As many faithful readers will know, my mother-in-law left my house on Christmas Day and went directly to the hospital. My parents and brother were also there that night. I had told them Henny hadn’t been feeling well lately, but they immediately were alarmed by her loss of weight and, more importantly, her loss of zeal.
Gradual decline is much more difficult to see, but that night they helped us all see clearly that we needed to act.
And so we acted.
Henny was discharged on New Year's Eve and I started the new year by bringing her a big pot of homemade chicken soup and her favourite gluten-free grain loaf (I will post that recipe soon!). With a grim diagnosis and more questions than answers, I wasn’t sure what other way I could nourish her.
And you know how I love to make soup. My husband, daughter and I ate soup and bread around the table together with Henny and Karl. After dinner, I cleaned out the fridge and noticed a pair of cryovaced Brome Lake duck legs were sitting all alone on a shelf in the fridge. Henny had picked them up on Christmas Eve, never had a chance to cook them and now didn’t feel like duck. I gladly took them home and this is what I made the next day.
Braised Duck Legs with Baby Mixed Potatoes
2 duck legs
11/2 cups chicken stock
1 lb baby potatoes
Salt and pepper
Season duck legs well with salt and pepper. Using a fork pierce the skin of the legs to help release fat and make the skin crispy.
In a cast iron skillet over high heat sear duck legs skin side down for 5 minutes or until nicely golden brown and fat has been rendered. Turn and brown over side for another 3 minutes. Although you can drain the rendered fat at this point, I like to keep it in because it adds incredible flavour to the potatoes.
Add potatoes and enough chicken stock until the duck legs are half submerged in stock. Bring to a boil and transfer to preheated 350F oven and bake for 40 minutes or until legs are crispy brown, potatoes are soft and internal temperature reaches 170F.
I served this with steamed broccoli although spinach would be great with this dish as well.