Confit de canard revisited

Confit de canard

Confit de canard (duck confit) is one of my ‘can’t live without’ dishes.  If I am in a bistrot, I will almost certainly order it, and it’s the first dish I prepare for my friends when they come for a stay.  It’s so French, so tasty, crispy, served with roast potatoes, salad and a good bottle of Médoc wine.   I can’t think of a better way to say ‘welcome’.

Tulips & coffee

When I first started this blog last April, I posted a simple version of confit de canard.   The (pre-salted) legs were cooked in the oven up to two hours, along with potatoes and thyme.  It was really good, turned out crispy as the duck fat does all the good work.  It’s a dish I often make, and as it is one of my all time favorites, I wanted to share the version I like most – it’s still simple, just a few more hours of preparations. The result is a more unctuous meat.  Confit means ‘preserved’.  The preserving is done in duck fat in which the duck is gently cooked.  It is then stored in the fat, and you can either sauté or roast in the oven.

Light up some candles, play lovely French music – no matter where you live,  you’ll have a bit of France on your plate.

Christmas is finally over.
Christmas is finally over.


Confit de canard (duck confit) recipe:

Confit de canard au four

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 duck legs
1 large jar of duck fat (enough to cover the duck legs entirely)
Lots of coarse sea salt (fleur de sel)
Potatoes, sliced (count 3 medium sized ones per person)
3 garlic cloves, sliced in half
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Black pepper

Cover the duck legs with a generous amount of ‘fleur de sel’ and make sure to rub it in. Cover with cling film and leave in your fridge overnight.
When ready, take out the duck legs and rinse them in cold water. Pat dry with kitchen towel. In a large pot, melt the jar of duck fat and cook the duck legs at a steady temperature for 2 hours (approx. 70-80 degrees celsius). Take the duck legs aside and drain the duck fat through a sieve. Return duck legs to the drained fat and leave to cool. When cooled, keep a layer of fat on the legs (approx 1.5 cm/ 1/2 inch)
How to prepare them:
1) You roast them. They have to be slightly crispy and golden. I always add a bay leaf, fresh thyme, 3 garlic cloves (sliced in half) and sliced potatoes (see photos – count 3 medium potatoes per person). Cook in a preheated oven 200°C/400°F for 25-30 minutes, depending on oven strength.
2) You can also sauté the duck legs in a frying pan until crispy and golden on each side. Sprinkle with fresh thyme towards the end.

Ps: Duck fat is healthy for you!

Gertrud when she was a puppy.
Gertrud when she was a puppy.

38 thoughts on “Confit de canard revisited

  1. Délicieux rien qu’à regarder et vos photos sont tout simplement merveilleuses Mimi.
    Bonne soirée … d’Italie!

  2. I so enjoy your blog. So homey, cozy and elevated! I am curious to see photos of your kitchen, where you prepare all of your wonderful creations! What kind of oven do you use? I am currently planning a remodel of mine and am considering different “cookers”. I love the idea of an AGA but have not yet decided. Happy New Year!

    1. When I lived in Paris, I lived near a lovely store that sold every AGA cooker you can imagine. Regularly I would stop in front of that store and gaze at the cookers. I still haven’t got one but this spring I am planning some changes and might just get myself one. So I say, go with AGA! Mimix

    1. Yes she is a real beauty. I think the standard varies between countries but here they come in solid chocolate (liver is the correct term), black or with white spots. Gertrud has a little white spot on her chest. She is an absolute darling, my favorite dog. Originally she was a christmas present from me to my husband 2 years ago, I didn’t even fancy a big dog, but now she is MY DOG since my husband is such a Terrierman.

    1. Hi Rebecca! If the confit is stored in glass jar (sterilized), you can keep the confit for up to 12 months. But generally I would say up to 3 months in a container in the fridge (for me anyway). In our family, the confit lasts one hour! Much love, mimix

      1. My father-in-law, who grew up in the country, said there was always a huge, earthenware pot of confit kept in a cool spot, which they would dig into year-round!

  3. Beautiful photos! I love confit, and I make mine in the oven (100º for 2.5 – 3 hours), with some star anise and dried tangerine peel in the fat, for a Chinese twist! It does need further frying in a pan, though, to crisp the skin.

  4. You can also “preserve” the duck legs (or wings). Simply store in jars and “steralise” for an hour in a pot that covers the lids with a couple of inches of water for 1 hour once the water has been brought to a rolling boil. It will keep for a few years 🙂 and is delicious to serve with potatoes either roasted or “fried” in their fat. Perfect for when last minute guests arrive and you are so right, duck fat is bad cholestral FREE.

  5. That looks absolutely fantastic, I will definitely have to try your recipe!

    I also love the photos of Gertrude. My own GSP recently passed after a very full 15 years. They make the best of friends.

  6. Hi, I have 2 questions:
    When you say “In a large pot, melt the jar of duck fat and cook the duck legs at a steady temperature for 2 hours (approx. 70-80 degrees celsius)”
    Do you mean cooking on a stove (dans one casserole ou un fait-tout?) or in the oven?

    2nd question: do you think that the quality of the famous French dish comes with the type of duck they use? If I buy some (good, but not French) duck here in North America, it’d be as good as yours?

    1. Bonsoir Sara! Thanks for visiting. Yes, I mean on a cooking stove (in a large pot or large casserole). The temperature should not exceed 70-80°C. I am sure that good quality duck in North America is delicious too:)

      1. Thank you very much for your quick reply! Je vais essayer ce week end alors… J’ai déjà fait la soupe (hum, crème!) de parmesan qui était délicieuse (par contre, j’avais mis le double de fromage 🙂 ). Merci pour toutes ces recettes et ces photos, c’est divin!

  7. Just found your wonderful site whilst searching for something different to serve to my mother in law this evening. I cook confit in a slow cooker overnight. To heat & crisp up prior to serving I pour on just a little honey and bung it under the grill for a few minutes. The meat just melts in the mouth and the crisp skin is fab.

  8. My partner and I both love duck, and I would love to try making it at home. Your recipe looks delicious!

    I just have a couple of questions about the recipe…

    What heat mark on the stove do you recommend using for this step: “In a large pot, melt the jar of duck fat and cook the duck legs at a steady temperature for 2 hours (approx. 70-80 degrees celsius).”?

    Also, do you use a meat thermometer, to check the duck leg temperature, during this stage of cooking?

    1. Bonsoir Lyn! Duck fat is wonderful! I use it to roast potatoes. You can also use it to make a potato cake, or an onion soup. The taste is so refined. All the recipes are on my list. Duck fat is very healthy – you should really give it a try! Best, Mimix

      1. I look forward to seeing some of these recipes. Since you have the recipes divided into categories, which one would be good to look at thank you. Lyn

  9. You made the confit of duck appear irresistably easy to make. It was. I made an herbed version and then used the tender little morsels of meat for a flatbread with caramelized onions, madarin oranges and Comte cheese. I diced and pan fried the skin for a topping just before serving.

    I have made several dishes from your site including the chocolate pot-au-creme and this one, and each have been spectacular.

    My family and I thank you so much for sharing your stories and recipes.

  10. Love your confit recipe! Now that I’ve made it, I’d like to keep some for about 3 months. Can I safely store it in my wine closet which is 57 degrees?

  11. Je cherchais une recette pour confire des magrets de canard. Votre méthode me semble adaptée, en allongeant le temps de cuisson dans la graisse pour les magrets, plus volumineux et compacts que les cuisses.
    Merci pour vos recettes qui m’inspirent terriblement !

  12. As I sit here waiting patiently for my current batch of Confit to cook before bottling, I am remembering the Cassoulet cooked with the last lot of Confit as the main ingredient, cooked and stored for 6 months in the wine cellar before hand. (Is that considered too long? Luckily I did not poison my guests…)

  13. We just made this and everyone’s tummies and hearts are content. We made an entire duck so there will be plenty leftover for tomorrow. After we cleaned the duck we put hot water on it and the skin tightened right away…don’t know if you ever tried this trick. Happy feasting.

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