Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson combine a myriad flavours in this comforting braised duck legs recipe with zesty orange and sweet chestnuts.
4lb duck legs (approx 2 ducks)
1 small head of fennel (thickly sliced)
1 head of garlic (halved, crosswise)
10 shallots (4 minced, 6 quartered)
4 bay leaves
6 slices of dried orange (if unavailable, a few slices of orange peel will do)
8oz beer (something with little bitterness such as a wheat beer)
3 quarts duck or chicken stock
2 cups peeled chestnuts
1 black cardamom pod
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoon orange blossom water
Honey vinegar (or other slightly sweet vinegar)
Season duck legs with salt. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat. In batches, brown meat on all sides and set aside. Lightly brown fennel, garlic and shallots in olive oil. Add 3 bay leaves, cardamom, black pepper and coriander. Deglaze with beer. Reduce by half.
Add duck legs and orange slices to pot and cover in stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook covered until meat is just beginning to fall off the bone.
Meanwhile, sweat the minced shallots in a generous amount of olive oil with one bay leaf. Add in chestnuts and cover with chicken stock. Braise gently, covered until chestnuts are tender, allowing the stock to reduce to a glaze.
Transfer duck legs to a serving platter and strain braising liquid. Combine braising liquid with the chestnuts and reduce slightly, until liquid begins to thicken. Add orange blossom water. Season with salt and adjust with vinegar to taste.
To serve, spoon chestnut sauce over duck breasts and garnish with fresh parsley and salad leaves.