These duck legs were fabulous after I brined them for several hours, then roasted and glazed them with a sweet peppery maple glaze.
Brining is an excellent way to add flavour and tenderness to meat that tend to be on the tough side. It’s nothing complicated; it merely involves soaking the meat in a salt-sugar solution for several hours prior to cooking, resulting in a piece of meat that will retain more moisture during the cooking process, thus making for a juicier dish!
Flavors may be added to the brine as the cook wishes, such as spices, beers, apple cider, juniper berries and maple, further infusing the meat with goodness!
I've only just started experimenting with brines, but we loved these duck legs the other night so much, I am passing along my recipes.
Roasted Duck Legs with Maple-Black Pepper Glaze
4 duck legs, trimmed of excess fat, washed and patted dry.
1 recipe Spiced Brine
Maple and Black Pepper Glaze (recipes follow)
Place duck legs in a water tight container (or hefty Ziplock bag) and pour enough brine over to cover. Seal container and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Remove legs from brine, rinse under cold running water and pat dry.
Place in a small roasting pan and roast for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and glaze with maple glaze. Return to oven and cook another 10 minutes or so, until glaze is bubbly and golden.
Remove from oven and allow to rest a few minutes before serving.
Note: Roasting time will vary depending on size of duck legs. Mine were skinny little quackers.
4 cups water
½ cup kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
1 star anise
5 whole cloves
Maple and Black Pepper Glaze
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon freshly crushed black pepper
Combine ingredients in a small heavy sauce pot and bring to a boil. Be careful! Do NOT walk away, as this molten mixture loves to boil over onto your stove, making for a big clean-up! Reduce heat and simmer on low until mixture is reduced by about 2/3’s.Cool. Set aside for glazing duck legs.