We had some duck legs, bought in the village shop this morning, and our last oignon de Lézignan (sweet onion) of the season. The ducks that reach us here from the south-west of France have had (I hope) a happy life, but that does mean that they’re quite mature and their legs need slower cooking. On the other hand I do like duck skin to be crispy. So I have devised a way of cooking them that combines these two requirements. This was tonight’s version:
It was sad to see the last of these onions go, but it was all in a good cause. I quartered the onion and sliced it finely, then sautéed it in a little olive oil in heavy cast-iron pan , with a sprinkle of salt to bring out the sweetness. I sliced the cloves of a whole bulb of garlic and put some of the pieces underneath the skin of the duck legs. When the onion had softened I added the rest of the garlic, a few bay leaves, some freshly ground black pepper and a glass of white wine. I put the duck legs on this ‘bed’ of onion, garlic and herbs, put the lid on the pan and simmered, or pot-roasted, for about 45 minutes. By this time the onion slices had melted together into a delicious garlic-, duck- and bay-scented purée in a wine sauce. I put the duck legs under the grill while the sauce reduced a little on the hob and then they were ready to serve.
And this evening, with clearer skies, there was just enough daylight to photograph the finished dish.