Duck Confit with Spicy Pickled Raisins

Marcus Nilsson
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in duck legs 
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more freshly cracked 
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. kosher salt 
  • 9 sprigs thyme, divided 
  • 6 dried chiles de árbol, crushed, or 1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, divided 
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds 
  • 1 sprig rosemary 
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins


Using the tip of a knife or the sharp tines of a carving fork, prick duck leg skin all over. Rub with garlic (slices should stick to skin) and season with 1 tsp. ground pepper and 2 Tbsp. salt.

Preheat oven to 250°. Arrange duck, skin side down, in a roasting pan or large Dutch oven and add 8 thyme sprigs, 4 chiles (or 1 tsp. red pepper flakes), and 1/2 cup water. Cover pan with foil or lid and cook until fat is rendered (don't be surprised: there will be lots), about 2 hours. Turn duck skin side up and nestle it into rendered fat. Cover pan and continue to cook until meat is very tender and bones easily wiggle when pulled, 2--2 1/2 hours longer.

Meanwhile, bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, rosemary sprig, remaining thyme sprig, 2 chiles (or ½ tsp. red pepper flakes), 1 tsp. salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Mix in raisins, remove from heat, and let cool at least 1 hour.

Increase oven temperature to 400°. Remove duck from fat and place, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet; reserve fat for another use (it will keep 3 weeks in refrigerator or 3 months in freezer; reheat and strain before using). Season duck with cracked pepper and roast until skin is brown and crisp, 30--35 minutes. Serve duck with pickled raisins.

Do Ahead: Raisins can be pickled 1 week ahead. Cover and chill; bring to room temperature before serving. Duck can be cooked 1 week ahead. Pack duck in fat in an airtight container and chill. 

Nutritional Information
Calories (kcal) 330
Fat (g) 11
Saturated Fat (g) 3
Cholesterol (mg) 105
Carbohydrates (g) 31
Dietary Fiber (g) 2
Total Sugars (g) 26
Protein (g) 26
Sodium (mg) 350 
Main DishesPoultry
8 servings
  • When it comes to cooking sausage, it's all about heat management

    "If you're going to grill, you can mark it first on a hotter part of the grill," says Chris Ying, editor in chief of Lucky Peach and co-author of The Wurst of Lucky Peach. "Then move it to the cooler, indirect heat to finish cooking gently and slowly, and let all of those fats and everything break down inside of the sausage."

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Host Francis Lam wins multiple 2017 James Beard Media Awards

Host Francis Lam won several awards at the 2017 James Beard Foundation Media Awards for his work as food writer and cookbook editor.