Cooking, Savory

Braised Duck Legs

This is adapted from a recipe I found a while ago over at I don’t usually post recipes that have (mostly) come from another source. But these duck legs were so good that I felt an obligation in this case. So, here’s how it works:

4 Duck leg-thigh parts (I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere in the country, but many butchers around here cary them)
8-10 Cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
1 cup Mixed dried fruit (I used cherries and apples)
1 cup Dry red wine
3 cups Chicken (or preferably, duck) stock
1 tsp Dried thyme
2 Bay leaves
1 tbsp Rendered duck fat (or alternately, olive oil)
2 tbsp Butter and 2 tbsp white AP flour to make a roux
Heat your oven to 300F, and heat a cast iron skillet over high-medium heat on the stove. Wash and dry your duck legs, and season them thoroughly with salt and pepper. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: duck likes salt. So be generous.

Add your duck fat (or olive oil) to the pan, and when it is good and hot, add your duck legs, skinside down and allow them to brown for about 15 minutes, or until the skin is a dark-ish brown. Then turn the legs over, brown for two minutes on the non-skin side, and remove from the pan.

Dump any excess fat in the pan (I save it for frying potatoes), add your cup of red wine, and deglaze. When the wine has cooked down to a syrup, add your garlic, half your dried fruit, and thyme, and cook together for 3-5 minutes. Then add your bay leaves, place your duck legs skin-side up in the pan, and pour on your stock until only the browned duck skin shows above the liquid. Carefully place in the oven, and allow to braise for 2 hours.

While the duck is cooking, in a small saucepan, make a golden roux with the butter and flour. At the end of the two hours, remove the skillet from the oven, remove the duck to a separate dish, cover to keep warm (the duck should be very tender), and strain the liquid into the saucepan over low-medium heat. Whisk the liquid vigorously until the roux is thoroughly incorporated, turn the heat to high, and allow it to reduce for 10-15 minutes. At the end of that time, add the rest of the dried fruit, cook for another minute or two, ladle back over the duck legs, and serve immediately.