The Washington Post

Duck Confit

Duck Confit 6.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Diana Jeffra for The Washington Post

Feb 23, 2021

Make restaurant-worthy duck confit without the fuss or expense of having to purchase pricey rendered duck fat. Instead, duck legs cook low and slow in their own fat with barely any hands-on time. Save the cooking liquid for flavoring soups, and the rendered fat for roasting potatoes, frying eggs or to make more duck confit. The aromatic, mellow slow-roasted garlic is delicious spread on toast, blended into compound butter or served on the side of the duck legs. Keep in mind, you can use the same approach with chicken and fish, but need to use plenty of additional fat -- enough to cover -- such as olive oil, as neither of those render enough fat on their own.

Serve with roasted fingerling potatoes (see NOTES) and a simple green salad.

Active time: 15 mins; Total time: 4 hours 5 mins (plus 24 to 72 hours curing time)

Make Ahead: The duck legs need to be seasoned and refrigerated for at least 24 and up to 72 hours before cooking.

Storage Notes: If the duck legs are submerged in fat, they can be refrigerated for up to 1 month. Otherwise, the duck legs can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. To reheat, position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Place however many duck legs you plan to serve on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the skin is crispy.

Where to Buy: Duck legs can be found at well-stocked supermarkets, online or at butcher shops.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings; makes 8 duck legs

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried (may substitute rosemary or sage)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 moulard duck legs (about 4 pounds total, see NOTES)
  • 1 head garlic, halved across the equator (optional)
  • Strips of zest from 1 orange (optional)


In a small bowl, combine the salt, thyme and pepper. Sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture over a large, rimmed baking sheet. Place the duck legs in a single layer on top and sprinkle with the remaining seasoning mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 and up to 72 hours.

When ready to cook the duck, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 250 degrees.

In a large, ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven (a 7-quart oval oven works better than an 8-quart round Dutch oven), arrange the legs in a single layer, skin side down, so they fit snugly. Nest the garlic head halves and orange zest among the duck pieces. Cover and transfer the skillet or pot to the oven for 2 hours.

Remove the lid, flip the duck over, skin side up, cover with a large piece of aluminum foil, and continue to slow-roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes more, or until completely cooked through and you can wiggle a bone in the leg without any resistance.

If serving right away, transfer the legs, skin side up, to a large, rimmed baking sheet and increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Return the duck to the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the skin is crispy. (Otherwise, transfer the duck, the cooking liquid and all of the rendered fat to a large container with a lid, let cool to the touch, no more than 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, follow reheating directions in the storage field.) Discard the orange zest before serving or storing.

NOTES: Moulard duck legs often vary in size. If yours are larger — closer to1 pound each, instead of 8 ounces — add about 12 hours of curing time and adjust the seasonings accordingly.

To make roasted fingerling potatoes, about 1 hour 30 minutes before the duck is done (around the time when you flip the legs,) on a medium, rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with a generous drizzle of olive oil — or extra duck fat, if you have it — and season liberally with kosher salt. Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour 30 minutes or until browned all over and luxuriously tender.

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Recipe Source

From food writer Olga Massov.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 8): 548

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 45g 69%

Saturated Fat: 12g 60%

Cholesterol: 157mg 52%

Sodium: 590mg 25%

Total Carbohydrates: 0g 0%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 0g

Protein: 32g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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