BRAISED DUCK - Daring Cooks' Challenge - March 2012


The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.  

Just a few days after this challenge was announced I was grocery shopping and couldn't resist buying a duck to experiment on the technique of braising, the theme of this challenge. I also did some research and learned a few things about cooking with duck, which I have already shared in my previous post. So I decided that I would do three different things with my duck. 

First, I made the Perfect Duck Breast, quick and easy, not to mention delicious! For that, I cut up the duck and reserved the legs and carcass.

Second step was to make a duck stock using the carcass, because later on I would need it for braising.

And last, but not least, actually the reason why I bought the duck in the first place, I used the legs for my first braising experience.

There are many variations for braising, but generally it combines two different cooking methods: searing, which adds flavor and color, then gentle cooking in very low heat using stock or other liquid. This method is specially good for tough meats as the slow cooking process makes it very tender.

To Braise my duck, I followed this VIDEO suggested by Carol, our hostess. The result was delicious.


In a large pot I put the carcass of the duck. You may roast the bones if you wish for even better flavor (I didn't do that, but next time I will)

Then I added 2 Tbsp vinegar, 1/2 of a large onion, 1 large carrot, 1 stalk celery, all coarsely chopped, covered with water and let stand for 30 minutes. 

Then, I turned on the heat to high and let it come to a boil. Then I lowered the heat to the tiniest flame possible and gently simmered for 6 hours. 

I strained the stock into a heat resistant glass bowl and discarded the solids. After the stock cooled down, I refrigerated it so that the fat would solidify and make it easier to remove. 

The result was a clean and nutritious stock.

And the fat was also kept in a clean glass jar for future use.

(Adapted from The Minimalist)

2 duck legs (I added the wings as well)
salt and pepper to taste
2 onions
2 to 3 carrots
6 celery stalks
duck stock 

Season the duck legs with salt and pepper and put them, skin side down, in a skillet. Turn on the heat to medium. 

Turn on the oven to preheat at 350°F (180°C). 

After a while, the fat will begin to splatter, so if you don't want to have a hard time cleaning your kitchen, improvise some paper towels over a cookie cooling rack.

When the legs are browned, turn them over and sear for a minute or so and remove to a plate.

Remove excess fat from the skillet and leave just a little to cook the vegetables. 

Add vegetables to the skillet and add some salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until they begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Return the legs to the skillet, skin side up, and add enough stock to go halfway up the duck legs, but do not cover, this way the skin will remain crisp. 

Let it come to a boil over high heat and transfer to the oven. If you are using a pan with plastic handle, transfer to an oven proof dish.

Cook for about 1 1/2 hours, until duck legs are tender. Serve immediately.

For more braised deliciousness created by my fellow Daring Cooks, please visit THE DARING KITCHEN where you will also find the original recipes and guidelines for this amazing challenge. A huge thank you to Carol, our hostess!


  1. Looks absolutely delicious! I wanted to make duck thighs too but alas, the market ran out of them the day I wanted to cook these. Ended up making braised beef instead. Great job!

  2. Renata you always such an inspiration to the forum members. The braised duck looks so tasty and use the duck fat for vegetables they are gorgeous when roasted in the fat. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. I'm not a huge duck fan, but that looks wonderful! Great job.

  4. Recipe sounds amazing, and your pictures are some of the best food pics I've seen!

  5. Just gorgeous Renata. I made duck stock recently too and used it in a lentil soup. You are really going to become the duck expert!

  6. Just gorgeous Renata. I made duck stock recently too and used it in a lentil soup. You are really going to become the duck expert!

  7. Great job on this month's challenge Renata
    I have yet to try duck. I am always intimidated by it!
    I love how used everything in the duck to creat this amazing meal

  8. I tried leaving a comment before but something went wrong
    as always you did a brilliant job on this challenge Renata
    I have yet to try duck, I am some what intimidated by it!

  9. I love that you went all out and tried duck for this challenge. You did an absolutely beautiful job - it looks great, and I love how you used everything - making stock, rendering the fat - everything!! AWESOME job.

  10. I absolutely love duck, but have never braised it (other than confit, which you don't sear first and it cooks in duck fat) so this will go on my must try list, it looks so good.

  11. Delicious, the braised duck legs look perfect. Great job for this month's challenge!

  12. I'm so tempted to try cooking a duck! Yours looks delicious! I've never cooked duck before, but I really enjoy duck when I go out to restaurants.

  13. Beautiful and delicious as always.

    I'm a huge duck fan and always keep a jar of rendered fat to put on my sourdough bread slices.:)

  14. Your duck looks outstanding! Until this challenge, I'd never even thought of braising duck. Can't wait to try it - yours looks so good!

  15. Beautiful post! Colourful veggies, that gorgeous stock, crispy duck skin, a jar of fat to keep in the fridge = PERFECT.

  16. You've inspired me to try cooking with duck, I've never actually cooked it myself. Yours looks so amazing, I need to just do it!

  17. Awesome - you did a fabulous job on this challenge! I am so glad you enjoyed and your duck looks amazing!

    Cheers Carol


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