When we say “fake fancy” we mean, this meal looks fancy, feels fancy, takes fancy but it’s actually really easy to make. One of our favorite places to look for recipes on the web is BonAppetit.com. When they put out an article titled, “These 21 Recipes Look Impressive, But Are Actually Really Easy,” we knew we had to dive in and try some out. After we tried a few, this one we loved the most and found people were the most impressed by. Here is the recipe by BonAppetit.com that blew our friends and family away:
- 8 skin-on, bone-in duck legs
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more freshly cracked
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 9 sprigs thyme, divided
- 6 dried chiles de árbol, crushed, or 1 ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, divided
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1½ cups golden raisins
Using the tip of a knife or the sharp tines of a carving fork, prick duck leg skin all over. Rub with garlic (slices should stick to skin) and season with 1 tsp. ground pepper and 2 Tbsp. salt.
Preheat oven to 250°. Arrange duck, skin side down, in a roasting pan or large Dutch oven and add 8 thyme sprigs, 4 chiles (or 1 tsp. red pepper flakes), and ½ cup water. Cover pan with foil or lid and cook until fat is rendered (don’t be surprised: there will be lots), about 2 hours. Turn duck skin side up and nestle it into rendered fat. Cover pan and continue to cook until meat is very tender and bones easily wiggle when pulled, 2–2½ hours longer.
Meanwhile, bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, rosemary sprig, remaining thyme sprig, 2 chiles (or ½ tsp. red pepper flakes), 1 tsp. salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Mix in raisins, remove from heat, and let cool at least 1 hour.
Increase oven temperature to 400°. Remove duck from fat and place, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet; reserve fat for another use (it will keep 3 weeks in refrigerator or 3 months in freezer; reheat and strain before using). Season duck with cracked pepper and roast until skin is brown and crisp, 30–35 minutes. Serve duck with pickled raisins.
Do Ahead: Raisins can be pickled 1 week ahead. Cover and chill; bring to room temperature before serving. Duck can be cooked 1 week ahead. Pack duck in fat in an airtight container and chill.
(Photo and recipe credit: BonAppetit.com)
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