Confit duck

Confit duck

Best Kitchen Basics
Petrina Tinslay

Confit is a french culinary term meaning to cook and prove in oil. While it is now served wherever the French are appreciated, it originated and is emblematic of the Gascony region in the South West. The same technique can be used for a goose (if you are so fortunate) and secondary cuts of pork. On that note: this technique is perfect for relaxing a tougher cut, which is why it’s used for legs and shoulders.


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons white peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 bunch thyme, leaves picked
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons juniper berries
1 garlic bulb
2 oranges
105g coarse sea salt
8 free-range duck leg quarters, French-trimmed
1kg duck fat


  1. In a bowl, combine the peppercorns, coriander seeds, thyme, bay leaves and juniper berries.
  2. Crush the garlic bulb, remove the stem and add it to the spices.
  3. Peel the oranges and use a small, sharp knife to remove the pith. Add them to the spices.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process to a fine paste. Add the salt and pulse to combine.
  5. Rub a good amount of the spice mixture into the flesh side of the duck leg quarters, then place them on a plastic tray. Sprinkle over the remainder of the spice mixture and refrigerate overnight.
  6. The following day, drain the liquid and rub away any remaining salt crystals using paper towel.
  7. Heat the duck fat in a large casserole to 90°C. Add the duck and maintain at this temperature for 1½–2 hours until the thigh bone starts to loosen from the flesh. Remove from the heat to cool.
  8. The duck can be eaten immediately, but it is far better when left to cure for 2–3 months. To do this, place the legs in layers in a non-reactive container – a wide-mouthed mason jar is perfect. Pour over the cooking fat to cover and knock the jar to remove any air bubbles. Make sure the fat covers the flesh by 2–3 cm. Refrigerated, this will last for 6 months.


  • The true gift of this recipe is the fat. Fry slices of waxy potatoes in it and serve with a chicory salad to be deliciously traditional.
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