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Duck confit


The last time I was in Paris I tried to eat in mainly traditional small bistros that served classic bistro fare.

The city is so beautiful and offers art, history, and architecture in museums and parks all over the town. You often end up walking for hours not realizing how far you have gone or how much time has gone by, inevitably building up quite an appetite. On top of it there are markets, bistros, brasseries, and cafes everywhere to remind you of food.

You stroll by the restaurants that spill into the sidewalks with their seating as the delicious aromas tug at your senses. Windows in bakeries and patisseries  entice you with the delectable offerings and when you walk by the open air markets with fruits, vegetables, and cheeses you realize that you just have to EAT!

Many times in the past when visiting a fabulous city, I have been disappointed with the food as I have often ended up in some glitzy shack in the tourist district, touting itself to be THE place you have to eat but failing to deliver.

The key seems to be in getting to know some of the locals and explaining to them what you are looking for and asking for recommendations. The key being to explain what you are looking for in food so you don’t end up in their favorite place – finding out it’s pizza, burgers or Moroccan – when you want French.

Making friends with the hotel concierge in our broken French was a great move and we got a list of good bistros to try away from the tourist haunts.

One such place was Chez Papa, featuring southwestern French cuisine. Along with classics such as escargot, cassoulet, and onion soup were a number of duck offerings. My wife ordered the confit de canard which came with scalloped potatoes and was amazing. The tender and succulent meat fell off the bone and was perfectly seasoned in flavor and silky in texture. After finishing dinner off with coffee and armagnac we strolled home down Rue Froidevaux with the occasional vespa zipping by in the perfect Parisian night, it was clear that we had found the kind of food we were looking for.

Duck can be intimidating to work with if you have never cooked it before. There are a couple of popular ways of preparing it, one is roasting it whole and another is to cut it up into leg and breast, preparing each slightly different.

When cooking duck, one of the main differences verses chicken is that duck has much more fat and is not as tender and lean as chicken.

In making confit of the duck, we will break it down into the breasts and legs. You can use the breast meat for confit as well as the legs but they are usually reserved for a quicker preparation being grilled or seared in the manner of a steak and sliced thin.

Please refer to the previous post about Duck Magret.

The legs are ideal for confit and are salted and poached in duck fat. Ideally you get a whole duck, cut it into breasts and legs. Saving the breast meat for a seared preparation, you roast the bones and any excess fat to render it down and use the roasted bones for a stock. Make sure to save the fat.

Duck Confit

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Recipe by Jiri Krejcir Course: Appetizers, SidesCuisine: French, BistroDifficulty: Easy


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  • 4 whole 4 Duck legs

  • 2 Tbs 2 Sea salt or Kosher salt

  • 2 cups 2 Duck fat

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 Pepper

  • 6 sprigs 6 Thyme

  • 1 sprig 1 Rosemary

  • 2 whole 2 Bay leaf

  • 2 cloves 2 Garlic


  • In an ovenproof dish that will fit the duck legs snuggly and allow for covering of fat, rub the duck legs with the salt. Place in refrigerator overnight or 12-24 hours.
  • Remove duck legs from the container and pat them dry. Place them back in the ovenproof dish with the pepper, garlic and herbs. Melt the duck fat and cover the duck legs with it. Cover the container with aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven.
  • Bake for about 2 hours until very tender and meat is pulling away from the joints. Cool and store in refrigerator covered with the duck fat. It will keep for months covered in fat – this was how they would preserve meat in the old days.


  • ovenproof dish to fit legs snug
  • cutting board and knife
  • Aluminum foil

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