Tasty recipes and more

Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso

Whenever I’m lucky enough to find quince at the store, I immediately grab a few. It is such a wonderful and versatile fruit. A shame its’ season is fairly short.

On top of being such a fragrant fruit, quince has so much pectin in it, it is no wonder that its’ main use is in making jams, jellies and fruit pastes. (Check out THIS BLOG POST for great recipes for both jam and jelly.) Quince is also great for making Pate de Fruit, a recipe for which I hope to post soon.

However, the uses of quince are not limited to sweet dishes. All over the Mediterranean and the Middle East, quince is used in many savory dishes, mainly in lamb or meat stews. The quince adds its unique aroma, slight acidity and sweetness to the dishes and thickens the sauce.

As I was about to make my variation of Duck a l’Orange, I’ve decided it can only benefit from the addition of quince. The result turned out to be even better than the original, so I will surely use this recipe again.
I served the dish with plain couscous, but roasted or mashed potatoes, or polenta, are also great on the side.

Makes: 2-4
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Ingredients:
3 duck legs (about 1.5 lb, 750 grams), preferably fresh, at room temperature
(If using frozen, thaw slowly in the fridge overnight)
2 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 large oranges
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbs cider vinegar
2 medium size quince
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbs water
3 bay leaves

1. With a sharp knife, make a few superficial cuts in the duck’s skin (this will help release the fat), and separate the drumstick from the thigh.
Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso
Place a medium size pot over medium-high heat and add the duck, skin side down. Fry the duck in its own rendered fat, for about 5 minutes, until the skin is golden. Turn and fry for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel, to absorb the fat. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Drain the fat from the pot (keep it, it’s great for roasted potatoes!), and clean it.
Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso
2. Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to peel the orange layer out of two of the oranges. With a sharp knife, cut into thin strips and place in a bowl. Cover with boiling water, let cool and drain. Repeat the process once again.
Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso
3. Juice the oranges and measure 1¼ cups juice. Add the chicken stock and vinegar to the orange juice and set aside.
4. With a heavy, sharp knife, cut the unpeeled quince into quarters. Remove the cores and cut into medium size cubes. (The quince cubes will not keep their shape during the cooking if peeled.)
Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso
5. Preheat the oven to 300F (150C).
6. Mix the sugar and 2 Tbs water in the pot and cook over medium-high heat until the syrup changes its color to amber. Very carefully, add the orange juice/chicken stock mix to the pot. Make sure not to wait too long or the caramel will become bitter. (Don’t be alarmed if the sugar creates a lump, it will dissolve later on.) Add the bay leaves and the remaining 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Mix and bring to a boil.
Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso
7. Add the duck, quince cubes and orange zest. Cook for 5 minutes. Cover and transfer to the oven.
Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso
8. After 1 hour, reduce the oven temperature to 220F (105C) and uncover the pot. Bake for about 40 minutes longer, basting occasionally, until the duck is very tender and almost falls off the bone, and the sauce reduces.
9. Take the pot out of the oven and place over medium high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, to reduce the sauce even more. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot.
Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit PensoDuck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso

Duck Legs with Orange and Quince Ronit Penso

Comments on: "Duck Legs with Orange and Quince" (16)

  1. I just knew I was in trouble when DH’s drool hit my shoulder – he was reading from behind me! We’ve never had quince, but now I will be on the hunt for it. Haven’t ever seen it here in the desert, so it may be a long hunt! ;->

  2. Lovely. Invariably I add more items to my shopping list when reading your posts. Off to find quince and thanks!

  3. I too will be watching for quince. Such a lovely old-fashioned fruit. Apparently the trees are all but gone in Canada.

  4. That looks incredible. I am drooling too.

  5. Thank you so much for posting this recipe, Ronit. Now that I know how good quince tastes after cooking, I bet that sauce is a real tasty accompaniment to the duck. What a wonderful dish and meal! Thanks, too, for sending people to my blog. :)

    • Thank you John. I’m glad you liked the recipe. The quince most definitely added lots of aroma and flavor to the sauce. I’m now going store hunting for more…

      And it is my pleasure to send people to your blog. It is one of the best I’ve come across.
      I hope to find the time to check out the older posts at some point! :)

  6. ChgoJohn posted quince jam and jelly recipes recently and now your quince recipe, I have to look into cooking with quince. I have an ornamental quince plant but I do not see any fruit.

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