Duck confit

Duck confit

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
3 juniper berries
3 coriander seeds
40g sea salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 rosemary sprigs
8 thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves
1 garlic bulb, plus 3 extra cloves
4 duck legs
1.5-2 litres duck fat


  1. Lightly crush the juniper berries and coriander seeds using a pestle and mortar. Add the salt, peppercorns, rosemary sprigs, 4 thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves and pound until bruised and starting to break up. Bash the 3 unpeeled garlic cloves with the flat side of a large knife.
  2. Place the duck legs in a large, heavy plastic bag and add the crushed aromatics. Massage the aromatics into the duck and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.
  3. Heat the oven to 150ºC. Put the duck fat into a deep roasting tin that will hold the duck legs in a single layer and put in the oven to melt. Cut the garlic bulb in half horizontally and add with the remaining thyme and bay leaves to the roasting tin.
  4. Remove the duck legs from the bag, wipe off the marinade and submerge the legs in the duck fat. Place back in the oven and cook gently for 3–4 hours, until the meat has slightly shrunk away from the bones and is tender.
  5. Carefully lift out the duck legs and trim off the knuckles. Place the legs in a stainless steel or ceramic container.
  6. Strain the duck fat into a large saucepan, leaving behind the juices in the bottom of the roasting tin and discarding the garlic and herbs. Bring the fat to a simmer and cook for 5–10 minutes to evaporate any water. Allow the fat to cool to room temperature, then pour it over the duck legs to submerge them completely. The duck can be kept like this for 2–3 weeks.
  7. When ready to use, allow the duck fat to come to room temperature and carefully remove the legs. To reheat, either place the duck legs in a roasting tin in an oven preheated to 190ºC for 20 minutes, or place them skin side down in an ovenproof frying pan set over a low to medium heat, to allow the skin to crisp, about 10 minutes, before transferring to the oven to heat through.


  • Spiced duck confit: Omit the aromatics. Dry-roast 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 4 star anise and 1 large cinnamon stick in a frying pan set over a medium heat, until they release their aromas, about 3–4 minutes. Allow the spices to cool, then grind using a pestle and mortar with 1 tablespoon sea salt, 2 peeled garlic cloves and the washed stems (and roots if you have them) from 4 coriander sprigs to a fairly smooth paste. Place the duck legs in a large plastic bag, add half the spice paste, rub into the legs and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight. Reserve the remaining half of the paste to add to the duck fat when cooking the duck. Proceed as for the main recipe.
Leiths School of food and wine
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