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.
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 LegsPrintable 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.
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.