Vanilla & orange slow roasted duck legs
Several months ago I bought a whole duck. Up until this point I had never cooked duck so it was with trepidation that I finally pulled it out of the freezer and set about cooking it for dinner one Sunday afternoon. I cooked it in a low oven over a period of 5 hours and it was delicious – beautifully tender meat and golden, crispy skin. It was so good in fact that it inspired the recipe that follows. Seeing as it is a Christmas recipe, I wanted to give the duck warm, spicy flavours so paired orange with cinnamon and vanilla. To accompany the duck I found inspiration from the recently published Noma cookbook and made a quick salad of carrot ribbons and thyme flowers on top of which I sat the duck. What is great about this recipe is that it is very easy to prepare and will be sure to impress your guests.
- 4 duck legs, skin on but trimmed of any excess fat
- 2 oranges, juiced
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 10 peppercorns
- Pan juices
- 2 oranges, juiced
- 4 carrots, peeled
- 1 orange, juiced
- 2 tsp thyme flowers (you can substitute these for leaves if you can't get flowers)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1. Marinate the duck legs in the orange juice, cinnamon, vanilla and peppercorns overnight. Keep the orange halves and add these too.
- 2. Preheat your oven to 150°C. Using a sharp knife pierce the duck skin all over, then place legs skin-side down on a wire rack. Place half a cinnamon stick, a few peppercorns and an orange half onto each duck leg. Reserve the liquid for basting.
- 3. Place the wire rack in the oven (near the top element) and place a baking tray underneath to collect the fat that pours out in surprising volumes! Cook for 2 hours, basting (spooning the liquid over the legs) every half hour or so.
- 4. In the last half hour of cooking, turn the legs over so that the skin can crisp up and turn golden.
- 1. Tip the fat out of the baking tray and add to this the juice of 2 oranges, season with salt and pepper.
- 2. Place on the stove top and heat through until a dark jus forms.
- 1. Using a good, sharp peeler, run the length of the carrots, creating long ribbon-like strips. You could do this using a mandolin should you have one.
- 2. Mix together the orange juice, oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper and pour over the carrots. Leave in the fridge for half an hour to marinate.
- 3. Remove carrot from the fridge and mix through the thyme flowers.
- To Assemble
- 1. Divide the salad between 4 plates, place a duck leg on each and pour over the jus.