It is duck weather, so we might as well just get on with it.
Not weather for ducks, where it is so wet, ducks will love it. But weather for eating ducks, when the richness of the flesh and creamy duck fat is so appropriate, I can’t quite think of eating anything else.
Today at least. I may change my mind tomorrow.
I love roasting duck legs, I’ve blogged about them before and they’ve featured in my book Comfort & Spice too. They are cheap, full of flavour, and perfect for cooking for large numbers. On this occasion I cooked just for myself, and marinaded them in a wet marinade, sacrificing perfectly crisp skin (although still getting some crispness) but being rewarded with intense umami flavour on the already beautifully rich duck.
Before Xmas, I was sent a wonderful Chinese hamper from See Woo to try, and while moving flat I smashed the bottle of oyster sauce. I panicked, ran to the kitchen with this broken bottle looking more weapon than culinary source of joy, and decanted to an old coffee jar. Watching carefully as I poured, I spied no shards of glass in there. Phew, I could use it.
This recipe requires some marinade time, as much as you have really. I marinaded for 4 hours, overnight would be best but if you just have a couple of hours, that is ok too.
I served them with potatoes. I am Irish and a giant cliché in my unending love for spuds and their glorious comfort. They also soak up the rendered duck fat beautifully and crisp while they cook. I also braised some gem lettuce to serve with it, something like pak choi would work beautifully too.
Recipe: Rich Roast Duck Legs (Chinese Style)
Marinade time: overnight if possible, at least 2 hours
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
2 duck legs
4 tbsp oyster sauce
4 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
6 tbsp soy sauce
2 red chillies, chopped
+ 1 tbsp honey for sauce
2 large potatoes, diced
2 baby gem lettuce
fresh coriander leaves
Combine the ingredients for the marinade and rub into the duck legs, massaging the duck leg as you do. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours –> overnight, depending on how much time you have.
Preheat your oven to 200 deg C.
Remove the legs from the marinade, wiping off excess. Save the remaining marinade for the sauce.
Place the duck legs skin side down in a frying pan and cook over a low heat, slowly rendering out the fat and slightly crisping the skin. Turn over and cook the flesh side for a further couple of minutes.
Remove the duck legs from the pan and add the potatoes to the pan. Toss in the rendered duck fat (which will have some marinade in) and place in an oven proof dish that will accommodate the duck legs and potatoes in a single layer.
Roast for 45 minutes, skin side up, moving the potatoes around about half way through so that they crisp all over.
When the duck is almost done, add the honey to the leftover marinade and bring to the boil. Taste and add more honey if appropriate.
Gently braise the gem lettuce in some light oil for a couple of minutes until wilted.
Serve the duck legs on a bed of potatoes and gem lettuce with a sprinkling of coriander leaves and a drizzle of sauce.
Ready to eat! Enjoy.