Duck Tales — Pick your ending!

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5 pounds of boneless, skinless duck breasts, frozen solid. Don’t look a gift duck in the beak my Dad would have said, but still that’s a whole lotta duck. Thanks to my sweet nephew, there were visions of duck confit, a la orange at hand. First up, What the Duck Confit! A day’s preparation yields a bounty for a variety of recipes. If you take time for this, it is well worth it! Read on my friends, as the trilogy unfolds.

Duck Prep
What the Duck Confit!

Step one, marinate in mixed herbs, garlic and hint of orange overnight. Step two, lacking copious amounts of rendered duck fat, substituted olive oil for preparing the long slow, low heat braising for hours. Resulting in fall apart goodness and a flavored oil for storing this tender, earthy meat. Added bonus was the residual juices that I just had to make into a gravy, yes, said it. Gravy. Take me to the Bavarian forests for a hearty game inspired meal. Don’t be cranky, but I just reserved three of the breasts as large servings, made a quick gravy from the reserved juices and added to homemade Spaetzle. No recipe written down for this part, online Spaetzel recipe worked just fine.

Duck Tale 1: Braised Duck over Spaetzle and Herb Gravy

Herb Duck in Gravy and Spätzle
Herbed Duck with Spätzle and Gravy
Herb Duck in Gravy and Spätzle
Caraway Carrots and Herb Duck for Dinner!

I reserved two breasts and created a orange accented stir fry. Quick and easy for a week night delight. The orange is a nice contrast to the earthy duck breast. Fresh snap peas provide a sugary crunch.

Duck Tale 2: Stir Fry Duck Breasts with Orange Sauce

Orange Duck Stirfry
Stir fry Duck with Orange and Snap Peas

Here’s where it gets a little wacky. Mid-week, dead tired and not really hungry made me think margarite style pizza. But even though the brain said, “sure, you can make a quick pizza dough,” my heart wasn’t in it. Substituting the thicker soft taco sized flour tortillas as the crust and added some beautiful fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Shazam! This is really good!

Duck Tale 3: Personal Tortilla Pizza with Duck Confit

Personal Duck Pizza
Here’s a tip: oven bake your tortilla a couple minutes each side before adding toppings.

And the good news is, I still have a lovely tub of confit still beckoning me in the refrigerator and two more whole breasts in the freezer. Hmmm wonder what is next?

Click Read More for Recipes.

What the Duck Confit
Use duck legs with attached thighs
or duck breasts

4 lbs duck legs and thighs or breasts
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
4-6 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
4 bay leaves, crushed
4 cups olive oil or duck fat (or combo 50/50)

Combine dry spices (salt, peppers, paprika) in prep bowl, mix in garlic and orange zest.
If your duck has the skin on, score the skin in diagonal shallow slices. Do no cut into meat.


  1. Marinate –  Rub duck pieces with spice mixture, place ½ of the thyme sprigs and crushed bay leaves on bottom of 9” x 13” baking pan.
  2. Place duck pieces skin side up, flat on top of spices.
  3. Add rest of lemon thyme, bay leaves evenly on top of duck pieces.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 250°.

  1. Rinse salt off duck pieces and pat dry, reserve spices (thyme sprigs, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic.)
  2. Place duck in 7 ½ quart enameled covered casserole.  Cover meat layer with oil and slowly bake 6-8 hours until meat pulls easily from bone.
  3. Remove meat from oil and allow to cool before pulling apart with two forks.
  4. Separate oil from meat juices and strain to remove herbs.
  5. Strain meat juices, save for making gravy.
  6. Place shredded duck meat in container, cover with reserved oil. Will keep several weeks.

Use meat in salads, eggs and hash, burritos, tostadas, let your creative mind go wild!

Orange Duck Stir Fry

2 teaspoons peanut oil
2 skinless, boneless duck breasts marinated, thinly sliced (see What the Duck Confit)
Splash of Sake
½ head Napa Cabbage, shredded
1 celery stalk, sliced on the diagonal
2 cups fresh snap peas
½ cup fresh orange segments
½ Vidalia onion, sliced
5 oz Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta (or udon noodles)
⅛ cup Soy Vay Hoisin Garlic Sauce
⅓ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix sauce ingredients in small bowl. Whisk to blend; set aside.
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
Wash and slice vegetables.
Peel orange and cut in to segments

Heat wok or large saute pan over high heat, add 1 teaspoon peanut oil. Add thinly sliced duck breast and sear on both sides, about 3 minutes, remove. Add 1 teaspoon peanut oil to wok, and onions and celery, stir fry about a minute, add snap peas, continue woking. Add napa cabbage shreds and cook for 1 minute. Add meat back in and pour in sauce, continue cooking 2 more minutes. Add cooked and drained pasta, add orange segments, stir gently to coat.  Serve in bowls.

Personal Tortilla Pizzas with Duck Confit

4 soft taco size flour tortillas
8 small cherry tomatoes
6 fresh basil leaves, chiffinade
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
¼ cup Romano Cheese, grated
½ cup duck confit

Mix olive oil and mince garlic in prep bowl.
Preheat oven to 425°
Chop chives and thinly slice fresh basil. Set aside.

Ready tortillas as pizza crust by brushing with olive oil and garlic mixture. Bake tortillas on baking sheet at 425° 2 minutes each side. Prick bubbles as they appear. Remove from oven.
Divide cheese, tomatoes and duck evenly on each tortilla, sprinkle with chives, sweet basil and romano cheese. Drizzle each with olive oil and garlic. Bake for 4 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove and serve with a nice side salad.

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2 Responses to Duck Tales — Pick your ending!

  1. OMG, Robin you are a kitchen wizard–your lovely posts keep getting richer and more drool-worthy all the time, HOW do you do it?

    We love duck and I love the images and tastes in this gorgeous entry, Hooray!!

  2. Robin says:

    Oh, it is me that says HOORAY! My friend likes this!

    This was an ambitious trilogy for sure 😀 …. but I did have time to think about it since the meat was delivered comepletely frozen. I had test driven the confit recipe last summer so I knew it would be easiest to expand from there.

    The duck crepes from your trip and now on MY mind… hee hee.

    Til later friend, cheers!

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