03 December 2007


The Leclerc hypermarket (superstore) chain is having a Festival of Fat! Duck fat. They are selling off the ducks that were fattened this year for foie gras production, along with the foie gras. It's an annual affair — or fair, as it were.

If you live in Saint-Aignan, the closest Leclerc stores are in Amboise, Romorantin, and Loches, all about a half-hour's drive. We don't have hypermarkets in Saint-Aignan, although they are now finishing up a significant expansion of our SuperU market.

So what duck products can you get from Leclerc? If you hurry...
Gésiers, gizzards — 5.95€/kg ($3.98/lb)

Cœurs, hearts — 3.50€/kg ($2.35/lb)

Aiguillettes, tenders — 11.67€/kg ($7.98/lb)

Cuisses, leg & thigh sections — 3.55€/kg ($2.37/lb)

Manchons, wing sections — 1.90€/kg ($1.27/lb)

Magret, breast — 10.45€/kg ($6.98/lb)

Foie gras tout venant, standard-grade liver — 24.95€/kg ($16.67/lb)

Foie gras extra, choice liver — 30.95€/kg ($20.68/lb)

Isn't it interesting that gizzards cost so much more than wings or thighs? You'd expect duck breast to cost more, and you'd certainly expect foie gras to be expensive. And tenders, a choice morsel. They are very good sauteed and then served with a cream sauce.

Actually, the ad is a little slick when it comes to this last cut of duck, the aiguillettes. It lists a price of 3.50€, which would be too good to be true. You have to read the fine print to find out that the tenders are sold in a 300-gram package for that price. The price per kilogram is much higher — 11.67€. Shopper beware.

What do you do with duck gizzards? You cook them very slowly in renderd duck fat until they are completely tender, no longer rubbery. That's the process that produces confit, and it's the same thing you do with leg, thigh, and wing sections to make what is called confit de canard. Then you drain the gizzards or other pieces of duck on a rack until all the fat drips off and put them in a hot oven to brown for a few minutes.

The gizzards are especially good served on a bed of salad with some tomato wedges, other salad vegetables, and a good vinaigrette dressing.

I'm not sure what you do with the hearts. I assume they would be tough like gizzards and benefit from slow cooking to make a confit de cœurs, but I see some recipes on the web where they are just put on a skewer and cooked quickly on a barbecue grill.

In a separate flyer, Leclerc advertises the whole canard gras — legs, thighs, wings, breasts, and tenders, but no gizzards or hearts — for 3.51/kg (2.35/lb).

The duck livers on sale here are raw, so you have to cook them. To do so, you press them into a terrine or loaf pan and cook them very slowly in a low oven until they are cooked through. Then you slice the liver and eat it on slices of toasted bread, preferably French pain de campagne.


  1. A nice combination of sauteed gizzards and hearts on a bed of green salad with some framboise wine vinegar mixed with the cooking fat makes a very nice meal :-)
    I guess that's why they cost as much as or higher than the thighs.

  2. You know, it's funny, at lunch today, my teachers were trying to tell me that duck fat has less cholesterol than regular fat and that's why the people of Perigord have the lowest cholesterol in all of France. I'm not quite sure what I think about that!!

  3. Sam, that claim for the low cholesterol levels in duck fat grew out of the so-called French Paradox back in the early '90s, that is that people in France, especially SW France, could eat such a high-fat diet and still have very low heart disease rates. Some said it was the nature of duck fat, and some said it had to do with drinking a lot of red wine.

  4. Still, all this is delicious but not very good for our waistlines ;)
    Claude de Vieux, c'est mieux !!!

  5. I gave up on my waistline years ago. It's nice not to have one to worry about any more!


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