Why It Works
- Reheating and crisping duck confit in a nonstick skillet ensures that its delicate skin browns evenly and doesn't tear.
- Duck fat from the koji confit and garlic cooked in the fat infuse the rice with richness and savory depth.
- The richness of the confit and duck fat–coated rice is balanced by the sour-salty-sweet punch of Japanese umeboshi, fresh cilantro, and the nutty bitterness of toasted sesame seeds.
Making duck confit is a simple but time-consuming cooking project that rewards cooks with silky, tender duck legs that can be stored for a long time in the flavor-infused fat, which protects the meat from spoilage. Most duck confit recipes provide detailed instructions for cooking the confit itself but then gloss over directions for reheating and serving the duck legs as part of a meal.
Here, we have addressed that issue by developing a recipe that turns our koji duck confit into a quick and easy rice bowl meal. The confit duck legs are reheated on the stovetop in a nonstick skillet to slowly crisp and brown the skin without tearing it. While the duck legs crisp up, thinly sliced garlic is bloomed in duck fat from the confit, and then folded into cooked rice. Coating the rice with the koji-infused duck fat gives it savory depth and richness, which is then balanced by the sour-salty punch of umeboshi—fermented Japanese plums—and fresh cilantro.
This rice bowl feels like a special occasion dish, but if you have the koji confit already made, it comes together in less than 30 minutes for a simple weeknight meal.
- 4 legs koji duck confit, brought to room temperature and gently removed from fat
- 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon (65ml) duck fat from koji duck confit, divided
- 4 medium cloves garlic (20g), thinly sliced
- 4 cups hot cooked rice, preferably short-grain (see note)
- 5 umeboshi (45g), pitted and finely minced (see note)
- 1/4 cup (15g) roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 1 tablespoon (6g) toasted white or black sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- Kosher salt
Gently pat duck skin dry with paper towels. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon (5ml) duck fat to skillet, and spread with a paper towel until no visible fat remains. Add duck legs to skillet, skin-side down, and cook, using a weight or small cast iron skillet to press down on the duck legs for even browning and crisping of the skin. Cook, checking and shifting duck legs occasionally to ensure even browning of the skin, until skin is deeply browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully flip duck legs over, and continue to cook until meat is warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer duck legs to a plate or rimmed baking sheet.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1/4 cup (60ml) duck fat in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic softens, becomes very aromatic, and turns lightly golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour contents of saucepan over the cooked rice, and, using a rice paddle or rubber spatula, stir to incorporate garlic and evenly coat rice with duck fat. Add umeboshi, cilantro, and sesame seeds to rice, and stir to combine. Season with salt to taste.
Divide rice evenly between serving bowls, followed by duck legs. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.
Nonstick skillet, Chef's Press cooking weights (optional)
This recipe was developed using Japanese short-grain rice, but other types of rice will work as well.
Umeboshi are salted, fermented Japanese plums that pack an intense sweet-sour-salty punch. They can be found in well-stocked grocery stores, Japanese markets, and online.
Make-Ahead and Storage
This dish is best enjoyed immediately.