Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Daring Cooks March 2012: Braised Duck Legs

The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.

Wow, this was melt in the mouth. The duck was literally falling off the bone when I tried to take it out from under the grill! I found the sauce a little sweet for me but the meat was awesome. I also added the onions and carrots back into the sauce as I hate to waste things! I served it with rice, broccoli and sugar snap peas.

Braised Duck Legs
(Serves 4)

4 duck legs
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) mild- or non-flavored oil, like canola
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, cute into 1 inch (2½ cm) pieces
4 garlic cloves, smash with the side of a knife
1 tablespoon (15ml) tomato paste
1 to 1 ½ cups (240 to 360 ml) white wine or chicken or vegetable stock – may need a little more
7 to 10 stems of thyme
1 to 1 ½ cups( 240 to 360 ml) of water
1 tablespoon (15 ml) oyster sauce or fish sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (5 gm) cornstarch/corn flour dissolved in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of water

1. Aggressively season duck legs with salt at least 1 hour before cooking or up to 2 days.

2. Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2.

3. In a pot large enough to contain the legs (my pot wasn’t large enough to contain the legs so I sautéed in my enameled pot and transferred everything to a baking casserole), heat oil over medium high heat, add onion and sauté until the onion is translucent – about 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Add carrots, garlic, and tomato paste – cook for another 2 minutes.

5. Nestle the duck legs in the pan, add wine or stock, thyme and water until the liquid just covers the duck.

6. Cover and place in the oven to braise for 3 hours. It may sit in the liquid until ready to serve.

7. Remove the duck from the liquid – reserve liquid.

8. Heat broiler/grill and place duck legs underneath until skin is nice and crispy.

9. Strain the cooking liquid – reduce by a quarter and add oyster sauce and sherry vinegar – season with pepper.

10. Add cornstarch to thicken the sauce and serve with the duck.


  1. So glad to hear you liked the duck so much it does look so tasty and yes sometimes you do need to add some citrus juice to counter the sweetness that braising can impart. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Oh, wow - look how tender that duck leg is... I mean, you can just see how amazingly tender it is in the picture! You did a really great job!

  3. Mmmm - duck is one of my favourite meats - I hardly ever cook with it, but this has resolved to make me do it more often!

  4. Everytime I see the pics for this recipe my mouth waters. I truly adored this preparation. Your pictures look fabulous. I am so glad you enjoyed this challenge!

  5. Oh wow... looks AMAZING! You have me drooling...