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How to Cook Duck Legs


How to Cook...

Duck Legs
For More Information or Ideas
Many food writers have brilliant ways to cook and serve duck. Look out for Ray McVinnie, Fiona Smith and Kate Fay’s Cibo Cookbook, where she features an entire duck section. www.foodlovers.co.nz is also a wealth of information!

If you search "confit duck legs" on the internet, you are also offered a plethora of information and recipes using duck confit.

Roasting Duck Legs
If you didn’t want to confit duck legs, they can also be slow roasted, skin side down on an oven rack, for about 1½ to 2½ hours, turning about ½ hour before the end of cooking.

Once again, remove the legs from the oven and rest for 10 minutes. The skin should be already crispy from the roasting, or you can crisp up the skin, before serving.
How to Cook Duck Legs - Confit

Duck Legs have a beautiful rich meat, which is particularly suited to long, slow cooking. Due to their physiology, Duck Legs always come with the drumstick and thigh together. This is different to a chicken, which mainly comes separated between the drumstick & thigh portion. You can remove the thigh bone, for a more convenient serving dish, but a lot of restaurants simply serve with both thigh & drumstick bones intact. Ducks are a waterfowl and have a layer of fat under their skin to keep them warm and waterproof - this is why the skin of a duck is so thick and why so much fat will render during cooking.

Where Will I Find Saveur Duck Legs?

  • Selected supermarkets sell Fresh Saveur Duck Legs. Some specialist butcher and gourmet food stores also sell Frozen Gameford Duck Legs. As the Gameford Duck Legs are frozen on the day of production, there is no quality difference between fresh & frozen. Simply choose the format that suits your storage requirements.

How Many Duck Legs will I require?
  • Generally 1 leg per person is sufficient. If you have particularly hearty eaters, then 2 legs per person will be ample. It is often a good idea to remove the thigh bone, before cooking, to allow for a more meaty appearance, or to stuff the leg before cooking.

Preparation
  • Always thaw your duck legs before cooking.
  • Smooth the duck legs out and remove any excess fat around the edges.
  • If desired, remove the thigh bone at this time.
  • Score the skin all over - this will allow the fat layer under the skin to render, during cooking. Be sure to score the skin around the hock of the drumstick. This will expose the bone during cooking, giving the leg a smart appearance when plated. Some chefs actually remove the tip of the drumstick, for a very dramatic effect .
  • Season with salt & pepper, or your favourite rub. You can leave the duck legs salted overnight, if you so wish.

Cooking Whole Saveur Duck

Cooking Duck Legs - Confit Duck Legs
  • To 'confit', simply means to 'cook (and preserve) in their own fat'. This is the traditional method of cooking duck legs, but is by no means a particularly fatty way to cook duck legs - believe it or not!
  • Preheat oven to 150°C or 160°C.
  • To confit the duck legs, take your salted duck legs and remove any excess salt. Place them in a shallow, but snug fitting oven tray. Pour over clarified duck fat. Clarified duck fat can be purchased from selected stores, or you can have stored it from previous duck dishes you have prepared.
  • Place the oven tray in the oven and cook for 1½ to 2½ hours at a very low temperature. The duck fat on the scored duck legs will render into the pan also.
  • When the legs are cooked, remove them from the fat and rest them on a wire cooling rack, for at least 10 minutes.
  • The fat in the oven tray can be filtered and stored for future use. Alternatively, you can put the rested and drained duck legs into a clean container and pour over the clarified duck fat. Duck Legs will store in the fridge, in their fat, for some days.

Cooking Whole Saveur Duck

Serving Duck Legs
  • When the duck legs are ready to serve, simply put the duck legs on an oven tray, under a hot grill to crisp up the skin. Depending on how warm they are, when put under the grill, will determine how long they need to be grilled for, before they are warmed through.
  • When the skin has crisped up and the meat thoroughly heated, serve your duck legs immediately. 
  • Duck Legs particularly suit a potato mash, or potato rosti-style dish, with fresh green beans or leafy greens to offset the rich flavour of the meat.
  • If you have stuffed the duck legs, the accompaniments may lend themselves more to steamed green beans and roast vegetables.
  • A fruity jus or glaze would also be recommended to dress the dish, before serving.

Saveur Duck is a trademark of Gameford Lodge 2009 Ltd