Monday, February 26, 2007

WFD? Maple-Pepper Glazed Duck Legs

Maple-Pepper Glazed Duck Legs with Smashed Sweet Potato and Braised Bok Choy

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.

Spiced Brine:

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

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and cool until quite cold. Brine is now ready for use.

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.


Anonymous said...

Skinny little quackers indeed!

They were good, but a warning to you all: Too much maple glaze will make your dinner taste like candy! Which is not necessarily a bad thing - but just so you know.

Mandy said...

The colour is stunning with the sweet potato and baby bok choy.

lucy said...

i made this recipe tonight - thought it was delicious. my boyfriend said its the best thing i've made... (that's scary considering how much i cook)! 2 questions:

i didn't have kosher salt, so i used table salt. it still came out very salty, eventhough i only used 1/3 c. is it supposed to be borderline "very salty"?

second, do you do anything with the left over brine? seems a shame to throw it away. i cooked it after marinating the duck legs with some of the duck fat to make a sort of stock, but now after seeing how salty it is, i'm not so sure about reusing it. what do you think?

i appreciate your website. thanks!

Aimée said...

Hi Shen- Thanks for reading! The duck should not be overly salty. It is KEY to rinse the duck well under cold running water after you remove it from the brine. Coarse salt is recommended to table salt, perhaps that is why it was so salty.
There is no use that I know of for the brine. It is not really like a typical marinade (say with olive oil, an acid and flavoring) that can be reduced int a sauce sometimes. No way! It would be pretty gross if you did that.

Happy cooking!

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