As I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion, I hate the Columbia Heights Giant. In fact, every time I go in there, I leave either in a state of total rage, utter dejection, or both. But I can’t seem to stop shopping there because it’s a few blocks from my apartment, right on my walk home from the Metro.
Giant has a section in the meat aisle called “SOMETHING SPECIAL”, which usually amounts to a few packages of free range chicken breasts and some sad-looking organic steaks. However, last week I actually did find something special: duck legs! They’re imported from Canada and what really blew my mind was that they cost less than $3 a piece. I’d never cooked duck before, but for $2.70, I figured I could afford to screw it up.
As it turns out, roasting a duck leg is pretty much idiot-proof, and it’s delicious. Roasting is also great because it’s easy, it renders out most of the fat, and the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender. Lee and I actually split one leg along with a salad, butternut squash, and roasted onions. For a heartier meal, use two legs.
Five Spice Roast Duck Leg
- 1-2 duck legs
- seeds from half a pomegranate (you could also substitute pomegranate juice for some of the wine)
- 1 onion, quartered
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 star anise pods
- dry red wine
- Chinese five spice powder
- salt, pepper, sugar
1. Score the skin side of the duck legs with a knife. Rub a pinch each of salt, pepper, sugar, and five spice powder onto the skin. Be a little generous with the salt.
2. Place duck in a baking dish along with the onions, garlic, anise, bay leaf, and pomegranate seeds. [Tip: The best way to seed a pomegranate is in a bowl of water. Here's a video that shows you how to do it.]
3. Pour enough red wine into the pan to come about half way up the side. Cover the dish tightly with foil and roast at 375 for 1 hour.
4. Remove foil from dish and continue roasting for another 30 minutes until the skin is crispy. Alternatively, you can crisp the skin under the broiler.
5. When the duck is finished, pour the excess fat out of the pan and reserve from later use. (I hear it does wonders for potatoes.) Serve the duck with pan sauce and roasted vegetables.