Spiced duck legs with pancetta & coriander potatoes

Spiced duck legs

Spiced duck legs

I do like spice, especially when it’s on some crisped skin. Chicken, pork crackling, duck… the fat on skin lends itself wonderfully to spicing, adding some flavour, and, should you choose it, heat, to the crispy skin with the unctous fat underneath. Swoon.

Last night I found myself at a loose end, mentally at least. Nothing agreed with me.

What  to do? Out, in? In, out? I wanted to go out but I didn’t want to leave the house. I was tired but I was restless. I decided to stay in.

I wanted wine, but I didn’t have any. I didn’t want to go out to get any. I had a half bottle of fino. Not quite the sleepy red that I had in mind but I do love fino, so that will do.

What to eat? I had duck legs and pork belly in the fridge. I couldn’t decide and I wanted both. So both it was. Until I realised that it was 10.30pm and the pork belly still wasn’t in the oven, plus the duck leg dinner was shaping up to be a sizable one, so I would stick with that. And it looked good.

Duck legs? Why not duck breast? Duck legs are delicious and saturated with flavour, fat and crispiness. Duck breast is delicious too but it’s more delicate and feels less rustic. I wanted rustic. I wanted bones. I wanted fat, and I wanted flavour. Lots of flavour and lots of crispy skin.

I wanted red wine but I was starting to get over it.

I placed the duck legs in a baking dish about an inch deep, so that I would capture the fat that oozed out of it. I sprinkled a little hot chilli powder over each leg and about twice as much five spice, I would estimate a half teaspoon of five spice and a quarter of the chilli powder. It need some sea salt to round it off and crisp it up. I rubbed it all in with a little groundnut oil, and made sure to wash my hands thoroughly after. That chilli powder can make your hands firey for hours after.

Into the oven, and I went back to watch Medium. I was firmly immersed in a marathon of it. I love that show!

After 20 minutes I parboiled some diced potatoes, skin still on, until soft, then drained them and chopped some pancetta, 2 generous thick slices. The duck by now was looking and smelling good and had released lots of delicious duck fat.

I removed the legs from the baking dish and put them on a tray with the pancetta. The idea here was to crisp the pancetta up to mix in with the potatoes.  I put the potatoes into the dish with the duck fat with some sea salt sand freshly ground black pepper and gave it a good mix. Then left everything for a further 10 minutes or so, when the duck was perfectly crispy and moist underneath, the pancetta crisped and the potatoes had roasted nicely in the duck fat. I added the pancetta to the potatoes and mixed in some chopped fresh coriander, about a tablespoon, and served it up.

It was delicious. So good I had to share. I hadn’t intended on blogging it so there’s no photo of the finished dish unfortunately, I was too keen to eat it and not keen on missing any more Medium. It was my Saturday night after all. Lazy, grazy and lovely! I hope you had a nice one too.



Written by Niamh
Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.