Hexagone’s Moscovy Duck Breast and Leg Confit with Orange Sauce

• Ingredients for the Confit:

1 large head garlic, left unpeeled, plus 4 large cloves, divided

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme

1 teaspoon Quatre épices (French four-spice blend)

2 large shallots, finely chopped (1/4 cup)

2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California, crumbled

6 fresh Moulard, Muscovy, or Long Island (Pekin) duck legs (5 pounds total)

2 whole cloves

5 (7-ounce) containers rendered duck fat


A deep-fat thermometer

Wide, large heavy pot


Large, heavy nonstick skillet

Large, saute pan

• Preparation for the Duck Leg Confit:

Mince and mash 4 garlic cloves to a paste with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir together paste, kosher salt (1/4 cup), thyme, quatre épices, shallots, and bay leaves in a large bowl. Add duck legs and toss to coat, then marinate, covered and chilled, at least 1 day and up to 2 days.

Wipe off marinade with paper towels. Trim off 1/4 inch from top of garlic head, then stick 2 whole cloves into head.

Melt duck fat in a wide large heavy pot over low heat, then cook garlic head and duck legs, uncovered, over low heat until fat registers approximately 190-degrees F, about 1 hour. Continue to cook duck, maintaining a temperature of 190 to 210°F, until a wooden pick slides easily into thighs, 2 to 3 hours more.

Transfer duck with a slotted spoon to a large bowl (reserve garlic for another use if desired). Slowly pour duck fat through a fine-mesh sieve into a large crock or deep bowl, leaving any cloudy liquid or meat juices in bottom of pot, then pour strained fat over duck legs to cover by 1 inch. (If necessary, shorten drumstick bones 1 to 2 inches using a large heavy knife to fit legs more tightly in bowl.)

Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, then chill, covered, at least 8 hours.

Just before serving, remove duck from fat (reserve fat for another use, such as frying), scraping off most of fat, then cook, skin side down, in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over low heat, covered, until skin is crisp and duck is heated through, 15 to 20 minutes.

• Preparation for the Duck Breast:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F.

Set a large saute pan over medium heat.

Season the duck breasts with 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

Lay the duck breasts skin-side down in the hot saute pan and sear until golden brown and most of the fat had rendered from the skin, about 8 minutes.

Pour off the excess fat from the pan, and turn the breasts over.

Continue to cook the breasts on the flesh side for another 8 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and place in the oven. Cook for 5 minutes, and remove to cool before slicing.

Slice the duck thinly using an electric knife or a carving knife.

Preparation for the Orange Sauce:

For the orange sauce, bring the chicken stock to the boil in a pan. Boil for 4-5 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced by half and the stock resembles syrup. Add orange juice and zest and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

• Plating:

Pour a small amount of orange sauce to the serving plate, before placing the duck breast and leg confit on top of the sauce.