Adding duck to your dinner routine is a great way to add variety your meal planning. Duck is quite flavorful, its breast is low in fat, and utilizing it in your meal planning can break up the monotony of recipes that commonly call for chicken. Depending on your local butcher or grocery store, it is also not even much more expensive. We picked up these duck legs at our local market for $8/lb. While duck legs are a little higher in fat, you can trust me that it’s the good kind (I’m looking at you monounsaturated fat). One duck leg will only set you back 200 calories and 3g (14% DV) of saturated fat. Below is a fantastic recipe for braised duck legs based off of a recipe published by the New York Times, which we also combined with our own recipe for herbed peas.
Crisp-Braised Duck Legs With Aromatic Vegetables
Click HERE for NYT recipe
4 small duck legs, trimmed of excess fat (about 2 lbs)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large onions
1 pound carrots
6 celery stalks
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 large leek or 2 small leeks, finely sliced
2 tbsp butter (or more if needed)
1 (10 oz) bag frozen peas, not defrosted
3-4 fresh mint sprigs (leaves and soft tips)
3-4 fresh sprigs of rosemary (leaves and soft tips)
Put duck legs, skin side down, in a skillet large enough to accommodate all ingredients comfortably; turn heat to medium. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brown duck legs carefully and evenly, sprinkling them with salt and pepper as they cook. Meanwhile, peel and dice vegetables.
When legs are nicely browned, turn them over and sear for just a minute or two. Remove to a plate; remove all but enough fat to moisten vegetables. Add vegetables to skillet along with some salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Return duck legs to pan, skin side up, and add stock; it should come about halfway up duck legs but should not cover them. Turn heat to high, bring to a boil, and transfer to oven.
Cook for 30 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees. Continue to cook, undisturbed, until duck is tender and liquid reduced, at least another half hour. The duck is done when a thin-bladed knife pierces the meat with little resistance.
Meanwhile, sauté the sliced leeks in butter over medium-low heat until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add frozen peas and stir until defrosted. Add chopped mint, rosemary, and continue stirring for 3-5 minutes. Taste the peas to adjust for butter, season with salt and pepper if needed. When the duck is done, duck will hold nicely in a warm oven for another hour. Serve hot with herbed peas.