Greece’s cuisine also has a good roster of wild game recipes and one of the more universally enjoyed meats has to be duck.
A couple of weeks ago I seared some breasts that I carved from a whole duck. I was left with a carcass, wings, duck fat and duck legs.
When one has duck legs, it’s confit time. Confit comes from the French word (to preserve) and this method of immersing a food in a substance for both flavour and preservation has ended up being a favoured method of enjoying duck legs.
To confit duck legs traditionally, one must brine or marinate the duck legs overnight, then slowly poach the duck legs in reserved duck fat.
I was prepared to go through the whole process but Jerry’s (Cooking by the Seat of my Pants) quick and successful approach to confit saves time and offers instant food gratification.
Jerry’s approach is simple: season your duck legs with salt, pepper and herbs of your choice (I used springs of thyme and rosemary), drizzle with olive and add a splash of stock and roast in low-heat oven for an 60-80 minutes (mine took 80), then increase the heat to 350F and roast until your duck legs are golden brown.
Jerry made a confit of chicken on a bed of spaghetti and I urge you have a look at his recipe and even delve further into the blog for more food inspiration.
Back to my duck legs. The title of this dish is Papia Portokali…or Duck a l’Orange. The French are well known for this classic but the Greeks have their own version that’s true to our indigenous ingredients.
Papia Portokali shouldn’t intimidate you. It’s sounds elegant, has that rustic/chic look and above all, tastes fantastic.
Here are the steps needed to bring this fabulous fall/winter dish together:
- prepare your duck confit
- mise en place (organize and prep your ingredients)
- braise the accompanying lentils
- steep the raisins in orange juice mixture
- saute and reduce onions and orange sauce
- finish duck & orange sauce in the oven
Let’s make some Papia Portokaki!
Papia Portokali (Ï€Î±Ï€Î¹Î± Ï€Î¿ÏÏ„Î¿ÎºÎ±Î»Î¯)
4 legs of duck confit (see Jerry’s method here)
1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup orange liqueur
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 cup raisins
3 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
4-5 allspice berries
3 Tbsp. olive oil + 1/4 cup to saute onions
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Â½ cup chopped celery
3 cloves of minced garlic
1Â½ cups of lentils
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup vegetable cocktail (V8)
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heated 375F oven
- Place oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic. SautÃ© until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add lentils and sautÃ© for 1 minute. Add bay leaf and stock. Bring to boil, cover and simmer until lentils are cooked, about 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover pot for last 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain off any excess liquid. Remove bay leaf, stir in organo and balsamic viengar and adjust seasoning. Reserve lentils.
- Into a bowl, squeeze the juice of 2 oranges and add the 3 Tbsp. of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, allspice berries and raisins and allow to steep for at least 20 minutes.
- With the remaining oranges, trim the peel off and cut into horizontal slices and reserve.
- In a large oven-proof skillet, add the olive oil over medium-low heat and saute your onions for about 10 minutes. Now add your mixture of orange juice and raisins in along with the stock, liqueur(pour from a cup – NOT bottle) and bring up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add your thyme sprigs and rosemary. Reduce the liquid by half or until it’s thickened.
- Arrange your orange slices to one side of the skillet and place the duck legs on the other. Place into your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Spoon a bed of braised lentils onto each plate and lay a duck leg on top with some orange slices to the side. Spoon some orange sauce over each duck leg, garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately.
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