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Jan 16, 2009 05:57 AM

Duck legs, ideas or receipes

I love duck and my market is now selling the legs only. They are such a great value I'd love to come up with something great to do with them. A make ahead braise would probably be most useful to me, but I'll take all ideas

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  1. confit! or a red wine braise, or a beer baised braise. but really, confit is the best way to go.

    1. Confit is the most obvious suggestion. If you have not made it before it is outstanding. A must try. It is not laborious and lasts for months in your fridge as long as it is covered by the fat. Serve with potatoes fried in the duck fat and tossed with fresh rosemary ...mmmm! :)

      As a braise you can brown the legs first then add sauteed shallots, sauteed parsnips, sauteed shitake mushrooms, duck or chicken broth, white wine (a riesling is very nice), honey, a little 35% cream, a small pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until meat is falling off the bones. Add fresh tarragon towards the end. When you serve it, roast some pine nuts beforehand and sprinkle on top of your dish.

      1. I just purchased Moulard duck legs, but now I'm on a hunt for duck fat so I can make duck confit. Wish I could find it locally, but it looks like I might have to buy it online.

        I've got a great recipe for a GREAT duck ragu that's served over taglietelle pasta. The duck is seared then braised in red wine. It's amazing! Let me know if you'd like me to post it.

        4 Replies
        1. re: CindyJ

          That sound's awesome! I'D like you to post it :).

          1. re: oana

            I would love it too, especially as I will make the pasta. I've done confit, but I was really thinking of a dish not a component and would still like an idea for something that could be made ahead for casual company besides pasta

            1. re: Stuffed Monkey

              Then the braise would be really good for you. It keeps well and of course :) it is better a day or two after you have made it and it freezes well also.

            2. re: oana

              This is a “hybrid” recipe I’ve created from Marc Vetri’s “Il Viaggio di Vetri” and Molly Stevens’ “All About Braising.” Enjoy!

              Duck Ragu with Tagliatelle


              1 duck breast
              1 duck leg
              (or any combination of legs & breasts)
              Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
              2 TB olive oil
              1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
              1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
              1 stalk of celery, coarsely chopped
              2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
              ¾ cup red wine (Chianti, Zinfandel, Rioja, Barbera are all good)
              2 cups canned plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed
              1 rosemary sprig
              2 cups chicken stock
              1 lb. assorted mushrooms, quartered, sautéed in butter and/or olive oil
              2-3 TB grated Parmesan Reggiano

              1 lb. Tagliatelle

              1. Preheat oven to 325°
              2. Season the duck with salt and pepper to taste
              3. Heat the oil in an ovenproof saucepan or heavy braising pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the duck pieces, skin side down, and cook, turning as needed, for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Remove the duck and set aside. Remove most of the fat from the pan.
              4. Add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic to the pan and sauté until lightly browned. Add the wine and deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the fond. Simmer for two or three minutes to reduce slightly.
              5. Add the tomatoes, stock and rosemary to the pan and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the duck pieces in one layer. Cover the pot, place it in the oven and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the duck meat is tender and falling off the bone. Remove from oven, uncover and let the duck cool slightly in the braising liquid. Remove duck from liquid and set aside.
              6. Skim excess fat off the surface of the liquid. Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables in the liquid. The mixture should be the consistency of tomato sauce. If it’s too thin, simmer it until it reduces and thickens slightly.
              7. Shred the duck meat from the bones. Discard the bones and skin and return the meat to the sauce.
              8. Add the sautéed mushrooms to the sauce and stir to combine. Simmer gently.
              9. Prepare tagliatelle as directed on the package. When pasta is ready, drain, reserving about 1 cup of the water. Add the pasta to the ragu along with the Parmesan and toss until well combined. If the ragu is too thick, add a little of the pasta water. Add salt and pepper, if necessary before serving.

          2. Find Paula Wolfert's Cooking of Southwest France and make the salmis of duck legs. Don't forget the le pou.

            1. Somewhat similar to CindyJ's suggestion is this slow-cooked duck sugo from Lidia Bastianich:


              Some of my own notes:

              ~I used 2 cups worth of chopped onion, which as it turns out is pretty much 1 large onion
              ~I actually used ~2 quarts of stock in the first phase (~2 cups more than what was called for) AND then I added the 2 additional cups the next day. so, altogether, I ended up using around 10 cups of stock
              ~I used flat-leaf Italian parsley
              ~Grana Padano is a fine substitute for the Parmigiano IMO ;-


              a few notes about technique:

              ~I wanted the mushrooms to be integrated into the sauce, so I chopped them pretty finely, as opposed to the 1/2" chunks specified above
              ~it might take a little more time to get the pestata to the right texture. I had to grind it in 2 batches (small food processor) and I'm thinking it took more than 20 or 30 seconds to get the vegetables and herbs reduced to a paste
              ~the pestata (onion-celery-garlic-and-herb paste) was VERY wet, so it took much longer than 2 minutes to get it to the point where it was toasting--likely a function of the stove and pan I had to use
              ~I kind of shredded the duck a la pulled pork rather than leaving it in bite-sized chunks
              ~I refrigerated the meat and sauce separately overnight. because the sauce was pretty condensed, I loosened it up a bit the next day by heating it with another 2 cups of chicken stock and then reduced the sauce-stock mixture by about 1/4 before recombining it with the meat

              A similar idea from Joyce Goldstein, which I haven't had a chance to try, in this piece from the SF Chronicle: