Confit duck

Confit duck

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(6 ratings)

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 seed

    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 garlic clove
  • 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, questions and tips

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Annie B's picture
Annie B
1st Feb, 2019
Re the complaints of too salty, I used Maldon sea salt, (am sure any other flaky or rock salt would work too) which worked very well, as you can just brush it off. This recipe was followed faithfully and turned out to be utterly delicious and IMHO absolutely perfectly seasoned. My children (well, hulking teenagers, really) have declared it their new favourite dish, served with roasted winter veg and sweet potato fries with truffle oil. Decadent, but yummy, and quite reasonably priced for a pretty luxurious Sunday lunch. I have filtered the goose fat and it’s back in the fridge to be reused, as that the expensive bit!
18th Sep, 2015
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!!
18th Sep, 2015
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!
6th Sep, 2015
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
7th Apr, 2015
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!
3rd Mar, 2014
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!
27th Apr, 2013
Completely delicious, not hard to do. Perfect pre prep dinner dish, not remotely fatty just moist and tender and full of flavour.
3rd Jul, 2012
This is such a disappointing photograph. Can he do it again without it looking burnt.
14th Sep, 2011
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.
13th Jun, 2011
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!


29th Apr, 2020
What is the halved whole garlic bulb for? It’s not mentioned in the recipe they only say to add the sliced garlic?
Esther_Deputyfoodeditor's picture
30th Apr, 2020
Hey, Esther from the food team here! We apologise, this is a typo. we will have that removed from the ingredients list, thank you for flagging!
Niclas Åberg's picture
Niclas Åberg
22nd Nov, 2019
Where is the "1 whole garlic bulb, halved" used? No mention of it in the recipe.
lulu_grimes's picture
25th Nov, 2019
Hi Niclas, The two halves of the garlic bulb should go into the fat with the duck legs, they will flavour the fat and duck as the dish cooks. You can serve the cooked garlic to squeeze out of its skin alongside the duck if you like, reheat it with the legs but keep and eye on it so it doesn't burn.
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