Duck legs, have you ever eaten them? When cooked correctly, duck legs offer tender, juicy meat underneath a layer of crisp skin. It’s an experience you must have, one that does not need to be had only on a special occasion.
But since Thanksgiving is around the corner, and that is a special occasion, you have even more of an excuse to enjoy them.
That experience challenged me to not only eat duck more often (it is quite the healthy protein, after all) but to share with my readers and everyone I know that duck is not only delicious but a great protein to enjoy all the time, not just on special occasions.
Okay, let me get back to the point.
If you are eating alone or for a party of two this Thanksgiving, you are probably wondering how small turkeys can get. A 7-pound turkey breast is still wayyyyy too much meat for one or two people unless you are OK with eating left overs for days and days. So, what do you do?
How do roasted maple and mustard duck legs sound? Divine, if you ask me.
Don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on Thanksgiving? This recipe is for you. Not only does it mimic the flavors of what may be a traditional Thanksgiving to you, it can be made in under an hour. I’m serious.
The most crucial step is to sear and render the duck fat in the skillet before the legs and vegetables go in the oven. Potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and celery will cook in the fat produced from the duck legs. It really is that simple.
Maple syrup sweetens the heat from the whole grain beer mustard I used, though you could use any of your favorite whole grain or Dijon mustards – just not yellow mustard. Don’t be tempted to use the glaze at the beginning. Mustard loses its flavor and heat when cooked, so adding it at the end will make the world of difference. Don’t just slather it on the duck, drizzle it over the vegetables to allow the flavors to come through the entire dish.
ROASTED MAPLE & MUSTARD DUCK LEGS WITH VEGETABLES
- 2 duck legs
- Salt and black pepper
- 3 large carrots
- 2 red potatoes
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 celery stalks
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup whole grain beer mustard
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place a large iron skillet on the burner and turn the heat to medium. Pat the duck legs dry with a paper towel and season with salt and black pepper.
- When the skillet is hot, gently place the duck legs skin side down. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until all the fat has rendered, resisting the urge to turn or move them.
- Meanwhile, dice the carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and celery and set aside. Stir the maple syrup and mustard together in a small bowl.
- Once the skin is crispy, flip the duck legs over. Add the vegetables into the skillet around the duck. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and use a cooking brush to add the maple and mustard glaze to the duck legs. Pour some of it over the vegetables and stir to incorporate.
- Add some chopped fresh thyme and place the skillet back in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and serve!