Confit is the classic French method to preserve duck legs. The legs are salted and poached gently in duck fat; then the legs are stored, submerged in that duck fat. When it’s time to eat, the legs are removed from the fat, wiped off, and seared to crisp up the duck skin. That’s a lot of work, especially if you don’t plan on preserving the legs. Instead, I make pseudo-confit with my pressure cooker – Instant Pot Duck Confit.
(I still remember the duck confit and frisée salad I had at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Napa Valley. Oh, my.)
And, yes, I know this isn’t real “confit”. But it’s still quite good. I use my Instant Pot as a pressure steamer, which tenderizes the tough duck legs and renders a lot of the duck fat under the skin. Then I sear the legs – I use a frypan, so I can fit all the legs in one batch. And, I save the rendered duck fat – I use my fat separator in reverse, and use the fat to make duck fat potatoes. Again…oh, my.
I get my duck legs from my friends at Maple Leaf Farms – they sell 2-packs of frozen pekin duck legs. They tend to be a specialty item, so look at upscale markets, or ask your grocery store’s meat department for a special order.
Recipe: Instant Pot Duck ConfitPrint
Instant Pot Duck Confit. French style duck legs, silky and tender thanks to pressure cooking.
- 4 duck legs
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence (or Penzeys Sunny Paris seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Season the duck legs: Sprinkle the duck legs evenly with the salt and Herbes de Provence. Pour 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker pot, and then put a pressure cooker rack into the pot. Put the duck legs on the rack in a loose pile.
- Pressure cook the duck legs for 30 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker (“manual” or “pressure cook” mode in an Instant Pot) or for 25 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 more minutes. Unlock the lid and open the pot, tilting the lid away from you to avoid the hot steam.
- Brown the duck legs: Gently move the duck legs from the pressure cooker to a platter. (They’re very tender, and will want to fall apart.) Heat a tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Set the duck legs in the pan, skin side down, and cook until the skin is browned, about 3 minutes. Flip the legs and brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Serve and enjoy!
- Cook from frozen: To cook the duck legs, skip the seasoning and put the frozen duck legs directly in the pressure cooker. Add five minutes to the pressure cooker timing (35 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric PC, 30 minutes in a stovetop PC). Also, season the legs after pressure cooking and before browning – the seasoning won’t stick to the frozen legs.
- One pot browning: If you want to make this a one-pot recipe, brown the duck legs in the pressure cooker pot in two batches. After pressure cooking the duck legs, wipe out the pressure cooker pot, add the oil to the pot, and set the pressure cooker to sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat). Wait for the oil to shimmer, then brown the legs in 2 batches, 2 legs per batch.
- Duck fat rules! Instead of vegetable oil, use the rendered duck fat in the pot. Pour the liquid from the pot into another container and let it rest. The fat will float to the top, where I scoop out a tablespoon and use it to sear the duck legs. (I use my fat separator for this, but in reverse. I want the fat on the top, so I pour out all the defatted liquid, and am left with liquid gold duck fat.)
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: Instant Pot Duck Confit, Pressure Cooker Duck Confit
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