If you’re looking for triple-tested recipes from one of the most beloved recipe developers of our time, look no further than New York Times food writer Melissa Clark. Her latest book is a vibrant, diverse collection of recipes for your favorite new toy: the Instant Pot. This Instant Pot duck confit makes the succulent French treat well within reach for anyone with a craving.
This recipe might be my favorite way to use the electric pressure cooker: it is an easy and relatively quick method for making meltingly tender duck confit. You won’t need to add any extra duck fat to the pot; the duck here cooks in its own rendered fat, after which it emerges soft-fleshed and flavorful, and ready to be quickly crisped up under the broiler before serving. You’ll also end up with extra rendered duck fat. I like to save that fat for frying and roasting. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will last for up to 3 months, or freeze it for up to a year. It is absolutely wonderful for cooking potatoes.
Note: This recipe requires you to cure (marinate) the duck legs in salt, spices, garlic, and herbs at least a day or two ahead of cooking. This is an essential part of making duck confit. The salt draws out some of the moisture from the duck, firming up its texture, and the aromatics infuse it with flavor.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 garlic cloves, smahsed
- 2 bay leaves, torn in half
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice berries, lightly crushed
- 4 duck legs (drumsticks and thighs)
For the duck confit
Line a small rimmed baking sheet or a plate with paper towels. In a large bowl, stir together the salt, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice. Add the duck legs and toss, covering the legs evenly with the salt. Place the duck legs in a single layer on the baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
Brush the garlic and thyme sprigs off the duck, reserving them. Using the sauté function, arrange the duck legs, skin-side down, in the pressure cooker, with as much of the flesh touching the bottom of the pot as possible. Sear until the skin turns golden brown and the fat starts to render, 5 to 10 minutes. Flip the duck legs over and sear on the other side for 5 to 10 minutes. Scatter the reserved garlic and thyme on top of the duck.
Cover and cook the duck legs on high pressure for 40 minutes, and then release the pressure manually. Flip the legs over, and cook on high pressure for another 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
Let the duck cool completely, and then store it, covered in its own rendered fat (there will be lots of it in the pot), in the refrigerator. Note that you will be left with a dark brown liquid—the duck stock—that will separate from the white duck fat as the confit cools. Save this delicious elixir. You can use it for sauces, soups, or anywhere you need a good, concentrated meat or poultry stock. It also freezes well.
When you are ready to serve, heat the broiler.
Scrape fat off duck legs. Transfer the duck to a rimmed baking sheet and broil until the skin is crispy, 3 to 5 minutes (or you can crisp up the duck in a hot, dry skillet).