BRAISED DUCK LEGS
8 duck legs
12 sprigs of thyme, chopped
8 bay leaves, torn
1 tbsp of salt
3 strips of orange peel
1 cup white wine (Chablis)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup green olives (Sicilian), drained
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarter sections
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into batons
2 stalks of celery, cut into 2cm segments
1.2L chicken stock
1 large bunch of Swiss chard or Cavolo Nero
4 medium onions, finely sliced
1 bulb of garlic, peeled
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of curly-leaf parsley
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1 clove of garlic, peeled
white pepper, ground
1 Place duck legs in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, thyme, bay leaves and orange peel, allow 2-3 hours to lightly cure. Pat dry with paper towel before cooking.
2 Heat a large skillet over moderate heat with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the duck legs (skin side down) and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden, turn and repeat with flesh side. Once all legs are browned, set aside.
3 Heat a large oven-proof pot over moderate heat, add in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add in the onions, carrots and celery and cook for a few moments, then lay the duck legs over top.
4 Pour in the Chablis followed by the chicken stock and green olives. Cover with baking paper and place into the oven set at 160˚C for an hour.
5 After this time, add the chard and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes or until duck legs are tender (see note). Remove from heat and allow to cool.
6 Prepare the sauce soubise by placing onions, garlic and olive oil into a saucepan over moderate to low heat, cover with a lid and cook till translucent. Stir every now and then being mindful not to walk away allowing to catch and burn. Once soft, place into a food processor and purée till smooth.
1 Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil along with garlic.
2 Plunge parsley into a sink of cold water several times to release any dust and grit, drain well and then pat dry with a dry towel. Pluck the leaves from each bunch of parsley, discarding stalks.
3 Drop parsley into boiling water and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes, or until parsley breaks down between fingers, but still green.
4 Quickly strain discarding the clove of garlic, squeezing out most of the water, reserving a little to potentially add back to the purée.
5 Place greens into a blender, whilst still hot and purée, add in the butter along with a small splash of reserved parsley boiling liquor, purée till smooth.
6 Season with a little salt, white pepper and a hint of nutmeg.
Serve duck legs over a pool of soubise topped with braising liquid and vegetables, and parsley purée on the side.
NOTE To test for tenderness, pierce legs with a skewer or small knife. You should be able to push it in and pull it out with very little to no resistance.
As duck legs are delicate, while holding their own distinctive flavour, you don’t want to overwhelm them with a bold wine. Enter Chablis. The density and ripeness of the vintage can clearly be felt in the 2019 Domaine des Hates Pierrick Laroche Chablis, but it still strikes the perfect balance, offering vibrant notes of lemon zest and yellow peach alongside a juicy freshness that complements the parsley purée while preserving the meat’s subtle flavours.