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
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