Do yourself a favor and ask your butcher to supply duck legs. They're a better value than breast or whole duck, and very simple to cook. You can serve one as a first course, or two for an entrée. This recipe can be easily doubled, just use a large roasting pan instead of a skillet to cook the duck after browning.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 duck legs (trimmed)
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 yellow onion (sliced)
- 1 carrot (sliced)
- 1 rib celery (sliced)
- 6 whole garlic cloves (bruised)
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup chicken broth
- For the Apricot Sauce:
- 1 cup apricot preserves
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Season the duck legs on both sides generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet, over medium flame, and place the duck legs in, skin side down. Cook until the duck skin is well browned, about 6-7 minutes. Turn over and brown the meat side for 3 minutes.
3. Remove legs to a plate, pour off the excess fat, and add the vegetables, garlic, and thyme. Arrange the legs over the vegetables, skin side up. Pour in the broth, cover with foil, and place the skillet in the oven.
4. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the meat is almost fork tender. Uncover, and turn the oven up to 425 degrees F. Roast another 20 minutes, or until the duck is tender and the skin is crisp. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving topped with the apricot sauce.
5. For the Apricot Sauce: Add the preserves, rice vinegar, and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring, over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the thyme, black pepper, and salt to taste.
Serve warm or room temperature.