Recipe of the Week: Red-Wine-Braised Duck Legs

September 15, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week) (, , )

I hate to admit it but it’s really starting to feel like fall and I’m kind of enjoying it.  I’m craving duck and potatoes.  Go figure.  The following recipe is adapted from one a found in an old issue of Gourmet. I’ll use a nicer wine for this recipe than I normally would in cooking since it only calls for 1/2 a cup.  Plan on enjoying the rest of the bottle.  We used the  Achaval Ferrer Quimera Mendoza 2003 Malbec this time around but any dry red will do.



6 large whole duck legs (about 4 1/2 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat

1/2 cup malbec wine

2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled

8 fresh thyme sprigs

1 cup mixed dried fruit such as dried sour cherries, chopped dried apricots, chopped pitted prunes

5 cups chicken broth

* Accompaniment: herb roasted potatoes


Preheat oven to 350°F. and season duck legs with salt and pepper.

1. In a heavy pot or dutch oven just large enough to hold legs in one layer, cook legs, skin sides down, over moderately high heat 10 to 15 minutes, or until skin in crisp and browned. Removing fat from kettle as it is rendered with a metal bulb baster or very carefully spooning off). Turn legs over and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes, transferring to a plate.

2. Pour off  fat from pan and reserve 1 Tbsp if making roast potatoes.  Deglaze with wine, scraping up brown bits. Simmer wine until reduced to a syrup and add garlic, thyme and 1/2 cup dried fruit. Return duck legs, skin sides up, to kettle and add broth. Bring mixture back to a simmer and braise, uncovered, in oven 2 hours, or until legs are very tender. Transfer legs to a platter and keep warm.

3. Pour braising mixture into a 1-quart measuring cup and let stand until fat rises to the top. Skim off fat and pour liquid through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing hard on solids. Boil liquid until reduced by about one third and slightly thickened and add remaining 1/2 cup dried fruit. Simmer sauce until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.

For Potatoes

Cut small red skinned potatoes in quarters, put in baking dish, season with salt and pepper,  toss with fresh thyme and 1 Tbsp reserved duck fat.  Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how well you want them browned.

** Have you tried this recipe? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.

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