Red Wine-Braised Duck
My friend Vincent Francoual made this duck dish for me years ago in his kitchen. I adapted and changed it a bit, but he reminded me of how simple it is to make a great duck dish with the humble leg. Reminiscent of a coq au vin, this rich, deeply flavorful red wine-braised duck is my kind of comfort food. Even better, it’s elegant enough for a holiday main course.
Beaujolais Nouveau Braised Duck Legs
- 4 duck legs-thigh (dark quarters), well seasoned
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Bouquet garni of bay, rosemary and thyme
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- 1 leek, diced
- 4 cups Beaujolais Nouveau or similar red wine
- 2 cups pearl onions, blanched and peeled
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 2 ounces bacon, cut into small batons
Preheat a rondot or stock pot (at least 12 inches, with lid) over medium heat. Brown the duck legs in the butter on both sides. Remove duck legs and tip away most of the rendered fat, leaving behind a few tablespoons.
Add the carrots, onion, fennel and leek. Stir and cook for several minutes. Add the bouquet garni and wine. Add the duck legs back to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 75 to 80 minutes or so until fork tender. Remove duck legs and reserve, skimming the sauce.
Reduce sauce to desired consistency (should lightly coat a spoon), and return duck to sauce to heat back through.
While sauce is reducing, caramelize the bacon. Tip away any rendered fat. Add the onions and mushrooms, and brown with the crisped bacon.
Serve the duck, the sauce and onion mixture with whipped gold potatoes.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.