Barney's Confit of duck

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 30 mins Plus salting, and cooking time is staggered

More effort

Serves 4
A classic, hugely popular recipe from France - one you can make time and time again and it just gets better

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Easily doubled


  • kcal636
  • fat57g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs0g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre0g
  • protein30g
  • salt2.83g
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  • handful coarse sea salt
  • 4 bay leaves, roughly torn
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • handful thyme sprigs, roughly torn


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

  • 4 duck legs



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

  • 100ml white wine


  1. The day before you want to make the dish, scatter half the salt, half the garlic and half of the herbs over the base of a small shallow dish. Lay the duck legs, skin-side up, on top, then scatter over the remaining salt, garlic and herbs. Cover the duck and refrigerate overnight. This can be done up to 2 days ahead.

  2. Pour the wine into a saucepan that will snugly fit the duck legs in a single layer. Brush the salt off the duck legs and place them, skin-side down, in the wine. Cover the pan with a lid and place over a medium heat. As soon as the wine starts to bubble, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and cook for 2 hours, checking occasionally that the liquid is just barely simmering. (If you own a heat diffuser, it would be good to use it here.) After 2 hours, the duck legs should be submerged in their own fat and the meat should feel incredibly tender when prodded. Leave to cool.

  3. The duck legs are now cooked and can be eaten immediately – or you can follow the next step if you like them crisp. If you are preparing ahead, pack the duck legs tightly into a plastic container or jar and pour over the fat, but not the liquid at the bottom of the pan. Cover and leave in the fridge for up to a month, or freeze for up to 3 months. The liquid you are left with makes a tasty gravy, which can be chilled or frozen until needed.

  4. To reheat and crisp up the duck legs, heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Remove the legs from the fat and place them, skin-side down, in an ovenproof frying pan. Roast for 30-40 mins, turning halfway through, until brown and crisp. Serve with the reheated gravy, a crisp salad and some crisp golden ptoatoes.

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Comments (25)

scb60's picture

Delicious and easy - first cooking did not produce much fat but didn't matter as cooked it and used it the next day in a warm salad.

dorothyd's picture

Only 4 stars because, it was quite salty. Like another reviewer, I did not have any fat, but stored it in the fridge for 3 weeks before I used it. Very tender, but salty. Don't think I would bother with this recipe again.

Olivoyl's picture

Really good flavour and texture. I used a lot of red wine in the gravy.

maldersmith's picture

My family and lived in south-west france in the middle of duck and goose country. This recipe is unusual, so I am looking forward to tasting this with my wife and son for our Mother's Day dinner. I am sure from the comments above that we will be very happy with this recipe.

Author of:
The Marine Cookery Bible
Dix-neuf, Cuisine Terroir Correzienne
No Turning Back

amybelle123's picture

Very yummy and was surprisingly easy to make! one for the binder!

Enanjay's picture

Delicious and so easy. We've brought cans of confit de canard back from France occasionally and this was just as good, if not better. Added bonus is the duck fat for the naughtiest most delicious roast potatoes.

blossomcrown's picture

Both times I've done this, no fat (not nearly enough to submerge the legs, at least) has been produced. I've been left only with a liquid.

My only thought is that it might be because I've been unable to make the heat low enough, as I don't have a heat diffuser. I've just made it for the second time and I'm worried it'll be too tough, because the heat was high enough to make the skin appear to burn and stick to the pan's bottom.

I wish I'd put it in the oven - then I probably would've been able to get the heat low enough. Saying that, the first time I made it I had similar problems yet it still tasted delicious. So I hope the same is true this time around.

scalywitch's picture

This is a recipe I use everytime I want to confit some duck (I have used it since it was first published but misplaced the mag and by luck found it here), it is brilliant because you save a small fortune on duck/goose fat, it may not be authentic but the results are no different from the "authentic" confit I have had in France so who cares if you are eating it within a couple of days, lets face it you only use all that fat to preserve it for later use anyway. As for the comment about it being over salty I can only assume the poster didn't use rock salt as I have never found it salty as long as you brush it off thoroughly it is only there to dry out the skin.

toescantalk's picture

The recipe works - and is mighty tasty.

siobhanm's picture

I want to try this but need to know how I would make gravy from the leftover juices. Can anyone guide a young novice??

pelupi's picture

Very good indeed and dead easy

pippachoc's picture

For goodness sake - commented ages ago and forgot to rate. I think I (maybe 'we') need a prompt?!

sheepcat's picture

Just superb, I served my duck with James Martins Plum Sauce, it was fantastic. I was short of time and only left the duck in the salt for a few hours and it still came out perfect.

My favourite dish of all time!

vdhotman's picture

Because we live in a hot climate we are all taking a cold meat for Christmas day and I have 3 ducks to take. Would this recipe be nice served cold? Has anyone tried this cold? Any advice or alternate recipe for cold duck would be so appreciated.

elsvuijsters's picture

so very-very good!I allready made this recipe several times and every time it is wonderfull.Last night I did debone and shred the duck and put it on top of saurekraut mixed with mashed potatoes ,it was great.Served cooked pears with cranberries as a side order,loveley winter meal.

mrstinathompson's picture

I had never cooked confit duck before, and I loved this recipe as it was so simple. The result was absolutely delicious. As I had some blueberries in the fridge, I roasted off the confit duck to serve it nice and crisp, and I served it with a sauce made from the blueberries. Fab!

henry-root's picture

Good recipe!

To save a day dry refrigerate for 2 days before cooking and recooking will not be needed!

lucycripps's picture

Fantastic. Use goose legs because there wasn't any duck at the shop. Definitely doing this again.

my_dunh's picture

Hideously salty, even though I rinsed off the salt thoroughly. Dinner went straight into the bin!

pippachoc's picture

Baffled and perplexed as to how something this easy could taste so delicious! I popped mine in the AGA (baking oven) for 6 hours (checked after 3 and 4 hours then forgot it by mistake!!) It was fantastic, so will do again for same time. Crisped up beautifully too. I will now try again and flake meat from bones to mix with puy lentils, onions etc, for a warm salad. Can't wait to try freezing it too - above comments indicate this works a treat too!


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