Braised duck legs with parsnip puree — crispy skin, tender duck
When home chefs are cooking up their waterfowl, duck breasts tend to get all the attention. But make no mistake — with the right know-how and a delicious recipe, you’ll love eating duck legs just as much.
Duck leg recipes should take one important factor into consideration: Duck legs are muscles that get more use during the animal’s lifetime, so they need more time to cook until they’re tender.
That’s why I’m a big fan of braising your duck legs. Braising is a two-step process that includes searing the outside of the meat at high temperatures first, then cooking it with a liquid. For this braised duck leg recipe, we’ll be pan-searing the legs, then moving them into the oven to cook with parsnips, onions and duck stock. When you plate up, you’ll have crispy, crackling skin and moist, tender duck meat on the inside.
Those onions and parsnips won’t go to waste. They’ll get great flavor from cooking with the duck legs. When you pull the onions and parsnips out of the oven, you’ll give them a quick spin in a blender to create a puree for topping your duck legs.
If you’re looking for the perfect drink to pair with your duck legs, try my whiskey sour recipe. The lemon zest in this bright cocktail is amazing. It’s not as strong as a Manhattan but still brings in the warmth of whiskey. For this pairing, I recommend using a bourbon like Elijah Craig Small Batch, Four Roses or Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack. Tag @SlayerDuckCalls in photos of your duck leg dinner on Instagram, or share your experience cooking up this recipe directly with the Slayer team.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours
Ingredients for braised duck legs with parsnip puree
- 4 duck legs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 tablespoons duck fat or high smoke point cooking fat (like clarified butter or ghee)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
- About 5-6 large parsnips, peeled and diced
- 1 large (or 2 small) onion, diced
- 1 cup duck or chicken stock
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
How to make braised duck legs with parsnip puree
- About 30 minutes prior to cooking, set the duck legs on a paper towel-lined cutting board. This will help them come to room temperature and start to dry the skin. Remove any hanging excess skin and set it aside to render out for duck fat later.
- When you’re ready to cook, thoroughly pat the legs dry and salt them with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Heat a large oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the duck or cooking fat of choice.
- When the fat is hot, lay the legs in the pan skin-side down. Cook until the skin is nice and deep golden brown (but not burnt), about 8-10 minutes, checking frequently.
- When the legs are seared golden brown, remove them from the pan and set them aside on a plate. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper over the legs.
- Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan, then add in the parsnips and onions. Move them around in the pan so they cook a bit and get some color, for about 5 minutes.
- Then, add the stock, lemon zest, thyme, remaining salt and remaining pepper to the pan. Mix well and remove from the heat.
- Lay the duck legs over the top of the parsnips and onions. You don’t want the skin touching the liquid stock.
- Slide the whole pan, uncovered, into the oven at 400°F. Bake for about 30 minutes. Drop the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes, until the parsnips are soft and the legs are tender.
- When finished baking, remove the duck from the pan and set it on a plate or serving platter.
- Using a slotted spoon, so you don’t get too much juice, scoop the parsnips and onions into a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. If the puree is too thick, add some of the pan sauce.
- To serve, spoon some parsnip puree onto a plate and top it with a duck leg. Pour over some of the pan sauce and enjoy! Best served hot, soon after finished cooking.
Allie Doran is an author, TV personality, wild game recipe developer and photographer residing in Pottsville, PA. She is the creator and creative director behind the popular food blog Miss Allie’s Kitchen, which focuses on publishing updated comfort food recipes and inspiring others to live joyful and healthy outdoor lifestyles. She is the proud wife of an avid outdoorsman and embraces her role as “mom” with the utmost gratitude & enthusiasm. When she isn’t playing outside with her daughter & black lab, hiking with the whole family, or creating new recipes, you can find her enjoying a glass of wine on the patio.