Braised Duck Legs For Idiots

January 24, 2008 | By | COMMENTS

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The dish you see above is a dish from a four-star chef and yet it’s among the easiest you will ever prepare. It comes from Jean-George’s “Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef” which was co-written by Mark Bittman. As many of you know, Mr. Bittman is The Minimalist and it might seem strange, at first, that a man who prides himself on simplicity would co-author a book with a chef renowned for his complexity, innovation and flair. But this recipe proves that two opposing forces, working together, can generate electricity: it’s astonishingly good and amazingly easy. Click ahead and behold the splendor of Jean-George’s Braised Duck and Vegetables with Asian Spices.

This recipe is so simple, I don’t even need to reference the book. Watch:

1. Cut up a carrot, a stalk of celery, an onion and a knob of peeled ginger into tiny pieces and place in a saute pan: [the recipe also calls for chopped lemongrass here, but I couldn't find it--if you have it, use half a stalk, peel it and finely mince];

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2. Don’t mock my dirty stovetop;

3. Drizzle the vegetables with some canola oil (or vegetable oil or any other oil without a strong flavor);

4. Place four duck legs on top;

5. Oh ya, have your oven preheated to 350;

6. Sprinkle the duck legs with kosher salt and then a heavy coat of 5-spice powder;

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7. Pop in the oven and walk away for TWO HOURS;

8. Two hours later take it out and it looks like this:

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9. Let it cool until it’s cool enough to handle;

10. Pull the skin off the duck legs (nibble on it, it’s delicious) and then tear up the meat into small pieces;

11. Pour off the excess fat in the pan and then toss the torn-up duck meat back in with the vegetables;

12. Add chopped scallion, some more fresh chopped ginger and soy sauce. Stir it around and taste it: does it need more salt? More soy sauce? Mine needed a hit of acid, so I used some rice wine vinegar.

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But that’s it! You serve it on top of rice and you won’t believe how good it tastes after such a small amount of work. I still can’t believe it. This is one of those recipes you keep up your sleeve for a cold winter’s night when you have work to do but you want to make something delicious. And you’ve just killed the family duck.

It’s a keeper.

Tags: , ,

Categories: Braises, Recipes

  • http://www.izzyeats.blogspot.com izzy’s mama

    Will definitely add to our “must cook” list. We love duck!

  • http://www.izzyeats.blogspot.com izzy’s mama

    Will definitely add to our “must cook” list. We love duck!

  • http://www.cakespy.com Cakespy

    Oh this one is for me–delicious but a recipe made for idiots :-) This looks gourmet but easy to handle! Thanks!

  • Felix

    Ohh…I gotta try this one. I really love duck and wish it was a food that the average American ate more often.

  • http://hande.wordpress.com/ Hande

    I hope you didn’t throw away that “extra fat”. Rendered duck fat is delicious, try roasting potatoes with it, you will see!

  • zinkfing

    And the family duck had 4 legs.

    Lucky family!

  • zeep

    Did you say add a “hit of acid” at the end? You’re a mad man AG! But props to you my psychedelic soul brother.

  • http://saucepiquantesworld.blogspot.com Sauce Piquante

    This looks incredible and because it’s freezing in Atlanta I think I’ll have to give it a try.

    Because you said so.

  • Andrea

    Adam,

    This is a somewhat random question. I am looking to start up a blog and would love to know which version of typepad you use. Thanks!

    Andrea

  • Gavin

    Looks great. Was any liquid added for the braise, or is that just duck fat?

  • http://www.sugarlaws.com katy

    oh wow, this looks so good and easy! and the two hour cook time would be so great if you’re having a dinner party and wanted to get things done in advance! i love duck, too — this is definitely going on my list!

  • bcarter3

    Can anyone recommend a source of duck legs in the Washington, DC area? My on-line search hasn’t found one.

  • http://basilqueen.blogspot.com Adele

    This looks fantastic. I might try it this weekend if I can find a source for duck legs in Boston.

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    You say easy but I’m sure I’d manage to screw that up.

  • http://sidewalkshoes.blogspot.com/ pam

    That looks really good! I’ve bookmarked it even though I doubt I’ll be able to find duck legs here.

  • http://laocfood.blogspot.com/ Traci

    Man-o-man…. do I love duck legs! Looking at this makes my mouth water.

  • Phil

    Sounds convincing!

    Next time you need a bit of acidity try lime or lemon juice – its much better then rice vinegar!

  • chiff0nade

    As I have stated many times, I cannot stand duck. In any form.

  • Carmen

    bcarter3, I found duck legs this morning at my neighborhood Giant. I went to Whole Foods too and they didn’t have them there – though I read somewhere that some locations do have them. I found them at Giant by the organic/kosher poultry section – super cheap too!

    I bought duck legs today and can’t wait to try this recipe tonight – thanks for sharing, Adam!

  • misterybus

    Try your local “chinatown,” Adele. If there isn’t a butcher shop on one of the side streets I’d be very surprised. Sorry, bcarter3, I’ve never wandered around W.D.C. – too many politicians. They are a scary lot! Maybe someone out there in AG-fan-land who doesn’t like duck, knows of an online site that can help. Come on folks, give it up for duck lovers everywhere!

  • http://www.amateurgourmet.com Adam

    Perhaps it’d help if I told you I got my duck legs right from my local Key Foods which carries D’Artagnan products? Maybe use the D’Artagnan website and see if D’Artagnan products are sold in your area. Good lucK!

  • Carmen

    So I did make this last night and it was delicious! And so very easy. Thanks!

  • Laura

    Can anyone tell me where to get duck legs in Brooklyn? Is this the Key Foods in Park Slope on 7th Ave.? THanks!

  • max

    5th Ave Key Food has dartagnan duck legs.

  • cybercita

    bcarter3,

    you’ll probably find duck legs at wegman’s.

    great recipe, i’ll have to try it!

  • http://immaeatchu.wordpress.com susan

    hi adam, this book has been on my amazon wish list, along with all the other gazillion books. seeing your post i’ll have to move it forward. i haven’t made duck with asian flavors yet. this sounds good!

  • http://www.chlmedical.com Rae

    What is in 5 spice powder?

  • http://toomanycookbooksofe.blogspot.com/ ErikaK

    FYI to all, I made this with chicken leg quarters and it was fabulous. I am sure duck would have been better but I didn’t go to the right market.

  • tay beng lian

    Thanks for sharing the pics and recipe. Just tried it…Absolutely yummy…the lemongrass’s a must…livens and lightens up the dish.Whole house smells so great, with this cold rainy spring weather.

  • Jack

    Mine needed a bit of acid too so I sprinkled it with some LSD I had left over from 1969. You should see your dish under a blacklignt. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Edana Laine

    I followed the directions explicitly. But the veggies got burned. The duck a little dry. I think it should either covered for part of the time, cooked at a lower heat, or for shorter time. The 5-spice powder was a great touch!
    sisu

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a huge fan of 5-spice. Can you think of any other seasonings that would be good for this technique?

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    I’m thinking something with cinnamon? Maybe a Moroccan spice mix? Anything will work, though, it depends on what you like!