Slow Cooker?
This slow cooker recipe has three main steps: curing the duck legs in salt, slow cooking and then placing them in the oven to crisp up the skin. Follow the steps below for a delicious duck dinner.
Prepare the Duck Legs for Cooking Confit Style:
Dab the surface of the duck skin with paper towels to remove any extra moisture. Prick the skin of the duck legs with a fork or a cocktail stick/toothpick all over. This will ensure the fat underneath the skin can escape whilst cooking and make the duck skin crispy.
Season the legs with coarse salt (we used sea salt) and pepper. If you’re looking to preserve the confit duck legs, cover and leave them to cure in salt for 7-8 hours in the fridge. If you’re going to eat the confit duck within a few days, you can cure it for an hour or two.
‘Low and Slow’ Cooking of the Duck Legs in a Slow Cooker (Crock Pot):
Place the salted duck legs in your slow cooker, skin side up. Pour the olive oil over them, and add the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours. Make sure there is enough fat in the slow cooker to submerge the duck meat.
After 6 hours, remove the duck legs from the slow cooker and onto a roasting pan or a baking tray. Place the duck legs skin-side up. Be very gentle, the meat will be sliding off the bone at this point and you want to keep the legs intact.
***If you’re looking to preserve the confit duck legs to eat later, place the cooked legs in a single layer in an airtight container, pour all the fat from the slow cooker on them, making sure the legs are fully submerged (you may need some extra oil/fat if there isn’t enough). Once the duck and fat have cooled down to room temperature, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.***
If you want to eat it on the day, preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. Place the confit duck legs in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the skin crisps up.
What to Serve With Confit Duck?
Some of our favourite side dishes to serve with Confit Duck Leg are:
Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon (Tenderstem Broccoli ‘Rabe’)
Cut tenderstem broccoli into 4-5 cm pieces and place them in a large pan. Pour boiling water into the pan over the broccoli and bring to a rapid boil. Cook for 1 minute, then drain in a colander. Your broccoli should soften but still retain most of its crunch.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and a pinch of chilli flakes. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli, season with salt, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Squeeze half a lemon over the broccoli ‘rabe’ and serve alongside the confit duck legs. You can find our full recipe for Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon here.
Easy Sour Cherry Sauce
Our simple recipe for Sour Cherry Sauce uses frozen cherries and balsamic vinegar, making it an alcohol-free sauce that you can make even when you don’t have any fancy wine at home! Duck Confit with Cherry Sauce is our favourite match ever
Alternatively, make a traditional orange sauce or red wine sauce!
Crushed Baby Potatoes
Whilst we love any kind of potato side dish with duck confit, we feel that Crushed Baby Potatoes work best. And here’s why! Duck Confit is a rich meaty dish, so creamy mashed potato or roast potatoes may just be ‘a-bit-too-much’ for some ‘diet-conscious’ people (NOT us!). Our Smashed Baby Potatoes are simple, easy to make and low fat, making them a perfect accompaniment to this easy Confit Duck!
Alternatively, you can make a simple side of sautéed potatoes, roast swede or white rice.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
The easiest way to crisp up the skin on your confit duck legs is by placing the cooked legs in the oven for 20 minutes at 180°C Fan. Alternatively, place the cooked legs skin side down into a hot pan and fry for a few minutes until crispy!
If you prepare your duck correctly, Duck Confit can last months in the fridge. However, to ensure it preserves well, you need to cure it with salt for 8 hours before cooking. Make sure your duck meat is fully submerged in fat before placing it in the fridge too. We recommend using the cooked duck within 2 months.
Cooking duck legs low and slow should ensure tender, fall-of-the-bone meat, but if your duck legs are still tough, they may not be cooked long enough or your duck legs were not fresh or of poor quality.
Other French Recipes
If you made our slow-cooked duck legs, please let me know if you liked them in the comments below. For other quintessentially French recipes, have a look at some of our personal favourites below:
Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Cherry Sauce
- Slow Cooker such as Crock Pot
For Duck Confit:
- 2 duck legs approx 220g each
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 120 ml olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- Prick the skin of the duck legs with a fork or a cocktail stick/ toothpick all over. This will ensure the fat underneath the skin can escape whilst cooking and make the duck skin crispy.
- Season the legs with coarse salt (we used sea salt) and pepper. If you're looking to preserve the confit duck legs, cover and leave them cure in salt for 7-8 hours in the fridge. If you're going to eat the confitt duck within a few days, you can cure for an hour, or so.
- Place the duck legs in your slow cooker, skin side up. Pour the olive oil over them, add the garlic and rosemary sprigs. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
- After 6 hours, remove the duck legs from the slow cooker onto a baking tray. Be very gentle, the meat will be sliding off the bone at this point and you want to keep the legs intact.
- ***If you're looking to preserve the confit duck legs to eat later, place the cooked legs in a single layer in an airtight container, pour all the fat from the slow cooker on them, making sure the legs are fully submerged (you may need some extra oil/fat if there isn't enough). Once the duck and fat have cooked down to room temperature, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.***
- Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. Place the confit duck legs in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the skin crisps up.