EATS: Duck legs with potatoes and brussels sprouts

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April 26, 2013 by annmquintero

Tired of chicken? Yeah, me too. But it’s so easy! Sometimes ease makes it hard to break out of a rut… until you discover something possibly easier and so very delicious. There is so little work involved in this, I’m almost embarrassed to share it with you. And number of ingredients? Psh.

Why do ducks float? Same reason they’re so darn tasty! They’re full of fat! If you haven’t invested in rendered duck fat for your kitchen already, I highly recommend you do. It’s one of the best fats for cooking, especially if you’re going paleo. It has a high smoke point (meaning you probably won’t set off any alarms), tremendous flavor, and a little goes a long way. It also makes it damn near impossible to overcook duck legs with the skin on. And you don’t have to use any other fat for your veggies. The fat that renders from your duck with be more than enough to take care of anything you want to roast with it.

Let’s talk about potatoes for a minute. In this recipe, I’m using baby red, white, and blues. Normally I would encourage you to swap in sweet potatoes without much concern, but because of how long they’ll be in the oven, you run a very high chance of super over-doing sweet potatoes. They’ll likely end up charred beyond tasty. I promise to do more research on this and find you a paleo-friendly substitute. OR you can be my brilliant research team and tell ME what works!

 

What you’ll need:

Large oven safe skillet -or- skillet and roasting pan

Tongs

Slotted spoon

 

Duck legs, 2-4, with skin

Baby potatoes

Brussels sprouts

Fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400F

IMG_0383Once your pan is good and hot on medium high heat, drop the legs in, skin side down. Season with salt and pepper. While they’re sizzling away, getting brown and crisp, rinse your potatoes and dry. Once the skin has a nice brown on it, flip and season the skin side. Remove from heat.

IMG_0384The legs should have released enough fat by this point to get a decent coat on the potatoes, so remove the legs to a plate or your roasting pan and toss the potatoes in the fat and season with salt and pepper. Then either return the legs to the skillet or place the potatoes around the legs in the pan. Top with intact fresh thyme sprigs and pop into the oven.

The total cook time will be about 90 minutes, so this isn’t a short recipe, but it’s certainly easy. You can go catch up on The Voice while it’s working, checking up and stirring up the potatoes during commercial breaks. About 50 minutes in, add your brussels sprouts (loose leaves and dried stem removed) and toss to coat with duck fat. Keep checking in every 15 minutes or so to agitate your veggies. When you take it out, hit your veggies with an extra sprinkle of salt.

IMG_0389

There’s a lot of wiggle room with this cook time. You can leave it in up to 2 hours in a pinch. You can also just turn the oven down to warm and hold it there for a good while. Perfect for those dinner parties or cohabitants whose timing varies.

Wish me luck, Amazons! We’re opening Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) with Boston Lyric Opera tonight! Cheers!

(If this is your first time reading EATS, I encourage you to check out the Introductions post for my philosophy and list of must-have kitchen items.)

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