Slow Cooker Duck Confit & Pomegranate Molasses

Whenever I go to a French Restaurant for dinner I often choose the Duck Confit as a main dish.  It always tastes so decadent, I love the melt in your mouth meat and the crispy skin but it seemed like a tough dish to cook.  I did a bit of research online and in my cookery books and realised that it just sounded more complicated than it actually was.   I also didn’t see why I couldn’t make a Slow Cooker Duck Confit to simplify the process even more.  Also, I’m loving pomegranate everything at the moment so i decided to try making a Pomegranate Molasses to use as a sauce for the duck.

So on to the duck…  Normally for this recipe you would just use duck legs but when I went shopping there was an entire duck on special offer.  It was just too good a deal to pass up, so I bought the whole duck and decided to confit every bit of it.  Unfortunately, you can’t confit a duck in its entirety (or maybe you could but it wouldn’t fit in my slow cooker) so the first step is to butcher it to remove the legs, breasts and wings.

Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses by Emma Eats & Explores - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD, Dairy-Free
How to butcher a whole duck? Here goes nothing…

Butchering the duck

Disclaimer: I’ve never butchered anything in my life, so if I can, you can too!!

I followed this Youtube video and actually it was much simpler than I expected.  To start with, make sure you remove the bag from inside the bird containing the gizzards!  Then, with a very sharp knife, slice through the skin between the thigh and the back.  Bend the leg back until you hear a pop (the socket breaking) and then using a sharp knife, slice through the joint to remove the leg.  Repeat for the other sideSlow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses by Emma Eats & Explores - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD, Dairy-Free

Run the sharp knife down one side of the breastbone to cut the skin.  Then, using long sweeping strokes, make cuts into the meat.  Try to stay as close to the bone as possible to ensure you get as much of the meat off as possible.  Continue cutting downwards and outwards until the breast comes away from the carcass.  Repeat for the other side.

Using the sharp knife, cut through the bones that join the wings to the bird to remove the wings.Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses by Emma Eats & Explores - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD, Dairy-Free

I was actually quite impressed with my efforts after I’d finished, there definitely wasn’t much meat left behind, but I don’t think any butchers in the Bloomsbury area need to worry about their jobs!

I chose to roast the duck carcass in the oven at 180C for about 90 mins to render the fat from it to use in the final dish (waste not want not) and then if you really want to be frugal you can boil the duck carcass up with some veggies to make a stock or bone broth.Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses by Emma Eats & Explores - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD, Dairy-Free

Once you have your joints ready, rub the salt and 4 of the garlic cloves (sliced) all over the duck and place in a dish.  Add the bay leaves and half of the thyme, cover with cling film and allow the meat to cure overnight (at least 12 hours) in the fridge, in the salt and herbs.Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses by Emma Eats & Explores - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD, Dairy-Free

Confiting the Duck

When you are ready to confit the duck, rinse the salt and herbs off of the meat and pat it dry.

Pour the fat into the slow cooker (add the rendered fat from the carcass too if you have that) along with the rest of the thyme and the garlic (sliced).  Add the duck, making sure that every part of the duck is submerged.  You don’t want any part of it sticking out from underneath the fat.  Turn the slow-cooker onto high and then leave the duck confiting in the oil for 3-4 hours (closer to 4 is better).  When you remove it, the meat should feel tender and like it would come off the bone if you applied any pressure to it.

Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses by Emma Eats & Explores - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD, Dairy-Free
The duck doesn’t look hugely appetising at this point but it will taste amazing I promise!

Preserving the Slow Cooker Duck Confit

At this point you can halt the cooking process and keep the duck legs for another time if you preserve them correctly.  Transfer them to a clean dish and pour over the fat so that they are completely submerged.  Then place outside or wait until it has cooled enough to put the dish into the fridge.  Once the fat has set around the meat you will be able to keep the duck legs for up to six months in the fridge.  You could always cook more duck legs than you need and then serve some and keep some for another time.

Cooking the Duck

Once you are ready to cook the duck, heat the duck fat in a frying pan until it is very hot.  Place the pieces of duck in the pan (skin side down for the breasts, fry both sides for the legs) and fry to crisp up the skin and warm the meat through (about 5 minutes) and then it’s ready to serve.

I drizzled over some of my Pomegranate Molasses and served it with my Cauliflower Mash and some Pan-Fried Spinach and Mushrooms with Garlic and topped the whole thing off with some pomegranate seeds.  If you can eat potatoes, I’m sure they would be absolutely heavenly cooked in some of the left over duck fat!  So tasty!Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses by Emma Eats & Explores - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD, Dairy-Free

The meat was so tender and just fell off the bone and when paired with the crispiness of the skin it was a seriously impressive dinner.  It went so well with the Pomegranate Molasses too which was sweet and sharp at the same time.  It’s easy to see why duck is usually paired with some kind of fruit as in Duck a l’Orange or Duck with Hoisin (plum) sauce.  The acids in the fruit cut through the fattiness in the duck really well and balance the whole dish out so it doesn’t feel too heavy.

Usually, it’s only the legs that are confited but i was surprised at how well it worked with the breasts as well.  However, It definitely wasn’t worth confiting the wings though – there just wasn’t enough meat on them to make it worthwhile.  I’d just use them in a stock or roast them with the carcass to render extra fat from them.  Slow Cooker Duck Confit turned out to be a much easier dish than I imagined but it does look very impressive – definitely looks like you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen for hours.  In fact, the slow cooker does everything for you and you just need to do the 5 minutes of pan frying at the end.  Definitely a meal for a special evening in or even one to impress your guests at a dinner party.  I promise they’ll never guess how easy it is to prepare!

Print Recipe
Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses Yum
Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses by Emma Eats & Explores - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD, Dairy-Free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3-4 hours
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3-4 hours
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses by Emma Eats & Explores - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD, Dairy-Free
Instructions
Break down the duck
  1. Remove the gizzard bag from inside the cavity of the bird and break down the duck so that you are left with the 2 legs, 2 breasts and 2 wings. - for a how to guide see this YouTube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IULDZylc6EA
How to butcher the duck
  1. With a sharp knife slice through the skin between the thigh and the back. Bend the leg back until you hear a pop (the socket breaking) and then using a sharp knife, slice through the joint to remove the leg.
  2. Run the sharp knife down one side of the breastbone to cut the skin. Then, using long sweeping strokes, make cuts into the meat. Try to stay as close to the bone as possible to ensure you get as much of the meat off as possible. Continue cutting downwards and outwards until the breast comes away from the carcass.
  3. Using the sharp knife, cut through the bones that join the wings to the bird to remove the wings.
Confiting the duck
  1. Rub the salt and 4 of the garlic cloves (sliced) all over the duck and place in a dish. Add the bay leaves and half of the thyme.
  2. cover the dish with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight (at least 12 hours).
  3. After 12 hours rinse the salt and herbs from the duck and pat dry.
  4. Pour the fat into the slow cooker and add the rest of the garlic (sliced) and the rest of the thyme.
  5. Submerge the duck under the fact making sure that it is completely covered.
  6. Turn the slow cooker on to high and leave for 3-4 hours until the duck is tender and would fall off the bone if pressure is applied.
Frying the duck
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the duck fat (from the slow cooker) in a frying pan until it is really hot.
  2. Remove the duck legs from the slow cooker and fry (skin side down for the breasts both sides for the legs) in the hot duck fat until the skin is crispy and the meat is warmed through. About 5 mins.
  3. Drizzle over the Pomegranate Molasses and serve with your choice of side dishes.
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Allergy & Dietary Information for Slow Cooker Duck Confit with Pomegranate Molasses

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free & Refined-Sugar Free.  It’s also suitable for Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), Whole30 and Low Carb Diets.

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52 Comments Add yours

  1. bonvoyageluv says:

    Wow, that looks very legit to say the least.

  2. Oh my goodness…yummmm! I am addicted to French food and also often order duck confit when I am dining on French fare. This recipe looks amazing and actually less complicated than I would imagine! I am definitely going to give it a try!

  3. tara pittman says:

    I love that this can be cooked in a slow cooker. My husband would love for me to make this

  4. Sarah Bailey says:

    I bet that the duck’s meat was a tender juicy one and its delightful taste will surely stand out.

  5. Kimberly C. says:

    This looks delicious, although I have no idea what it would tastes like. I’ve never had duck before. Then again…I’m not very good in the kitchen either.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It’s so easy and delicious, you should give it a try!

  6. Wow looks delicious, I am going to try this instead of Sunday roast tomorrow!

  7. Madison Weaver says:

    This looks so good! My husband would love this!

  8. I am not much of a meat eater, but the boys in my family are. I think they would enjoy this.

  9. Candace says:

    This looks absolutely delicious. Not a huge fan of duck as I find it a little greasy but I do like it every now and then

  10. TColeman says:

    I have never prepared duck before! This looks like it would be so delicious.

  11. I have not yet tried preparing duck dishes because I fear it would turn into a major fail. If we do have a craving for it, we get our fix from a restaurant. However, your recipe looks easy to follow! I will have to muster a lot of confidence and give this recipe my best shot. Wish me luck! 🙂

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I felt exactly the same but it really is that easy! Give it a go – it’s worth it ?

  12. kage2015 says:

    We are hunters and I have duck in the freezer. Will be using your recipe this week. Anything in the slow cooker works for me.

  13. thecoffeemom0617 says:

    This looks really good and I’m not a duck fan. I wonder if it would work with chicken

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Oooh great idea. Now I’m going to have to confit chicken and see how it turns out! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  14. R U S S says:

    You did make it this recipe sound so simple, but I’m sure that if I were to try this I gotta practice a lot. My howe loves duck though so I definitely should try this one soon. I’m sure it’s going to be a hit.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It really is as easy as it seems, give it a go!

  15. Tauyanm says:

    wow that would pass a very expensive gourmet food! the presentation is fantastic! i love duck too! i used to eat lots of it back in singapore and malaysia

  16. Vanessa says:

    I’ve never cooked duck before, but this recipe makes me want to try it out. Especially with these ingredients.

  17. Daniela says:

    Your recipe looks so so yummi and kinda reminds me of the goose my family had for lunch today.
    Maybe I should give the recipe to my dad so next time he can try it out.

    Regards,
    Daniela

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I’m sure goose would work just as well in this recipe. I’ve never tried goose though – have to add it to my list!

  18. Anosa says:

    I love duck and always order the confit too when I visit a french restaurant. Lovely recipe

  19. Lisa Elaine says:

    Love trying out new recipes! excited to try!

  20. Lianne says:

    This sounds amazing! I absolutely love duck but I have never cooked it myself. Definitely want to try this!
    Lianne

  21. joyfuliowan says:

    Duck Confit is one of my favorites! This looks amazing!

  22. Ance Antovska says:

    I haven’t yet tried preparing duck but it looks easy and good recipe to try it for dinner 🙂 I love to preparing something new.

  23. Rosey says:

    My grandfather used to like duck. He had my grandmother make one for every Christmas dinner. 🙂

  24. Amber says:

    Mmm, I don’t think I’ve ever had duck before. I need to try this out. It looks delicious.

  25. Chloe says:

    I’ve always wanted to try and cook duck! You have totally nailed it! My favourite thing about duck is that it always feels like you are at a fancy restaurant when you eat it haha

  26. I love my slow cooker! This sounds so different I’ll have to try it!

  27. Emma white says:

    Im a fan of duck but never cooked one myself so thankyou for this recipe and easy guide i can give it ago myself now!

  28. Kelly says:

    THIS LOOKS INCREDIBLE! And I love a good slow-cooker recipe!

  29. valerie jane says:

    You’re so right! It seems like a fairly complicated dish, but the way you’ve explained it, I feel less intimidated! And your plating makes me think of Christmas! 🙂 Good job!

  30. tcmdisqus says:

    This looks so delicious! and honestly a lot easier than I thought it would be! can’t wait to give it a try

    Rachel |

  31. markandkate8 says:

    Didn’t know how to butcher a duck before…thanks for sharing that one. And what a great recipe… I’m not the greatest of cook but I’ll your recipe as photo looks so inviting.

  32. Abby says:

    Goodness that looks so yummy! I need to try this recipe asap! Loving the look of those bay leaves and rosemary – my fave herbs!

  33. Kait says:

    I have never tried duck before, but I have been looking for some slow cooker recipes! Maybe this will be my next hit for dinner!

  34. Joscelyn | Wifemamafoodie says:

    Wow, this sounds amazing! Reminds me of a dish we had in Paris! Will have to try making it soon!

  35. Natasha says:

    This looks ah-mazing! I’ve never had duck before so obviously never have cooked it. But any recipe involving my slow cooker is encouraging. Pinned this for later.

  36. Athena says:

    That looks amazing! And even better with a slow cooker. I love anything that saves me time with the use of a slow cooker!

  37. John says:

    This looks incredible! Can’t wait to make it!

  38. Chrissy Z. @ The Brave Wanderer says:

    This looks amazing! And I love that you added pomegranate! Delicious!

  39. Maria Han says:

    This is absolutely looks a yummy recipe, I bet my hubby would surely love this

  40. I’m not a fan of duck but it really looks an amazing recipe. I need to try this at home.

  41. Elizabeth O. says:

    That’s a winner right there! I don’t usually cook duck at home but this makes me want to try the recipe! It looks so good!

  42. Very detailed post. I cook all things but do so bad with raw meats/poultry etc. Like the simplicity of the recipe.

  43. perfectstormbff says:

    I’ve actually never had duck at all before but I’ve been very keen to try it. It look so yummy!

  44. I would have had no idea how to do this until I read this post! Thanks so much!

  45. Samantha says:

    I love using my slow cooker! I have never tried duck before.

I'd be thrilled to hear any comments you have. I read each and every one and it means so much to me!