How to Cook Duck Confit with Lentils

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If you think duck confit is a meal you can only enjoy in a restaurant, this easy recipe will change all of that. Perhaps you’ve never had this French peasant dish that has surged in popularity even on menus that aren’t French.

Duck Confit with Lentils

What is Duck Confit?

Confit means to cook food in its fat. Initially, confit was used for preserving food prior to refrigeration. Duck was was salted, slow cooked, and preserved in its own fat.

Duck confit in simple terms is typically duck legs cooked in duck fat. Actually duck confit has always been the whole duck cooked in duck fat, as peasant food or farm food, always including nose to tail cooking.

Here in America when you see duck confit, you will most likely be served duck legs that have been slow roasted in duck fat, and often served on top of french lentils.

Duck confit has always been a bit of a mystery to me, as I didn’t grow up eating this dish, but I’m always drawn to order it every time it’s on the menu (which is not that often).

I purchased these duck legs at the Nolensville Farmer’s Market directly from the farmer who processes them with a few directions on how to cook duck confit.

Duck Confit with Lentils from Spinach Tiger

After browsing several recipes for how to cook duck confit, I chose my favorite earthy herbs, (sage and thyme) and braised them with a combo of oil, duck fat and a little bit of broth, long and slow. After 7 hours on low, I then placed them in a hot oven to crisp the skin. You could fry them on top of stove skin side down as an option.

Lentils are often coupled with duck legs and adds to the earthiness of this dish. Don’t confused earthiness with gamey. The duck legs remit a fork tender, fall apart delicious meat, not far from chicken, which at once feels fancy and simple.

If you can find duck legs, you should totally try this recipe and serve with a crusty french baguette and side salad with a simple champagne vinaigrette. If you want to go all out french, try this Frisee Salad with or without a Poached Egg.

Frisee Salad with Poached Eggs

Fast and Easy Lentils

I prefer French lentils in this recipe, as they hold together well for a side dish, however, brown lentils will be just fine.

  • Make sure to rinse well, looking for little pebbles.
  • No soaking required. Add lentils to boiling water.
  • Use plenty of water, and infuse with herbs like bay leaves, rosemary, sage, thyme and garlic cloves.
  • Cook covered on low for 30-45 minutes. I tested at 30 minutes and then again to make sure they were soft enough.
  • Salt at the END, so they don’t become tough.
  • Stir in some olive oil throughout the lentils. Season with salt and pepper.
Duck Confit with Lentils

How to Cook Duck Confit

  • Marinate overnight with salt and herbs, up to 24 hours.
  • Warm Duck fat so it can be poured over duck legs prior to cooking. I didn’t have enough fat, so I used olive oil (and a little broth). This did not affect the recipe. The good news is that after making this recipe, you will be left with duck fat (from the legs cooking, and you can freeze for another time).
  • Cover completely with duck fat (and olive oil, if needed). I was able to arrange the legs in my large crock pot on low for 7 hours. If you are going to bake in oven, bake for 2 to 3 hours at a low temperature (300 degrees F. ).
  • Carefully remove the legs to a dish you can use under the broiler. By this time the duck legs will be falling apart.
  • Broil for five minutes or so to crisp skin. Picture below is what the duck legs will look like before crisping.
Duck Confit prior to broiling.

Ways to Serve Duck Confit

  • Serve as is on top of french lentils for authentic touch or whatever you choose.
  • Shred, make duck ragu and serve with pasta. (recipe coming)
  • Shred and make duck tacos. (recipe coming)
  • Use for Cassoullet (recipe coming)
  • NOTE: When making pasta or tacos, you won’t use skin, so no need to crisp up.

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Duck Confit with Lentils

How to Make Duck Confit with Lentils and other variations
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Marinating Time12 hours
Course: Entree
Cuisine: French
Keyword: duck, Duck confit, duck legs, lentils
Servings: 4 Servings


Duck Legs

  • 4 duck legs with thigh
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots sliced
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme thyme, sage
  • 1 cup duck fat See Notes for Substitute
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley for ending garnish


  • 1 1/2 cups lentils see notes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 squeeze lemon


Duck Legs

  • Marinate Legs in fresh herbs, salt, pepper, overnight. Rub garlic onto the meatiest part of the legs.
  • Gently heat the fat that you will pour over the duck.
  • Rinse off under cold water. If using crock pot, make sure the duck is fully submerged in the fat. If using baking dish for oven, don't overlap and make sure you fully submerge in fat.
  • Crockpot: Low for 7 hours. Remove and crisp in oven or stove top in frying pan.
  • Oven Bake: 275 degrees F. for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, prior to taking out of the fat and crisping.
  • Crisping Duck: You can tranfer skin side down to frying pan to crips skin. I found my duck was falling apart, so I transferred to hot oven, 475 F. for about 30 minutes. (Cook lentils at this time).
  • Save the fat. You will now have some duck fat. Drain and freeze.
  • Freeze: You can freeze the duck confit in the fat prior to crispng skin for up to three months. Defrost and then follow instructions for crisping.
  • Serve over cooked lentils.

Cook Lentils

  • Rinse lentils in cold water. Look for tiny pebbles.
  • Place in 4 cups cold water. Bring to boil. Turn to simmer until tender 30 -35 minutes. Rinse when done.
  • Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, squeeze of lemon.
  • Add bay leaves, garlic, fresh thyme, salt.


Herbs: Use fresh thyme and Bay Leaf for Duck. Add in some sage if you have it. 
Fat: Duck fat is expensive. You can use a light olive oil or avocado oil in its place. I  also used a little broth in the crock pot. 
Lentils:  Use French Lentils or Brown Lentils. 

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