Duck confit checks all the 2020 Thanksgiving boxes.

  • It’s perfect for solo or family dining.
  • It’s simple and easy, with a handful of ingredients and maybe 25 minutes of hands-on time so you can go back to bingeing “The Crown.”
  • It’s special enough to be a holiday project.
  • It makes your home smell amazing and makes the most of quarantine time.
  • Leftovers will last through the winter holidays, so you can pull a confit leg out of the fridge anytime life needs to feel like a party.

Watch the video below to see just how easy it is to make.

Confit is a method of cooking low and slow in liquid (usually fat or a sugar syrup) to preserve food. Magically, duck meat cooked in a bath of its own fat becomes fall-off-the-bone tender, and not at all greasy. After cooking, there’s ample duck fat left over to make the best sauteed potatoes ever. (My son calls them “pan potatoes” — because they’re so good, we steal them straight from the pan.) Then put a simple salad of bitter greens on the side, to cut through the richness of the rest of the meal, and you’re done.

All this from a centuries-old preservation technique that has survived the age of refrigeration for the best of reasons: It’s downright delicious. The meat is great out of the oven and gets even better if you let it sit in the fridge for several weeks, up to two months — its taste becomes even more complex. It can keep for up to six months in the freezer if completely covered in a layer of fat.

Confit is a great place to put your sourdough/homesteading energy that requires less waiting and higher rates of success. And if you’re feeling more adventurous, you may use that duck confit as inspiration to make a cassoulet.

My two goals for holidays 2020 are (1) make it special and (2) eliminate the stress. The past nine months feel as if I made a monkey’s paw wish that I had more time to cook. No one likes cooking this much. Duck confit is my holiday solution.