Duck confit is not a recipe in itself, but a form of preservation. It consist of using the duck's own fat to keep it for long periods inside the refrigerator, like some cheeses are sold in jars filled with olive oil (another fat, in this case vegetable).
The confit of duck is done with the thighs of the animal cooking at very low temperature for long periods of time and using the fat that exudes to make a kind of conserved. You can buy already made confit in any supermarket so that you only have to heat them and use the fat, if you want, to fry vegetables or potatoes.
The confit is usually made with duck or goose, which have lots of fat. Sometimes pork is also used, but it is less common. When confit the meat acquires a very tender texture and an intense flavor, so if you do not just like the meat of duck or goose do not try the confit at all.
Another advantage of the confit is that you can prepare the duck weeks before the holiday meals and at the given day you just have to warm it up. In fact the meat will be tastier. A confit can hold in a sealed jar for up to 6 months inside the refrigerator.
If you follow the following steps confit the duck or goose will be very simple:
It consists of rubbing the thigh with thick salt and cloves of garlic. Then it is left in a deep bowl - to collect the fat - that can go to the oven but first we put inside the refrigerator, at the top (the less cold part) for at least 24 hours. Some recipes add flavoring herbs but I do not use them. Do not forget this process! It is important to ensure its conservation.
2. Fast Bake
After the curing time, remove the excess salt, preheat the oven to 250 degrees C (480 F) and introduce the thighs to brown (even you can do it carefully using the gratin). This process is only intended to give color to the skin and it should take 10 minutes as much.
3. Slow baking
It is the most important part. You lower the temperature of the oven to a 100 degrees C (212 F) and you leave about 2 hours. Good confits are made at extremely low temperature - between 70 C and 90 degrees C (158/194F) - and for periods of time that can take up to 12 hours. The principle is this: low temperature and long time make the meat softer and tender. Let's say if you are not patient, with 90 minutes and 125 degrees C (257 F) should be more than enough.
After baking the container will be full of fat. You extract the thighs and introduce them in a tall and narrow container (a jar of preserves, for example). Fill the container with the fat so that it fills all the spaces and if possible it covers the meat with a thickness of two fingers. Close it with a lid or a foil and when it cools directly to the refrigerator.
When the preparation time arrives you will only have to remove the thighs, heat them in the oven and use the fat to fry potatoes or vegetables, caramelize onions etc, etc.