Whether farmed or wild, duck legs make for a rich and flavoursome pot roast with potatoes, apples and peppery greens, says Rose Prince. Serves two.
I have a confession to make. This pot roast duck dish was cooked with the legs of a farmed duck. The plan was to use wild mallard legs, but moving house got in the way of meeting up with a duck-shooting friend. I am a fan of good farmed duck, but the wild stuff certainly gives a stronger flavour.
Teal and wigeon would be a bit small, but the legs of a wild mallard would work very well for this dish. As there is not much fat on wild duck, the mallard legs would need basting with a bit of duck fat, while the potatoes would need to be parboiled to speed up the cooking process. Not doing so would result in overcooked mallard, which is a great waste.
This pot roast duck recipe is one I have been making frequently for more than 20 years. Wild or farmed, as the duck legs slowly roast in the casserole, the fat is absorbed by the potatoes, which gradually become crisp around the edges. It is a rich little roast, so serve it with some peppery greens, such as a watercress or rocket salad, or perhaps steamed Chinese greens, such as choi sum.
If you do not have a cast-iron casserole, the next best thing would be stoneware or another heatproof pot with a lid. If not using cast iron, the recipe will need a longer cooking time in a lower oven, say 160°C. ‘
Pot roast duck with potatoes
- 2 duck legs
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 medium-sized Maris Piper (or similar) potatoes, peeled and halved
- Two small eating apples
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Season the duck legs with salt and pepper, then use a skewer or carving fork to prick the fattier places on the legs. This allows the fat to render during roasting, which will help to cook the potatoes.
- Place the casserole over a medium to high heat and put the duck legs into it, skin side down. Baste if they are from a wild duck. Allow to cook for about three minutes, then turn them over. Cook the other side for two minutes, then add the potatoes, moving them around with a spatula so they are coated with the melting fat from the legs. Put a lid on the casserole pan and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and turn the potatoes again. Add the two small eating apples, then return to the oven without the lid. Cook for another 30 to 40 minutes before checking. By now, the potatoes should be crisp and the duck legs browned. If not, put the casserole back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
- The dish is now ready to serve. The meat can be taken off the leg bones and served piled on top of the potatoes, with the apple sliced beside it. Alternatively, everything can be served whole.