Duck Stew

5 from 15 votes
Jump to Recipe

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

When I decided to develop a recipe for duck stew, I went straight to Southwest France, one of the great duck-eating regions of the world. And what better stew to make than a traditional garbure, which hinges on duck or goose legs?

A bowl of duck stew with pickled vegetables alongside.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Full disclosure: I am inept at pronouncing French, so I say “gar-burr,” which I know is not right. If you want to pronounce garbure correctly, listen to this link. So I’m calling it duck stew from here on in.

This particular variety of stew is pure country comfort food. Thick enough to stand a spoon in, loaded with vegetables, all you need alongside is some good crusty bread. And pickles. More on that in a bit.

Garbure is Sunday supper food. It takes a few hours to make, but most is passive simmering time. The result is rich, hearty and uncomplicated. If you have a duck camp, this is the ticket for post-hunt dinners.

You make it by simmering duck legs and/or wings — goose works very well here, too — with some slab bacon or salt pork and lots of garlic to make your the base for your duck stew.

Closeup of a bowl of duck stew with accompanying pickles.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

If you don’t have duck or goose, try this with turkey legs and wings, pheasant legs, or venison shoulder, neck or shanks. Oh, and if you happen to have some duck confit on hand, this is a perfect use for it.

Basically, the duck stew gets simmered twice, with the vegetables coming in at the second simmer, and when it all comes together, you eat it with bread and various pickled things to brighten it all up.

Don’t skip the pickles. You need them for balance. In the picture, I have pickled ramps, pickled cardoons and some fermented jalapenos. Ideally, you’d provide a mix for color and flavor. Yes, pickled cucumbers will do, but they should be only one pickle of several.

Like make stews, this is better the second day, or even the third. Once made, garbure keeps a week in the fridge and freezes well.

A bowl of duck stew
5 from 15 votes

French Duck Stew

This is a French garbure, a thick, country stew great for duck or goose legs. Venison shoulder, shanks or neck work well, too, as do turkey legs or pork shoulder.
Course: Appetizer, lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: French
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups dried white beans, 1 one 16-ounce can
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 to 3 pounds duck or goose legs
  • 1/4 pound bacon or salt pork
  • 1 head garlic, cloves whole and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons duck fat, butter or olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 leek, split and sliced thin
  • 2 turnips, cut into chunks
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small cabbage, chopped (Ideally a Savoy cabbage)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and black pepper


  • If you are using dried beans, pour boiling water over them and let them sit. If you are using canned beans, rinse them and set them aside.
  • In a large soup pot, add the water, duck legs, bacon and garlic and bring to a boil. Drop to a simmer and cook until everything is soft, about 2 to 3 hours. The garlic will be done after 1 hour. Fish it out and set it aside.
  • When the duck legs are tender, fish them out and strip the meat from the bones. Discard the bones. Reserve the bacon and strain the stock. Set it aside. Clean out the pot with a paper towel; no need to scrub it.
  • Heat the duck fat in the pot over medium-high heat. Cook the onions, leek and celery until soft, but don't brown them. Add the beans, picked duck meat, the turnips, potatoes, carrots and cabbage and pour all the strained stock over it. Bring to a simmer and season with salt. Let this cook until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put the cooked garlic and bacon, along with the cayenne and parsley in a blender. Add a few ladles of the soup stock, or water, to the blender and puree. Pour this into the soup pot. Season with black pepper and serve.


Keep in mind that this should be a thick stew, and it is impossible to cook it too long, so err on cooking it longer, not shorter. 

Keys to Success

  • This is a great use for skinned goose legs, turkey legs or duck legs. If you have skin-on legs, it will make the broth richer, but you will want to chop the skin small before it goes back in the soup pot. 
  • You can add other vegetables, if you’d like, such as parsnips, rutabagas, root parsley, salsify, big radishes, and even chestnuts. 
  • That last puree of parsley, garlic and the cooked bacon or salt pork really adds a lot of flavor, so don’t skip it. 
  • If you are using salt pork, you might not need any additional salt in the rest of the stew, so be careful before adding any extra. 
  • Drink a big white wine, like a white Cotes du Rhone or Bordeaux, or a lighter red such as a pinot noir or merlot here. For beer, choose an amber or something malty, but not too heavy. 


Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 1147mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4308IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 160mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

You May Also Like

British Game Pie

How to make hand-raised pies with game. This one is a huntsman’s pie, an English classic hand pie made with a hot water crust.

Seared Canada Goose Breast

This is the best Canada goose breast recipe if you want to eat it like a steak or a London broil. Reverse seared goose breast sliced thin and served simply.

Duck Terrine

Making a duck terrine is not as hard as you might think, although you do need some equipment. Why bother…

Duck Noodle Soup

A Cantonese duck noodle soup recipe that works with wild or farmed duck. Roast duck with noodles, a duck broth, mustard greens and ginger. Simple and refined.

About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Incredible. I’d already made duck stock (this site) so I rendered some bacon, added garlic, let it cook down, then proceeded from there (and didn’t puree at end). Was a bit short on duck (wild mallard) so I filled it out with chopped mushrooms. Splash of red wine vinegar at end since I was missing pickles. Highly recommend.

  2. Thought it turned out more like a duck and vegetable soup, cause I think stew is thicker generally. Nevertheless, everyone loved it. I only used half of the cabbage because I thought I had enough. Very tasty way to use duck meat.

  3. I made this recipe exactly as indicated. It was a mess. Far too many vegetables, too much duck which disintegrated while the veggies were cooking. It was a swampy mess. Perhaps adding the duck at the end of cooking after the pancetta/garlic paste has incorporated. Otherwise the small torn duck pieces separate into shreds and turn this into a mess. I’m so sad because I spent the whole day working on this and I consider myself a pragmatic and generally good home cook. What a waste .

    1. P: That is the entire purpose of this stew. It is supposed to be “hammered” like that, as you can see in the pictures. If you didn’t want it cooked that much, you should have stopped cooking it earlier.

  4. Truly fabulous. One giant Canada supplied legs, heart, tenders for this just perfectly. So rich and you were right about the pickles!

  5. Sounds delicious and just what I need with the legs I’ve been collecting. Would you separate duck and goose legs into 2 separate batches? Or could I just mix it all in? Also skin on is fine but you just cut up the skin after the first part of cooking?

    1. Austin: I’d toss them all in together since you will pick the meat off the bones. Skin on is fine, and yes, I mince the skin after the meat is all tender. Little bits are nice to eat, where globs of sticky skin are not.

  6. I can’t wait to try this. It sounds amazing. I do have a question. I was recently gifted with smoked Turkey legs. Would this work with those too? Just curious.

  7. Shared this with the Yellowstone Hunt Club. Goose hunting is getting hot and heavy here in Montana and this looks like just the ticket for a bunch of goose legs.

  8. I often either just sear the breasts or make bacon with them, then use the legs/wings for something like this…Thanks for the new recipe, Hank!

  9. Great minds think alike I guess. Last night while cleaning out the pantry I found a 16 bean soup mix and thought “hmm, time to make duck stew or something.” I then proceeded to make a dish very close to this, as I happened to have a bunch of confit legs to go with the beans, and a big head of fennel. And because it was cold and rainy (yay) I needed something hearty to revive me after a day in the blind or on the boat, so this will last the week. And first thing this morning here’s this post from Hank. The big difference with this recipe is the bacon garlic aromatics puree, that looks like an excellent idea.

  10. I will be doing this early next week.I`ll make it up and take it to family get together.Will report back in.Thanks Dennis.

      1. I raise my own ducks and wouldn’t waste a beautiful domestic breast on this. However, I can see maybe using the whole carcass of small wild ducks. It should work out all the same.

      2. Lolly: Not really, because I don’t like the texture of long simmered duck breast. But if that’s all you have, go for it.