Crisp-Braised Duck Legs with Aromatic Vegetables

duck legs

This is a sure-fire way to make duck with lean, crisp skin.

duck legs

This is a sure-fire way to make duck with lean, crisp skin.

Makes 4 servings
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4 duck legs

1 large onion

½ pound carrots

3 medium parsnips

5 or 6 cloves garlic

6 to 8 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 cups chicken stock

Preheat oven to 400° F. In an oven-proof skillet large enough to hold all ingredients, place, skin-side down,

  • 4 duck legs, trimmed of excess fat

Using a 12-inch, oven-safe frying pan, brown legs evenly and carefully over medium heat, sprinkling with salt and pepper as they cook. When skin is browned, turn legs over and sear for a minute or two. Remove to a plate. Remove most fat from the pan. Add

  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • ½ pound carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 5 or 6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 6 or 8 sprigs fresh thyme

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

  • 2 cups chicken stock

It should only come halfway up the duck legs. Turn heat to high, bring to boil and transfer to oven. Cook for 30 minutes, then lower heat to 350° F. Continue to cook, undisturbed, until duck is ATTNtender and liquid is reduced, at least another half hour. The duck is done when a thin-bladed knife pierces the meat with little resistance. When done, duck will hold nicely in a warm oven for another hour. Serve hot, removing the garlic cloves before serving.

Adjust the vegetables and herbs in this recipe, liberally. Leeks are especially good instead of onions. The recipe is very flexible. The only pitfall is if you impatient, the duck may come out tough.

Adapted from Mark Bittman in The New York Times