Crispy skinned braised duck legs pair really well with creamy polenta, and if both dishes can be cooked at the same time in the oven, well, why not. What a great way to make good use of a Convection oven. Actually, I was skeptical about cooking polenta in the oven but decided it was worth a try since it can be tricky cooking it on the cooktop. Fortunately, it was a success!
You will need an oven safe skillet that you can use to sear the duck legs in before placing it in the oven as well as an oven safe pan or casserole dish for the polenta. The mushrooms can also be roasted in the oven or on the cooktop. Because the duck legs are not covered during the cooking the skin continues to brown and crisp while the meat simmers in the liquid until meltingly tender. Another easy and delicious Convection Meal.
Oven Braised Duck Legs
4 - whole duck legs
1 - teaspoon kosher salt
½ - teaspoon herbs de Provence
1 - tablespoon vegetable oil
4 - cloves garlic, smashed
½ - cup red wine
½ - cup chicken stock
Preheat the oven in the Convection Bake or Convection Roast Mode 325 degrees.
Arrange the oven racks so the duck can be in the upper part of the oven and polenta in the lower part.
Pat the duck legs dry with paper towels and season with the salt and herbs de Provence.
Heat a 10 - 12” oven-proof skillet over moderate heat, add a little vegetable oil and place the duck legs in the skillet top side down. Leave the legs undisturbed to render their fat and begin to crisp, maybe 5 - 6 minutes, turn and repeat on the other side.
Remove the pan from the heat and carefully remove the duck legs and pour off most of the fat leaving a light coating in the pan. Return the pan to moderate heat and soften the garlic for a minute or so, then add the red wine and stock and cook for a few minutes. Return the duck legs to the pan and place uncovered in the oven.
Plan to cook the duck legs for at least 1 ½ hours or maybe longer if they are very meaty, the polenta will cook in about 50 minutes, so it can be added to the oven later.
1 - cup polenta
4 - 6 - cups of water or milk and water combined
2 - tablespoons butter
Note - I started with 4 cups of water but added another cup at about the 40 minute mark because I wanted a creamier softer polenta. Less water will yield a stiffer polenta.
Combine the polenta and 4 cups of water with the butter and salt to taste in an oven-proof casserole.
Place in the oven under the duck and cook uncovered for approximately 50 minutes until smooth, adding more water as needed.
Serve with garlicky roasted mushrooms and a crisp winter salad.