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Confit, Manchons & Gesiers

Confit de Canard, Manchons, Cassoulet & Gesiers

Confit de Canard…

… is a speciality of France, more traditionally the South West (or the sud-ouest as they’d have it) where ducks are kept in numbers, quite often primarily for their delicious livers for fois gras. You’ll find confit de canard made right across France, and people make their own, often in kilner jars, but the big makers are further south, from the Limousin downwards. There are some towns which have a name for confit de canard and French duck in general. Names like Castlenaudary always make me salivate.

Illustration courtesy of Perry Taylor

The duck is cooked for over a day in it’s fat. Don’t ask me how ~ it’s not my job to get you to make your own, when you can buy it so inexpensively from us. And then it’s tinned or put in jars. The ingredients are duck pieces, duck fat and salt. That’s simple. I don’t know if any makers make any organic claims biy I’ve not seen them.

You can then buy it in local markets at prices that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Confit de Canard is the ducks leg and thigh and one piece should suffice per person (though seconds is nice). Tins have either two pieces, 4/5 pieces (though these days it’s usually four and at least you know how many you’re getting), or 12 pieces.

Manchons

Confit de Canard Manchons – Duck Confit Sleeves

If leg & thighs of confit of duck are the kings of the confit world then the prince of confit de canard is a helping of manchons ~ the same duck confit taste and flavour but in smaller pieces. Manchons are the top of the wing (not to be confused with a chicken wing which is an insect by comparison) which is why the literal translation from the French is “sleeves”.  (Not drumsticks as many believe.) You cook duck manchons in the same way and the taste is the same but each is a little less in volume. For a meal maybe two or three each.

I’m not sure why these are not more popular because usually the price is better per kg, than the leg/thigh. At Confit de canard UK we have had little interest so far in these, though you never know and we haven’t ever really pushed them. Maybe it’s because we’ve had no 1.35kg tins… (Dec. 2012 We have these now. try them at only £7.95)

Cassoulet

Cassoulet, a speciality of South West France is a meal in itself with duck confit, Toulouse style sausage, beans and lots of flavour. A kind of casserole, some say it’s an inheritance from the “Cholent”, a sabbbath slow-cooked  dish, bought to France from Sephardi Jews.  Cooked already, you just re-heat & eat.

Gesiers

Ducks’ gizzards with a sticky salty flavour which can be used as a hot component of salads or as a meat meal. Easy to fry in the duck fat from the tin. I quite often serve a gesier salad as a starter to confit de canard dinner.

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