Seared Duck Breast and Braised Duck Legs
- 1 duck, 5-6 lbs.
- canola oil
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 sachet – 1 bunch thyme, 1 bunch sage, 5 black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf wrapped in cheese cloth
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch Vidalia onions, quartered
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 blood orange, cut in supremes
Remove the duck from packaging and carefully rinse the body and cavity. Quarter the duck, and let the two breasts and two legs sit in the refrigerator overnight so the skin can dry out. Reserve the duck carcass to make the jus.
For the Jus (optional): Heat up canola oil in a stockpot. Brown all sides of the duck carcass and hold it off to the side. In the hot duck fat that has rendered sweat the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Once the vegetables are opaque, add tomato paste and cook until it turns a deep brick red, 4-5 minutes. Return the duck carcass to the pot and deglaze with red wine. Let the wine boil for one minute (to cook off the alcohol) and then add enough water to cover the duck (about 1 quart). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the sachet of herbs and continue to simmer for two hours, skimming the fat off of the top every twenty minutes.
For the Duck: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring the duck quarters to room temperature, remove excess fat, and prick the skin all over with a fork before you begin cooking. Season both breasts and legs with salt and pepper. Heat canola oil in a pan until it is lightly smoking. Crisp up both legs on all sides and hold them off to the side. In the same pan, sear Vidalia onions until they develop a char, 5-7 minutes. While the onions sear, bring chicken stock to a boil.
Return the duck legs to the pan, skin side up, and carefully add the boiling chicken stock – enough to cover the bottom half of the legs. Place the pan in the oven and allow the legs to braise for two hours or until the legs are tender.
When the legs are almost ready, heat up canola oil in a pan until it is lightly smoking. Carefully place the breasts skin side down in the pan and allow them to brown evenly, about five minutes. Drain the excess fat, flip the breasts over and place the pan in the oven. Check after ten minutes. The USDA recommends duck be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, our chefs recommend removing from the oven at 135 degrees F as the temperature will continue to rise after coming out of the oven. Let the duck rest for 20 min before carving to allow the juices to redistribute. Using a ladle, put a scoop of jus on each plate. Serve the duck with blood orange supremes and braised Vidalia onions.