Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wine Braised Duck Legs and Other Winter Comfort


Winter has definitely hit the Milwaukee area with temps in the single digits and below at night the past few days! I don't know about you, but I can't seem to wrap my head around a salads just yet.  All I want is warm, simple, comfort food.  I haven't wanted to think much about new recipes. Slow roasted meat, roasted and browned poultry, and savory, filling soups are what we've been craving and eating.  I've been making lots of family favorites for the past three weeks.  There's been nothing new or exciting to share until I made these braised duck legs. 


Flavored with bay leaf, garlic and thyme, these are a great do-ahead dish for a special weekend meal. I'm lucky that my husband enjoys duck as much as I do and we are also fortunate to be able to buy individually frozen duck legs at a local store. 


One of the other family favorites that I made in the last week is homemade chicken soup with my mother's potato dumplings.  This is a "labor of love" soup with a stock that is simmered for hours.  I've posted this recipe a couple of times before and it is a wonderful recipe to make if you feel you are coming down with a cold or flu or just want a bowl of really good soup.  You don't have to make the potato dumplings either (although I absolutely have to).  You can use small pasta or noodles instead.  I first posted this recipe in 2008 and you can find the recipe here.  Another comforting soup recipe I made earlier this month is this Lentil Soup with Ham and Kale.  So good!


The other thing I'm craving these days......flowers!  A little, colorful primula or cyclamen is all I need to make me smile and take my mind off the the snow and cold outside. 


It seems my mind has been in the clouds lately.  I haven't been able to concentrate much on cooking so maybe that's why I've been sticking to tried and true recipes.

Perhaps it is because we are awaiting the birth of our third grandson within the next few days!  It looks as though our daughter will need to have a C-Section since the little guy has decided the most comfortable position is sideways inside his mother.  By next Monday afternoon I should be a Nana once again!  If you don't hear from me for again for a while you'll know why.  Concentration issues :)

Wine Braised Duck Legs

Printable Recipe

6 large whole duck legs, trimmed of excess fat
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons dried or freshly chopped thyme
1 bay leaf, crumbled
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
8 fresh thyme sprigs
3 cups chicken or duck stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Combine salt, pepper, 2 teaspoons chopped thyme and crumbed bay leaf in a small bowl.

Season duck legs with with the seasoning mixture and place in a shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Pat duck legs with paper toweling to remove excess moisture.

In a heavy skillet, large enough to hold legs in one layer, cook legs, skin sides down, over medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until skin is crisp and nicely browned, removing fat from skillet as it is rendered. Turn legs over and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off fat from skillet and deglaze with wine, scraping up browned bits. Boil until the wine is reduced to a syrup and add the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs. Return duck legs, skin sides up, to skillet and add stock. Bring mixture to a simmer and braise, uncovered, in the oven for 1-1/4 hours, or until legs are very tender. Transfer legs to a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to finish. The braising liquid can be strained, cooked and reduced to make a sauce. 

Bring duck legs to room temperature.

Preheat broiler.

Broil the duck legs 8 inches from the heat for 3 minutes, until the skin is browned. Serve with buttered noodles, roasted or mashed potatoes.  

63 comments:

  1. I keep thinking about Monday:)♥
    And Susan your darkly plated /dish of duck photos are exquisite,,
    I have been making tried and trues too and my arugula and romaine keep staring at me..too cold!!
    Sweet cyclamen!

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    1. Your experiences keep me hopeful :) A new, wonderful adventure. I bought all the ingredients to make Ricardo's muffins today!

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    2. Enjoy! We finished our first pot..huge yesterday so buttermilk is on the list;)

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  2. Beautiful dish!!! It's cold here, too. Winter was late but it's making up for lost time. Congratulations on the new grandchild!!

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    1. Winter is making up for lost time, Julie! I knew December was too good to last! Thank you!

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  3. Both dishes look very good Susan. We've never cooked duck anything but should probably give it a shot some time - not sure Bev is much of a fan though.

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    1. Larry, I know Bev loves red meat so I think she would enjoy duck legs. Surprise her ;)

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  4. Both dishes look fantastic, Susan. That duck leg is just beyond delicious.

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  5. Winter is toying with Philly too Susan, but I shouldn't complain, it has been pretty mild so far this year. Congrats on the new baby-enjoy:@)

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  6. I've never been brave enough to cook a duck at home. Looks elegant. Hope things go well for the new mama (and nana).

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    1. Don't be afraid, you'd be surprised at how simple and delicious it turns out. Thank you for the newborn wishes!

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  7. I'm thinking it is time to haul my "emergency" duck out of the freezer and roast it for a frigid weather treat! I hope all goes well for your daughter and the new little boy. Such joy for the family.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. I love that you have an 'emergency' duck :) Thanks so much, Bonnie!

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  8. Wow, this is seriously a gorgeous recipe!
    Winter has hit Toronto as well, so this would be so comforting after a really cold day!

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    1. Thank you very much, Cathleen! It's really good if you love duck as we do :)

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  9. I've cooked whole duck and duck breasts, but never the legs - I never have seen them in our local stores. But this has me wanting to go on the hunt. Good luck with the new grand baby.

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    1. Maybe one of your stores could special order them for you, Linda. Good luck and your hunt and thanks for the newborn wishes :)

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  10. You serve the most exotic foods... =D

    Congrats on the imminent arrival of grandson #3! Perhaps he'll change his mind and turn...Praying for a safe delivery.

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    1. It's just another bird :) Thank you, Vee. We're pretty excited for this coming week!

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  11. here is damp and rainy, not too cold, seems like a strange autumn ....I never eaten duck legs but watching you pics seems so tasty .Congratulation for the new baby coming, waiting for some photos...A warm hug

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    1. We had that same weather last month but now it is really cold finally. Thanks so much for your wishes, Dear Chiara xo

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  12. Hi Susan, my husband would go crazy for this dish, I have never prepared duck before too intimadated I guess. Looks amazing!

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    1. I think finding the duck legs is the hardest part of making this dish. Thank you, Cheri!

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  13. First of all, a big congratulations on the birth of your grandchild! That's always so exciting! The weather has been very grey and cold here in the South too, so like you, my mind seems to be focusing on comfort foods and those tried and true recipes. I've never prepared duck, but I can say that this looks absolutely mouthwatering! So does your soup!!!!

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  14. Oh congratulations Nana! I have two new granddaughters coming this year so along with my grandson that makes three too :) These duck legs look perfectly cooked! I am ready for salads but want the fresh spring produce first :) Can't wait for fruits too. Thinking of you and your daughter this week - blessings to your whole family!

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    1. An exciting year for both of us :) The bitter cold has finally settled in here in January and tomorrow looks positively brutal. Hope we warm up again soon. Thank you, Tricia!

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  15. Congratulations to you and yours on the birth the new grandchild. How exciting! Wait til he finds out his grandmother is a master cook. Duck- oh my word- you're talented!

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  16. Congratulations on you third grandson Susan...indeed very exciting news!
    Although I have never cooked duck, seeing this recipe make me want to try...beautifully seared and packed with flavors...
    Have a lovely weekend :)

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    1. Thank you, Juliana! I've always enjoyed duck and it's a special treat for us. Have a great weekend too!

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  17. I happen to have a husband who LOVES duck... I need to make this for him!

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    1. There is nothing better than braised or confit duck leg. He would love it, Sue! Thanks so much!

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  19. Happy New Year, Susan! And CONGRATULATIONS on your upcoming new arrival!!!So happy for you and your family... Best wishes! He's going to be have a beautiful Nana :) Sending you big hugs xo Oh...and that braised duck looks incredibly delicious!

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    1. Thank you very much, Aldy! I had to smile at your daughter playing with the keyboard :) So cute!

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  20. Sorry ...baby girl trying to play with the computer here and deleted my comment :)

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  21. Those are the chubbiest duck legs I've ever seen! What a fabulous photo, Susan. Making my mouth water.
    And your soup reminds me of MY mothers, although she used regular dumplings, not potato. It was a favorite of mine and I still make it for myself, especially when I have a cold!

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    1. We have a store within a 10 minute drive that specializing in poultry and have their own poultry farm but the duck they sell is Maple Leaf brand. They are chubby :) Thank you, Barbara!

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  22. Two beautiful dishes. I know what you mean about tried and true dishes this time of year. Hopefully your new Grandson has arrived by now. What a wonderful joy new babies bring.

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    1. Thank you, Penny! He is scheduled to greet the world on Monday :)

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  23. Both dishes look marvelous Susan and photos beautiful. I've never had duck legs, only breast. And wine braised? Sounds like something that needs to be on our dinner table soon.

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  24. We usually tend to have duck in curried form. This looks so delicious!I'd love to try it your way. Lovely soup and cyclamen. I also like the crossword puzzle container.:) Congrats on the imminent new arrival and being Nana for the third time. Your photos are a delight to see.

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    1. The curried form of duck must be delicious also. Thank you, Kanak!

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  25. Hi Susan - Looks like we are starting the new year off the same way. My sixth grandchild, a boy, will arrive any day now and its hard to think of anything else right now. I'm so excited for this little guy's arrival. Nothing beats some good comfort food on a cold winter day, but this duck legs look absolutely delicious. I don't think I've ever seen them in the market. I'll have to look more carefully. Congrats about your new little grandson.

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    1. Congratulations, Cathy! What a great January we're having. A Happy Birthday to you too :)

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  26. Hope all goes well with the new baby, Susan! Lucky you with #3! How exciting! Those duck legs look delicious and Bill would love that now in this cold weather. Take care and good luck to the mom-to-be.

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  27. Yesterday was snowing here too so I totally understand your need for comfort food. Congratulations on your third grandchild and I hope everything will go smoothly for your daughter!

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    1. She and the baby are doing well! Thank you, Katerina!

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  28. I've never had duck, it looks delicious. And you can never go wrong with soup in my book (definitely with dumplings).
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. It is delicious, Amalia. Similar to goose, I presume. Thank you!

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  29. Oh I love duck and yours sounds quite delicious. By now your grandson must have made his entrance into the world…congratulations to you all.

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  30. Hi! just found your blog and going to leave it pretty hungry, lol. So many delicious recipes and displayed so nicely. Congratulations on expecting your newest grand child, what a blessing! Have a great weekend.

    Blessings,
    Jill

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  31. The duck legs looks scrumptious! I'm wishing that plate in on my table.
    And the soup looks comforting and delicious!
    I guess by now you are a nana once again!
    Congratulations to your family!

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    1. Yes, our grandson has arrived and he and his mother are doing well. Thank you, Joyce!

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