Saturday, January 5, 2013

Duck Leg Poêler (Special Roast) With Sweet Pan Reduction Glaze

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Happy new year, everybody! In my previous recipe, the sautéed duck breast, I told you I'd also show you what to do with the legs and thighs of a duck as well. So, as promised, today I'll show you what to do with them. It's actually a relatively simple recipe that doesn't require a whole lot of labor, though that will also depend on what kind of side dish you choose to prepare with it. I made little potato tournes, but honestly, I do not recommend them. They're tricky, labor intensive, and exist basically just for their aesthetic appeal (and to drive culinary students insane). You'd do just as well with something like boiled potatoes without the fancy cuts, or green beans.

Anyway, if you’ve ever roasted anything before, this is a little bit different. Poêler (which is a French culinary term with no English translation) refers to the process of roasting, but with moisture added. So instead of roasting in a pan by itself, these legs will be roasted on a bed of aromatic vegetables.

Difficulty: Relatively Easy
Active Prep Time: About 1 hour
Total Prep Time: About 30 minutes
Special Equipment: Fine mesh strainer (chinois), basting brush
Serves: 2

Duck Poêler Ingredients:

  • 2 duck legs, with thighs attached
  • 1 onion, rough chop
  • 1 - 2 large carrots, rough chop
  • 1 - 2 stalks celery, rough chop
  • 1 leek, rough chop (optional)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Pan Reduction Ingredients:

  • Remaining bits of duck meat
  • ½ onion, rough chop
  • 1 carrot, rough chop
  • 1 stalk celery, rough chop
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • About ½ cup white wine
  • 2 - 3 cups beef or veal stock
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

2. Cut a couple small pieces of meat off of the thigh and set the pieces aside. Place the duck legs, skin side down, in a cold pan. Turn the heat up to medium-low and allow the fat to render out for about 5 minutes. Remove the legs from the pan and set aside. Pour the duck fat out of the pan, but do not clean it yet.

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3. Put the onion, carrots, celery, leek, garlic, thyme, peppercorns, wine, and water in a large sauce pot. Season the duck legs on both sides with salt and pepper, then place them in the pot, skin side up.

4. Over medium heat, bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot with tin foil, then place it in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes.

(After putting the duck in the oven, start on the pan reduction glaze – you’ll need some to baste the duck as it cooks)

5. Take the small pieces of meat you saved earlier and place them in the pan you used to render the fat out of the duck legs. Turn the heat up to medium-high and sear the meat.

6. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan and sweat them for about 3 – 5 minutes.

7. Add wine to the pan to deglaze it, then let the wine reduce almost completely. Add the stock, thyme,and peppercorns to the pan.

8. Let the liquid in the pan reduce about half way, then strain it through a chinois into another clean pan. At this point, add the sugar, mix it until dissolved, then continue cooking the sauce.

9. As the sauce reduces further, the sugar will cause it to get thick and somewhat sticky. By now, there should be about 10 – 15 minutes left for your duck to cook. Pull it out of the oven and brush some of the pan reduction sauce on the duck legs, then cover and put back in the oven. Repeat this process every 3 – 5 minutes until the duck is finished cooking.

10. When the duck is finished cooking, allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before removing it from the pot. Serve on a warm plate and drizzle any leftover pan reduction sauce around and on top of it.

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