Slow-Roasted Duck Legs with Citrus Aigre-Doux

Yield Serves 4
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 4 Pekin Duck Legs
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon quatre épices
  • ⅔ cup Duck and Veal Demi-Glace
  • Zest of an orange
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Recipe notes
This roasting method is adapted from a recipe by our good friend, Hank Shaw. We added a simple orange sweet-and-sour sauce to complement the succulent, tender flesh and crispy skin.
RECIPE Preparation
  1. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, prick the fat all over each of the duck legs being careful not to prick into the meat. Season the duck legs with salt and place them skin-side up in a snug-fitting casserole dish. Let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour. Season the duck all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Put the casserole dish into a cold oven and turn the temperature to 275 degrees F. Cook for about 2½ hours then remove from the oven to check the duck. The leg meat should be very tender, a good amount of fat will have rendered, and the skin should be starting to slightly crisp. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and preheat for about 10 minutes. Return the duck to the oven and cook until the skin is crispy and deeply golden, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the duck legs to a serving platter and rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a medium skillet over medium heat add about 1 tablespoon of the rendered duck fat. Stir in the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted and starts to form a caramel. In a measuring cup with a pour spout, whisk together vinegar, quatre-épices, and demi-glace. Carefully stir mixture into the caramel. Raise heat to medium-high and cook until mixture is reduced by half, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in orange zest and orange juice. Continue to cook until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper if needed.
  5. Spoon sauce over duck legs – or serve on the side.

Recipe Tips: Don’t forget to save the rendered duck fat. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, or in the freezer for up to a year.