Slow Roasted Duck Legs

This is definitely one of my favourite meals to cook.  The downside is it takes a lot of time, and it can be hard to get individual duck legs.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves, crumbled
  • 4 duck legs (drumstick+thigh) (1 leg per serving)

Steps

  1. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf pieces.  You can even use a mortar and pestle if you want a finer rub.
  2. Place the duck legs in a baking dish in a single layer. Rub the salt / herb mixture over the legs on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 165ºC (325ºF).
  4. Remove duck legs from dish and rinse off salt rub and herbs. Pat the legs completely dry with paper towels.
  5. Place a large cast-iron frypan (which can go in the oven) on medium high heat and add duck legs in a single layer, initially skin side down, and then half-way through, turning them over to finish with skin side up (add a small amount of oil / fat to prevent skin from sticking. Don’t need much as legs almost immediately begin to render fat). Cook the legs until the fat begins to render and collect in the pan, and the skin has browned, about 10 minutes.
  6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Ideally you want the foil to not touch the legs too much as it can stick during cooking.
  7. Cook for 2 hours. Remove the foil (carefully, in case it has stuck), leaving the legs skin side up, and return to the oven and roast for an additional 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven, and remove the legs to a large plate. Drain the fat out of the pan into a heatproof bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan. Return the legs to the roasting pan, again skin side up. Return the pan to the oven for a last 30 minutes of roasting to crisp the skin.

Serving suggestion

Roast some potatoes at the same time, so that they will be cooked when the duck still has 30 minutes left. At the last step, once you have drained off most of the fat, you can slice the potatoes and fry them in the duck fat.

When the legs are cooked, remove them from the pan and put them on a plate in the oven to keep them warm, while you make a gravy by deglazing the pan with some water and adding flour and seasoning.

Serve with seasonal vegetables.