• Prep Time
    24 to 48 hours
  • Cook Time
    30 to 45 minutes
  • Serving
  • View

Forget Eat Pray Love.  My motto is: Cure Steam Pan-fry. That’s pretty much all you need to know about how to cook these duck legs.  That and that they are delicious.  The duck skin gets really crispy while the flavorful meat of the duck leg remains moist and tender.  When you get the almost crackly skin and the juicy meat in one bite, it’s heaven.  If you cure the legs on the weekend, you can have the crispy legs during the week for an unexpectedly luxurious work-night dinner. This would be a fantastic dinner party dish with one exception:  I really stood over the duck legs as they were frying because I wanted to make sure all of the skin had contact with the hot skillet and crisped up nicely.  At one point, I even put a skillet on top of a duck leg and weighted it down with a heavy tomato can.  You are looking for the ultimate CRISP here. That’s what makes this dish so delicious.  And I’m not sure I could do that during a dinner party!  I would wind up stuck in the kitchen while my guests sat at the table wondering why I disappeared. Maybe this is the perfect dish for dining solo!  Or with someone who doesn’t mind standing in the kitchen with you!  By the way this dish is inspired by the Chinese Crispy Salted Duck in The Woks of Life (2022) by the Leung family.  I omitted the soy sauce, and I found that steaming and pan-frying times were a little longer than their recipe called for.


Duck Legs


    Buy meaty duck legs from D'Artagnan.

    Step 1

    Put the salt and pepper in a small black skillet and pan roast for about 10 minutes or longer over medium low heat until the salt turns pale yellow. Cool and set aside.

    Step 2

    Pat the duck legs dry. Rub them with salt and pepper. Put in a casserole and let cure in the frig for 24 to 48 hours.

    Step 3

    STEAM the duck legs. Brush off any peppercorns. Put the duck legs in a pie plate and put the pie plate in a Chinese steamer pot. Fill the bottom pot with about an inch or two of water. The steamer basket goes over the simmering water. Heat the water over medium to medium low heat so that the water comes to a low simmer. Steam the legs for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the legs from the pie plate and the liquid that has accumultated from the steaming.

    Step 4

    In a skillet over medium heat, saute the duck legs. Start with the skin side down and cook for at least 15 minutes. You may have to adjust /lower the heat to get the correct amount of sizzle. You want a low sizzle. The duck will audibly sizzle but it will not smoke or burn. You want the fat to render slowly and the skin to get crisp. Don't move the duck around in the skillet. Let it pan saute/fry until the skin is crisp and dark golden. If this takes longer than 15 minutes, so be it.

    Step 5

    Turn the duck over and cook 10 to 15 more minutes.

    Step 6

    Remove the duck from the pan and let it rest about 5 minutes. You can re-heat it in a 350 degrees oven for five minutes after that.

    Step 7

    Serve with fluffy white rice. A sweet and sour orange sauce would be nice also!

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