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Martha Holmberg

Yield: A 4-1/2-lb. Long Island duck typically yields 2 cups (8 oz.) confit meat (about equal parts leg and breast meat).

To cook one duck, you need about 2-1/2 cups of fat. A 4-1/2-pound duck renders at least 1 cup of fat. Ask your butcher for extra duck fat or order online (see source, below right). Otherwise, you’ll need another cooking fat to supplement. I’d use a mild lard; its flavor isn’t obtrusive.


  • 1 duck, about 4-1/2 lb.
  • 4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 bay leaves, broken into pieces
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • About 1-1/2 cups lard or additional duck fat

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per 4-oz. portion
  • Calories (kcal) : 350
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 250
  • Fat (g): 28
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Cholesterol (mg): 100
  • Sodium (mg): 1140
  • Carbohydrates (g): 1
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 21


Prepare the duck:

  • Cut the legs from the duck and cut away each half breast.
  • Trim any excess skin and fat from the legs and save for rendering.
  • Gently but firmly pull the skin from the breast meat beginning at an edge.
  • Set the skin aside and put the breasts and legs in a baking dish. Sprinkle liberally with the salt. Nestle the bay leaves, thyme, and garlic among the duck pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

    Cut the legs from the duck and cut away each half breast.

Render the fat:

  • Trim all the skin and fat from the carcass (use the carcass for stock, if you like). Put the skin and fat, including the skin from the breasts and trimmings from the legs, in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat. Cook, partially covered, at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the skin from sticking.
  • After about 1-1/2 hours, the skin will be deep golden in color and crisp, meaning it has rendered almost all of its fat. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool slightly. Strain the fat into a container, seal it, and refrigerate until ready to use. (The crisped skin may be eaten or discarded.)

    Cook, partially covered, at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the skin from sticking.

Cook the duck

  • In a heavy, 1-1/2-qt. saucepan, melt 2-1/2 cups rendered duck fat (and lard, if needed) over low heat. Blot the duck pieces with paper towels to remove excess salt and to dry them. Put the duck in the pan, along with the garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Arrange the pieces so that they’re all submerged. If needed, add more lard.
  • Cook, uncovered, at a very gentle simmer, between 185° and 195°F, for 2 hours. Don’t stir, and never let it boil. After 2 hours, the duck confit will be very tender and will come easily off the bone. Lift the duck from the fat using tongs and either use immediately or cool and store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.


When shopping for duck, you’ll find that Long Island, also called Pekin, duck is the most readily available. Luckily, for making confit, this variety is quite fatty, though not as meaty as the harder-to-find Muscovy duck, which has a lower fat content. Both types of duck, as well as rendered duck fat, can be ordered online at www.dartagnan.com .


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • User avater
    PatGButler | 02/07/2019

    Superb recipe with french bread.

  • charistides | 11/22/2009

    This is a fabulous recipe for duck confit. I typically make confit from 2 ducks, rather than one at a time. With two ducks you will have sufficient rendered fat. Remember that the two livers can be made into pate -- duck fat,livers, shallots, garlic and herbs de provance -- which is delicious served with french bread. The duck stock mixed 50/50 with rich, home-made chicken stock makes a wonderful onion soup to serve with the pate while you wait for the duck to cure in the fridge. Using all the parts of the duck reduces the average $35.00 expenditure for two ducks to non-budget destroying levels. Duck confit is a great staple to have in the fridge. Covered in duck fat I have found mine remains in perfect condition for as long as two months.

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