Three months ago, I read a recipe on The Amateur Gourmet that I wanted to try. It was called Braised Duck Legs for Idiots and I thought, hey, I could make that. I went to Whole Foods to get duck legs and found that they didn't have any. So I went to a butcher shop in Astoria. They didn't have any either. I went home, called a butcher shop, verified that they had some, went there, and they didn't have any. It got pretty frustrating. I posted a query online, asking where a New Yorker could find duck legs for sale or trade and finally ascertained that the Fairway on the Upper West Side was the place. I've always found the Fairway to be overly crowded and kind of overwhelming, so I avoided it for quite some time. But, yesterday I was on my way to Zabar's anyways, and I walked right by it. So, I turned around and went back in.
I was not convinced that the Fairway really had duck legs - after all, I'd been misled before, but I asked the butcher and he pointed to the wall, next to the turkey necks and chicken gizzards, and there they were.
I brought them home and finally got to try this recipe. Here it is:
Braised Duck Legs for Idiots, adapted from The Amateur Gourmet (You're welcome to click the link above and use that recipe as well - but I'm writing it out in case you don't want to)
4 duck legs
1 knob of ginger
1 stalk celery
canola oil (or some other light flavored oil - not olive)
scallions - I used three
Chinese 5 spice powder
cooked rice (to serve with the meal)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Chop up your onion, celery, carrot and ginger (peel the ginger first, otherwise it will be gross).
3. Put the duck legs on top and sprinkle with salt and Chinese Five Spice powder.
4. Put in the oven for two hours (or so the recipe says).
Interjection - I checked the food at and hour and forty five minutes and the duck legs were done - here they are:
- but the veggies were burning! I felt pretty annoyed. I've been waiting to make this recipe for months! Argh! I considered throwing them out, but they still tasted kinda good and crispy, so I left them. Looking back, I think I just needed more of them. My onion was kind of small, so maybe that had something to do with it. Anyhow, here they are:
(I might not have been so mad if I haven't been trying to do my taxes all day with varying degrees of success. That probably added to it - but back to the recipe)
5. (Oh! And then pour off the excess fat from the pan. There's gonna be a LOT of fat and that's bad. I forgot that part and I went back and added it just for you.) Pull the skin off the duck legs. Here's my naked duck legs:
Now here's the skin I pulled off (minus the bits that Miriam ate):
You probably should just throw this away. I'm not sure why I took a picture of it.
6. Shred the meat from the bones, put it back in the pot with the veggies, throw in some chopped scallions (I used the white part and a bit of the green part too for color), then add some soy sauce until it tastes good to you (I used tamari, which is kind of aged soy sauce - I didn't have the regular kind).
7. Put it in a bowl over some cooked rice (I made brown, because it's healthy) and serve.
It tasted really good even with the burned veggies. Miriam says they weren't burned, they were deep fried. And delicious. So that's good enough for me.