I really enjoy Duck but I often forgot to make it. That's probably because I never had it much as a child, except when we had Peking Duck at a Chinese banquet and then it was more about the crispy skin than the meat. Later, I developed a real love for Roast Duck that I would buy at the Chinese Deli and would save the bones to make Thai Duck Noodle Soup. And although Duck was still a little harder to find, I started eating it more and usually bought at my local Asian Market. Lately I've been eating it a lot because I've been ordering it and having it delivered.
First I started buying Duck Breasts and pan searing them to render the fat and then finishing them in the oven, much like Steak. But last night, I decided to make Oven Roasted Duck Legs because I wanted to replicate Duck Confit for a salad. For those of you who've never made Duck Confit, it is Duck Legs (which also includes the Thigh) cooked in Duck Fat. I didn't have any Duck Fat, so I slow Roasted the Duck instead and the accumulated fat and juices basted the Duck Legs. It turned out so well. What I like about this recipe is that like Duck Breasts, you do start them in a frying pan to get the skin browned and then put the Duck Legs in a baking dish, pour in the rendered fat, cover them with foil and cook for 1-1/2 hours. Then you take off the foil and cook them for another 30 minutes until they've crisped up. You can use any number of herbs and spices along with some Salt. I went for the simplest Chinese version, which was just Salt mixed with a little Five Spice Powder. I ate one leg last night with some Chinese Plum Sauce, some Rice and a Cucumber Salad and I was very happy! I used some of the leftover Duck in a Salad today and I'll make some soup tomorrow using the bones as a base for the broth. Duck is delicious!
Oven Roasted Duck Legs
4 Duck Legs
1 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
Heat the oven to 325 degrees
Mix together the Salt and Five Spice Powder in a little bowl.
Season each Duck Leg all over with 1/4 teaspoon of the Seasoning. Place each Duck Leg skin side down in a frying pan big enough to hold all 4 or cook them in two batches. Heat the pan to medium high for 7 - 8 minutes to render some fat and brown the skin, turn over and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Put the Duck Legs skin side up in a glass baking dish with enough room for them all to fit. Pour in the accumulated fat and cover with a piece of foil. Cook for 1-1/2 hours. Take them out of the oven, remove the foil and put back in for an additional 30 minutes. If you want the skin to be even crisper, you can turn the oven on to broil after you've drained off al the fat and juices. But only leave the Duck Legs under the broiler for a minute or two and be careful not to burn them. Serve with the sauce of your choice.
Five Element Analysis
Duck is considered a Water Element food and is used as a Yin tonic in Chinese Dietary Therapy. The Five Spice Powder brings in just a hint of the Metal Element, so build your meal around this very Watery food.