January 21, 2008

Duck Gigolettes Braised in Red Wine

Lately I've been in an adventurous mood.
If you can call a mood to try new ingredients and recipes, ''adventurous.'' (yes, I lead a quiet life...don't laugh)

When I came across little gigolettes de canard at the market the other day I gave them a good look and thought, what the hell are they, and walked away. About five minutes later I went back, looked again, thought what the hell will I do with them, and bought a half a dozen anyway.

Gigolettes de canard are duck thighs. I'm used to seeing cuisses de canard (duck legs) everywhere and even manchons de canard (drumsticks), but this was my first encounter with gigolettes.

I searched all over for recipes specifically using the gigolettes and found one nice looking recipe, but it looked really heavy with the addition of butter AND oil AND cream on top of the duck fat that I knew would render off these little babies. So I opted for something a bit lighter that I found on good ol' Epicurious. It calls for whole duck legs, but I just cut the recipe in half as the weight of the gigolettes was about 2 pounds. However, I've gone ahead and copied the original recipe.

Red Wine Braised Duck Legs

6 large whole duck legs (about 4 1/2 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
8 fresh thyme sprigs
1 cup mixed dried fruit such as dried sour cherries, chopped dried apricots, chopped pitted prunes, and raisins
5 cups chicken broth

salted and peppered...look at that nice layer of duck fat...a quarter of which ended up all over my hand

Preheat oven to 350°F. and season duck legs with salt and pepper.

In a heavy kettle just large enough to hold legs in one layer, cook legs, skin sides down, over moderately high heat 10 to 15 minutes, or until skin in scrip and mahogany colored, removing fat from kettle as it is rendered with a metal bulb baster (or very carefully tilting the kettle and spooning off). Turn legs over and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes, transferring to a plate.

Pour off fat from kettle and deglaze with wine, scraping up brown bits. Boil wine until reduced to a syrup and add garlic, thyme and 1/2 cup dried fruit. Return duck legs, skin sides up, to kettle and add broth. Bring mixture to a simmer and braise, uncovered, in oven 2 hours, or until legs are very tender. Transfer legs to a platter and keep warm.

Pour braising mixture into a 1-quart measuring cup and let stand until fat rises to the top. Skim off fat and pour liquid through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing hard on solids. Boil liquid until reduced by about one third and slightly thickened and add remaining 1/2 cup dried fruit. Simmer sauce until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.

Serve duck legs with sauce and noodles or roasted and mashed potatoes.

yes, there is a little gigolette there under all that luscious sauce

Make sure the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender, even if it takes more than a couple of hours.
This dish, with that tangy, fruity sauce, was divine! Pin It


Peter M said...

Thighs are the tastiest part of the bird but not as dramtatic esthetically. The recipe sounds good (as does fall off the bones).

Loulou said...

It was a great, slow-cooking, Sunday afternoon kind of dish. I hope you try it and like it as much as we did!

Alison said...


Allan said...

I don't think we cn get duck thighs around here. Breasts and confit for sure, but not thighs.

Which is a shame. I bet it is tasty.

winedeb said...

Hi LouLou! Was over reading Betty's site and saw that lovely tart she made was a recipe of yours! So I thought I would stop by and say Hi! The duck looks delicious and I have just started "getting into" duck. The sauce looks very savory!

Loulou said...

It was!

Just look for whole legs or ask for the shop/butcher to order them for you.
Your site looks oddly familiar... (Ali Thinks - Allan Thinks) Were you two separated at birth? :)

Thanks for saying hi! I've got your site bookmarked and was just looking at it the other day.
Hope you enjoy the duck if you make it and the tart too!

Anonymous said...

This looks yummy. You know what? I've never made duck at home. This migh be my first duck dish! :-)

pearlthegurl said...

Hi Lou Lou,
Met you at the chateau on Friday night and wanted you to know that absolutely none of your desserts went to waste....Sabrina and I cleaned up the last of them over late night wine on Sunday night. I might be going to rent the little cottage next door for the month of March...if so hope we can meet up.....Margaret

Loulou said...

You should try it! You won't be disappointed.

I hope you do so I can meet up with you again! In the meantime, enjoy your travels!
Glad you enjoyed the rest of the desserts. :)

Casey said...

I'm so excited to see this recipe; can't wait to make it. We're lucky that we get great duck in the Bay Area.

Loulou said...

Thanks for commenting. I hope you like the recipe!

Casey said...

I made this Saturday evening and it was absolutely fabulous. I was at my beach house, didn't have any chicken stock and was too lazy to leave the house to go buy any. Following Michael Ruhlman's advice, I used plain old water and the sauce still was deeply flavorful. A truly first-rate recipe.

Loulou said...

I am so pleased that you liked the recipe! Thanks for letting me know.