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Duck with Green Picholine Olives

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This duck recipe is almost a cross between a braise and a confit, since I leave all the fat under the skin during the cooking, then take it off the next day when it’s hardened on the surface of the contents of the pot. The fat gives a lot of flavor to the sauce and keeps the duck legs extremely tender. This is an ideal dish to make ahead for a dinner party, since you do all the heavy lifting the day before. Cooking duck with olives has been a classic method ever since olives became fashionable in France about 100 years ago. Their brininess and acidity work well with the richness of the duck meat. Serve this with crusty bread, because there will be plenty of good sauce for mopping up.

Makes4 servings

Cooking Methodbraising, sauteeing

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Mealdinner

Taste and Textureherby, meaty, rich, savory

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 duck legs (about 3 pounds)
  • Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ pound sliced bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and diced
  • 2 small onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small turnips, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup green picholine olives, pitted
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low sodium canned broth

Instructions

The night before you plan to serve this dish, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Season the duck with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a medium cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the duck legs and sear until golden brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the duck to a platter. Pour off the excess fat from the pot. Return the duck to the pot along with the bacon and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Spoon any fat out of the pot. Add the carrots, onions, turnips, olives, thyme, and bay leaf, and pour in the stock. Transfer the pot to the oven and braise, covered, for 2 hours, until the duck is tender. Chill overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the layer of fat from the top of the sauce and heat the duck in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and serve.

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