Au Pied de Cochon – Duck in a Can or “Canard en Conserve”

Restaurant: Au Pied de Cochon
Cuisine: French/Canadian/Seafood
Last visited: October 17, 2010
Location: Montréal, Quebec (Plateau Mont-Royal)
Address: 536 Ave Duluth E
Price Range: $50+

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: n/a
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Chef Picard
  • Most popular fine dining French restaurant
  • Named one of best French restaurants in Canada
  • Very rich traditional French cuisine
  • Extensive menu
  • Seafood/Game/Exotic meats
  • Famous “Canard en Conserve”
  • Duck in a can available to go
  • Attracts tourists, some locals
  • Reservations recommended
  • Open Tues-Sun 5pm-12am
  • Closed Monday

**Recommendations: n/a

When I think Montreal the first thing that comes to mind is Au Pied de Cochon. It’s the most famous and popular fine dining French restaurant in Montreal and it’s known for serving the butteriest, richest traditional French cuisine. This post is specifically dedicated to Au Pied de Cochon’s famous Duck in a Can, or as the French call it “Canard en Conserve”.

I actually haven’t physically been to Au Pied de Cochon, however when my dear friend told me she was going to visit I had to make the request to bring back a duck in a can. She was equally as excited to try it and ended up buying a couple. I am so very thankful! It’s seriously the perfect souvenir for any foodie. A duck in a can. Food that travels. I like!

Note: My duck in a can may have been affected by traveling time. It came from Montreal, Quebec on a plane all the way to Vancouver, BC. Yes it can be done. I didn’t open it until about 3-4 days later, so I’m not sure if that made a difference.

On the table:

Canard en Conserve aka Duck in a Can – 4/6

  • $37
  • This is everything you get when you order it to go. It’s served the same way when you dine it but they just open the can and plate it at your table too.
  • Chef Picard uses a variety of in house cooking techniques and his canning technique is a famous one. He cans and cooks his signature duck in a can.

It’s definitely a gourmet novelty and they even have a custom “Canard en Conserve” label for it. The bag and the label are also stamped with the Au Pied de Cochon emblem and symbol to represent “authenticity”. If you order it to go the label actually comes separately and you can stick it on yourself after you boil it.

Canard en Conserve “Duck in a Can” Ingredients:

  • 1/2 duck breast
  • 100g of foie gras
  • 60mL of balsamic demi-glaze
  • 180mL
  • 1/2 head of roasted garlic
  • 2 sprigs of Thyme

I was told to boil it in the can (without the label) for 27 minutes before opening and serving it. It looks small, but it’s not!

Voila! And here it is! The famous duck in a can! It’s a whole feast!

It’s half a duck breast stuffed with thyme sprigs, a large piece of foie gras, and then served with carrots, celery and onions in garlic and balasmic demi-glaze. I also call it a heart attack waiting to happen. Seriously this is probably the richest and butteriest thing I’ve ever eaten… I’ve never eaten a stick of butter dipped in duck fat and that’s the only thing that could possibly beat this.

The duck wasn’t as tender as I thought it would be. It was almost like a duck steak and I had to get a steak knife to get through it. I think I was expecting a duck confit type of thing so I had my expectations set different. The layer of duck fat was intense! It was a thick layer of bumpy duck fat and it was really chewy and not tender. I’m not a “meat fat” kind of person though so other people might appreciate this… ?

It was almost like a butter duck stew that was super heavy and really tangy altogether. The sauteed or braised vegetables were very soft and mushy and soaked in buttery balsamic sauce. It was sour and reminded me of sauerkraut and it seemed very Eastern European to me.

My lips were literally coated with oil, butter and fat and I couldn’t finish the whole thing. I had to take a break and eat some pineapple and citrus fruits afterward. I needed the acid to break up the grease. My heart will thank me one day.

This was the massive piece of foie gras. It was the almost the size of the duck breast and I actually felt really bad for eating it. The only way to get it so big is force feeding the duck, I hope it’s not the method they use at Au Pied de Cochon, but I don’t know how else they would get it so big. I could only have a couple bites and I was done. It was really fatty and buttery with almost broken layers of extra fat on top. I prefer my foie gras pan seared if I have it as a whole… but I guess that’s something entirely different.

This is the celeriac puree (celery root puree) that came on the side if you order the duck in a can to go. If your order it at the restaurant they put it on top of the bread and it’s almost treated like a mashed potato to absorb all the buttery tangy sauce. I didn’t know what it was at first and I think the traveling time may have affected it. I’m not sure but it tasted like sour grainy lard and it smelt like cream cheese.

I used it anyways, but I did it wrong because it was supposed to go on top of the bread. I also should have toasted the bread and I should have done my research before I started. I guess next time I’ll just have to go to Au Pied de Cochon for the full experience and real deal. It would probably taste different; nonetheless it was a fun way to get a taste of Montreal.

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Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon

21 Comments

  • Bow says:

    Mijune,
    How does it compare to Cantonese roast duck or Peking duck ? How much bread did you eat with this meal(lottsa baugette to soak up the fat) ? Celeriac is best grated fresh. French wine pairing with foie gras can be a Jura white, although a Doisey Vedrines Sauternes would do; if you didn’t get your fill of fat, go to Oyama Sausage Co. at Granville Island and get some duck or pork rillettes(spread over good bread)…or broil some marrow bones covered in bread crumbs and Dijon, pop out onto toast and enjoy.

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – Hi Bow! It’s in a complete different category than Peking Duck… however I personally enjoy Peking Duck better… but I can’t really compare it to this one. This one is tangy Peking duck is savoury and sweet. This one is not known for the skin which is chewy and Peking duck is known for the skin which is crispy.

    I needed lots of bread to soak up the fat… but I seriously couldn’t handle that much and one piece ended up being enough. It’s much too rich for me tastes. Hmmm this would have been better enjoyed with wine, so thank you for the recommendation. I would try it again… at the actual restaurant…. but I wouldn’t get it to go again.

  • Sara says:

    I am from Montreal myself and went twice to Pied de cochon. Duck in Can is definitely one of the favorites from the restaurant. I tried it once myself but just like you, found it way too rich. From my two trips there, I tried the Poutine foie gras, Duck magret with shitake mushrooms, Pied de Cochon with foie gras, Cromesquis de foie gras and the Duck in a can.

    I definitely think au Pied de Cochon is way too fat and salty overall. I felt guilty the whole time I was eating and thought I would die of a heart attack throughout the meal! It’s really that rich! Everything has butter, cream, duck fat added too and it’s just too much.

    I would definitely go back though but I would try something else with bit of acidity or perhaps sugar to cut through the fat. My next trip, I am planning to try the Plogue a Champlain and the Foie Gras burger.

  • Ryan's mommy says:

    It looks like a heart attack in a can!

  • Ryan's mommy says:

    Have you ever watched “Wild Chef?” Picard cooks the craziest stuff…he makes chinese food look tame!

  • Steph says:

    Interesting!

    I’m going back to Montreal again in four weeks and that is the first place I am going to check out! Super excited. Especially for the foie gras poutine!!!

  • Nathan Chan says:

    Interesting, I’ve always wondered what that dish looked like out of the restaurant. Did you convince your friend to bring you back some smoked meat from Schwartz’s? I think it should qualify as more of a ‘taste of Montreal’

    There’s a clip of au Pied de cochon’s duck supplier on the Quebec episode on No Reservations, but they only show the live ducks in a couple shots.

  • Mijune says:

    @Sara – oh wow! It’s so great to have you comment on this post! Thank you! Yeah I guess we have similar taste buds! I honestly couldn’t do it as much as I wanted too… which I actually didn’t really want to either. I just felt my stomach and lips absorbing all this oil… I’d have Angelina Jolie lips by the end. It’s really nice hearing your comment because I wondered if it was different having it in house.

    @Ryan’s Mommy – lol heart attack it was! Yes I have seen that show!! It’s WAY adventurous even for me!

    @Steph – fun!! Are you going to attempt this duck in a can? They serve it the same way. Let me know what you think! Mmmm you’re going to have fantastic dining adventures there!

    @Nathan Chan – lol I definitely recommended her to try Schwartz! She loved it! I don’t think it would have lasted the trip back to Vancouver though… or be nearly as good.

  • Nathan Chan says:

    @ Mijune

    Schwartz sells it vacuum packed as well. Our cousins in Toronto curtly told us that if we had any trouble finishing the brisket we brought back to TO from Montreal, they would be happy to help.

  • Mijune says:

    @Nathan Chan – oh my gosh! Come to think of it… I HAVE tried Schwartz! Well almost… it’s still in my freezer. My friend shared it and I haven’t broken into it yet. Now I can’t wait! Hope it’s still good.. it’s been months.

  • OMG yum! Thanks for sharing.

  • Mijune says:

    @Mariam Martin – no problem! Hope you get to try it!

  • WS says:

    Just discovered your review Au Pied de Cochon. APDC is more a casual dining place(not fine dining), & I don’t consider their food French. It’s Quebecois cuisine with focus on meats & seafood. And I’m sure you know, it can be expensive to eat at APDC.

  • Mijune says:

    @WS – Yup it is. Well i’d call it casual fine dining I guess. To me Quebecois still falls under French… some people wouldn’t put Taiwanese under Chinese too… but I can see it going under there. It just depends :)

  • WS says:

    I don’t necessary have a problem with you categorizing Au Pied de Cochon in your French(or Canadian) cuisine section of your site(there’s no point with just categorizing APDC in the Quebecois cuisine section for a Vancouver food blog). Just that in your ‘Additional comments’ & write-up you stress French cuisine/restaurant. It doesn’t give a proper picture for your mostly Vancouver-area blog readers. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have made a comment. In Montreal, they’re not many true fine dining restaurants. When I eat at Au Pied de Cochon, I take one of their counter seats.

  • Mijune says:

    @WS – counter seats are best!

  • MyFoodprint says:

    This is Anthony Bourdain’s favorite restaurant in Canada! Did you get a chance to see him when he was in town few weeks ago?

  • Mijune says:

    @myFoodprint – no unfortunately I was out of town so I missed him!!! :(

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