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Duck with Red Wine Sauce

Duck legs that are slowly cooked in their own fat until tender are one of southwestern France’s great contributions to the culinary world. Paired with potatoes, this is bistro fare at its easiest.

Ingredients:

  • Coarse salt, to taste 
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb. thin-skinned potatoes  
  • 1/4 cup duck fat or vegetable oil  
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste 
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley  
  •   

For the red wine sauce: 

  • 10 fresh herb sprigs, such as rosemary, thyme or oregano  
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon  
  • 1/4 cup veal or poultry demi-glace  
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar  
  • 2 shallots, minced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  •   
  • 6 duck legs confit, trimmed  

Directions:

Bring a pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook just until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into wedges.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the duck fat until liquefied, 1 to 2 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the potato wedges and 1 to 2 Tbs. of the duck fat and toss well to coat. Generously season with salt and pepper and toss with the parsley. Set aside.

To make the red wine sauce, strip the leaves from the herb sprigs; mince the leaves and reserve the sprigs. In a saucepan over high heat, bring the wine to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk in the demi-glace, 1 Tbs. at a time. Add the minced herbs, herb sprigs, vinegar, shallots and garlic and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by one-third, 8 to 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan; discard the herbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush the grill grate and grease with some of the remaining duck fat.

Place the duck legs, skin side down, on the grill, directly over medium-high heat. Grill, turning once, until nicely grill-marked, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Move the duck legs to the edge of the grill where the heat is less intense to keep them warm. Grill the potato wedges over the hottest part of the fire, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and tender-crisp.

Mound the potatoes on a platter or divide among 6 individual plates. Top with the grilled duck legs and spoon the red wine sauce over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 6.