Confit duck

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 30 mins Plus marinating


Serves 6
Use this in a cassoulet, or simply on its own, with sautéed potatoes and seasonal veg

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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  • 6 cumin seeds
  • 12 coriander seeds
    Coriander seeds

    Coriander seed

    kor-ee-and-er seed

    The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly…

  • 3 juniper berries
  • 50g flaky sea salt
  • 6 duck leg and thigh joints
  • 1 small bunch thyme


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 1 rosemary branch



    Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…

  • 1 unpeeled garlic clove, sliced, plus 1 whole garlic bulb, halved
  • about 500g goose or duck fat, or enough to totally submerge the duck legs



    Rich and full of flavour, duck meat is extremely nutritious, with high levels of protein, B…

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns


  1. The day before cooking, put the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan and toast until they are slightly coloured and aromatic. Remove to a board and crush them with the blade of a knife. Crush the juniper berries and mix with the spices and the salt. Rub the mixture over the duck, scatter with thyme, rosemary and sliced garlic and chill for 24 hrs, turning two or three times as they marinate.

  2. Next day, heat oven to 150C/130C fan/ gas 2. Wipe the duck with kitchen paper and pat dry, but don’t wash off the marinade. (The salt extracts the water from the meat cells, which will be reinflated with fat as the duck cooks gently. If you wash it, you will simply reinflate the cells with water.)

  3. Put the duck in a cast-iron casserole and cover with the goose fat or duck fat. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns and cook for about 2½ hrs, or until the meat is almost falling away from the bone. You can store the duck very simply by placing it in a pudding bowl, covering it with the fat and keeping it in the fridge: as long as it stays covered with fat it will last for weeks.

  4. To cook, remove the confit duck legs from their fat. Put an ovenproof frying pan on the stove until it is hot. Add the duck legs, skin-side down, and cook for 4 mins. Turn the legs and transfer the pan to the oven for 30 mins, until crisp.

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Comments (22)

exmothian's picture

Raymond Blanc recommends rinsing the legs to get rid of excess salt so I think I'll follow his example ... I suspect he knows what he's talking about!!

exmothian's picture

I've looked at other sets of instructions , and Raymond Blanc recommends rinsing the marinade off and drying the legs off, so I'm going to try this too, I don't want the outcome to be salty!

helennaisbo's picture

Far too salty!! What a shame. My partner made this for is at the weekend and tho the flavour of the duck was nice it was almost inedible due to the over powering saltiness. Off to find a better recipe.

gail-jones's picture

Great recipe. I don't like recipes where there are comments about 'use a wooden spoon' or a 'non-reactive bowl' or such without explanation. This recipe tells you why you are not rinsing your bird and it all makes sense.
Great results and one can mix and match associated ingredients once one understands the basics of the dish. Absolutely great!

nmise's picture

I combined this recipe with 'Tender roast duck with citrus & carrots' by Jane Hornby and it was a real treat. The star of a sunday lunch!

mrsmathy's picture

Completely delicious, not hard to do. Perfect pre prep dinner dish, not remotely fatty just moist and tender and full of flavour.

perryvale114's picture

This is such a disappointing photograph. Can he do it again without it looking burnt.

elemheim's picture

Yes, look l know what you mean, it does sound fatty for those who have not been there, but the end dish is one of the best tasting classic French dishes ever, and if you did not know how it was cooked, you would never guess it was cooked in fat-The finished dish is not oily at all, just crispy skin and super tasty. Give it a go and then you will know. Venture out.
Try it on a bed of warm spinach green lentils done in veal stock, buttered sprouts haved young and sweet, potatos chopped small and roasted in some garlic and duck fat, served in a wide bowl to hold some reduced veal juces.

cecmary27's picture

I tried this recipe this weekend - very simple to do but the duck legs were far too salty - what did I do wrong? Would love to try again!

stmartin's picture

I agree that confit duck is delicious. You don't need to worry about the fat because duck and goose fat are NOT saturated. I wouldn't use the breasts for confit. It would be better to use them fresh or freeze them for later.

princerupert's picture

I'm planning on buying a whole duck, making confit of the legs and wings; does anyone have any tips for what the best way to treat the breasts are? Can I bung them in the confit too?

alex_mackay's picture

confit duck is tremendous,i love it,and have just pulled my duck legs out of the oven,to be stored for xmas day yummo.

sheepcat's picture

Amusing to hear a few people in doubt about the confit, don't be so risk averse! Have salad all week then splurge on saturday night with this. Duck confit is almost unbeatable for flavour and texture.

Pure indulgence.

Foodmonster2's picture

I just love duck confit, to me this is the only way to cook duck legs - so moist and tender. Never fails. I must admit that I couldn't taste any of the spices in the finished dish. Next time I will at least double the amount of cumin and coriander.

anopheles's picture

Confit duck is absolutely delicious - much less fatty than just cooking it on its own, surprisingly. The crisp skin, melting flesh and delicious flavour are excellent. It is not swimming in fat, or disgusting - quite the reverse. The quick roasting at the end is the secret to removing the fat. The cooking process before that is about infusing the flesh with the flavours of the herbs and spices. Would recommend trying it at least once. Whenever I cook it everyone comes back for more.

charliedj's picture

Confit duck is amazing cannot wait to try this out. If you have have never had confit before you should try it!

whitefiver's picture

Hmmmm, but the point is that you cook the legs a second time to crisp them up - at which time most of the fat comes out.

I have cooked confit of duck before, and the final dish is not that fatty, but absolutely delicious. I am sure that with the addition of the marinade suggested, it would be even better, and I shall do this next time.



traciekan's picture

ewwww what a revolting recipe of the day. no thanks!

loopylady10's picture

The thought of all that saturated fat makes me feel quite ill - I notice there are no calories/grams of fat per serving for this recipe. I wonder how the legs would come out if you cooked them in the oven (without fat) straight from marinading. If someone tries it, please post a note of the results.

jillblonsky's picture

A heart attack, I suspect. An awful lot of fat. Bet it tastes nice though.


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