22 May 2019

Confit d'oie ou confit de canard ?

The day before yesterday, I posted about grilled duck breast (magret de canard) and about duck legs slow-cooked to make confit de canard. The duck breast that Walt grilled was fresh (raw, I mean, even though out of the freezer), but the confit de canard came pre-cooked, out of a can. So did the pinto beans, which are imported from Portugal. I thought both were delicious.

There are four or five slow-cooked duck leg/thigh sections in a big can like this one.

I'm really interested in both goat cheese and duck these days, as you may have surmised, partly because they are such important food products in France but not much known or appreciated in the U.S. I've done some reading in the 1960s-era Larousse Gastronomique. In the book's 8-page chapter on duck (le canard), I've found only one brief mention of confit de canard, but no mention at all of magret de canard. More about magret in future posts...

To get the slow-cooked duck legs out of the can, you need to open it and then heat it up in a slow oven until the fat melts.

About confit, the LG points out that in southwestern France, around Toulouse, where large ducks are raised and fattened for foie gras production, the meat of the ducks is preserved by cooking it in duck fat and potting or canning it up in the same fat. In that region, geese are prepared the same way, the article says, but many people prefer duck foie gras and duck confit to the equivalent goose preparations. That surprised me, because I thought the general opinion was that goose is somehow superior in quality and taste compared to duck.

Here are the duck legs as they come out of the tin after the fat is melted.

In its article about goose (l'oie) and how it is prepared, the LG does give detailed descriptions about how confit d'oie is made but doesn't say you can make it with duck. It points back to the book's article on cassoulet, which is a famous southwestern dish of white beans cooked with pork and confit of either goose or duck. In fact, in the whole cassoulet article, goose is mentioned over and over again, but duck is mentioned, unless I missed something, only once. Goose magret is not mentioned either. I think the reputation of duck has greatly improved in France, and it has nearly completely replaced goose for making foie gras and confit. The only goose product I find in the supermarkets is jars of goose fat (alongside jars of duck fat).


  1. I always assumed that cassoulet was made with goose meat, but not coming from its region of origin, I might be wrong. Is cassoulet somehow a byproduct of the foie gras production?

    It seems force feeding birds for fattening them goes back 4,500 years in Egypt!

  2. I think cassoulet is basically beans and pork, including saucisses de Toulouse. I'm not sure cassoulet de Castelnaudary even has duck or goose in it, traditionally. I think having the confit de canard to add to the beans is just a bonus. Of course, in Carcassonne, they put partridge in their cassoulet.

    1. Voici ce que je lis dans le Larousse Gastronomique rédigé sous la direction de Joël Robuchon :

      CASSOULET Spécialité languedocienne, à base de haricots blancs,
      cuits dans une marmite avec des couennes, des condiments et des
      aromates, garnis de viandes et gratinés en fin de cuisson.

      • Composition. Si la qualité des haricots est primordiale pour procurer
      au cassoulet son goût et son onctuosité, ce sont les viandes qui
      lui donnent son originalité. Le cassoulet de Castelnaudary comporte
      essentiellement du porc (longe, jambon, jarret, saucisson et couennes
      fraîches de lard), avec, éventuellement, un morceau de confit d'oie.
      Dans le cassoulet de Carcassonne, on ajoute du gigot de mouton
      et, en période de chasse, de la perdrix. Celui de Toulouse, avec les
      mêmes ingrédients que celui de Castelnaudary, mais en quantités
      moindres, s'enrichit de lard de poitrine, de saucisse de Toulouse, de
      mouton et de confit d'oie ou de canard.

  3. I say in my post that goose fat in jars is the only goose product I see in our local supermarkets. That's wrong. We also see rillettes d'oie.

  4. Duck, goose, and duck or goose fat, are just so foreign to me. We just don't see them in our stores.

    1. I' not surprised, but tant pis pour toi ou vous tous. I'll be cooking duck tomorrow.

    2. In the states you can find duck fat at Fabrique Délices. They don’t sell directly but can tell you where to shop.

  5. wish we could find confit around here...starting to see it on a couple of menus nearby....when I was visiting in Biarritz, the confit from Picard was a treat

    1. There isn't a Picard store in or very near Saint-Aignan, so I'm not really familiar with its products. Glad you can get confit there in western NC. I remember when neighbors of ours in Morehead City kept ducks, but I don't think they ever made confit or foie gras.

  6. we have tried some locally made duck confit, but it was way too salty. Having on the menu in France, never had that problem, so I was wondering about the commercial confit.

    1. You are in France, I assume. Try the Intermarché Itinéraire des Saveurs confit. Not too salty. Other brands like Larnaudie or Delpeyrat are good too. I mostly buy them when they are en promotion. In tins, the confit keeps indefinitely.


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