Mother Earth Living

Vancouver's 100-Mile Diet: Confit Leg, Grilled Breast of Muscovy Duck, Root Vegetables and Onion and Thyme Froth

If you can’t find local and naturally raised ducks in your area, try this dish with locally raised free-range chicken.
By Jessica Kellner
September/October 2004
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Raincity Grill makes this recipe with local root vegetables and Muscovy ducks from Fraser Valley, British Columbia.
Photo By Hamid Attie

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Confit Leg, Grilled Breast of Fraser Valley Muscovy Duck, Root Vegetables and Onion & Thyme Froth 
Serves 8 

Raincity Grill makes this recipe with local root vegetables and Muscovy ducks from Fraser Valley, British Columbia. If you can’t find local and naturally raised ducks in your area, try this dish with locally raised free-range chicken. (To find locally raised and free-range meat and dairy products in your area, check the extensive state-by-state listings at

2 whole Muscovy ducks, prepared as below
1 cup salt
3 cloves garlic, diced
6 sprigs thyme
2 1/4 cups sweet white onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup small sunchokes*
1 cup carrots
3 fingerling potatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste

*Sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes are not part of the artichoke family, but are tubers related to sunflowers. Sunchokes store well and are available most of the year in many areas. Parsnips can be substituted. 

Duck preparation:

1. Butcher ducks, removing thigh bones from legs. Remove fat and set aside. (Save the bones, which will make a wonderful stock after being roasted.)

2. Combine salt, garlic and 5 sprigs thyme, and sprinkle all over legs. Allow meat to season for 4 to 6 hours, then cover with duck fat. Transfer to a 185-degree oven for 12 hours. (Note: Many commercial ovens start at 200 degrees, which will be fine.)

3. Allow legs to cool slightly. Remove skin and sprigs of thyme, then pick apart meat and press into a 12-inch square baking tin and chill. Portion into pressed 4-by-11⁄2-inch rectangles. Chill again. This is your confit.

4. Sear duck breast skin-side-down over moderate heat until golden brown, then flip and brown the other side. Transfer to a 350-degree oven for approximately 8 minutes or until medium rare (about 170 degrees in the middle). Let rest in a warm place for 6 minutes before carving.

5. While the breast is resting, heat an oven-safe pan on the stovetop over moderate heat. Sear pressed duck confit squares until golden brown on one side (as the meat is already cooked, this will happen relatively quickly). Turn confit and transfer pan to the 350-degree oven for approximately 6 minutes, until just warmed through.

Onion Thyme Froth:

1. Cook onion slices gently in butter (reserving 3 tablespoons for your carrots) for 20 minutes over the lowest heat. A long cooking process brings out the onions’ natural sweetness.

2. Add chicken stock (reserving 5 tablespoons for the carrots), cream and remaining thyme sprig, and simmer 20 minutes. Strain, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.


1. Scrub sunchokes and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then set aside.

2. Peel and trim carrots. Sauté with honey, reserved stock and butter over low heat. Remove from heat when mixture is reduced to a glaze and carrots are tender.

3. Peel potatoes then blanch, dropping into boiling salted water for about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Plating and serving instructions 

1. Warm 8 dinner plates.

2. At top of plate, place confit golden- side up, then arrange carved breast over top. Place vegetables around plates, dividing evenly.

3. Use a spoon to draw lines of parsnip purée around plates. (You can serve the remaining purée as a side dish.)

4. Rewarm onion broth, then froth with an immersion blender. Spoon froth over duck and serve.

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