How to make it

  • Allow the duck legs to soften at room temperature until you can remove the legs without damage. You can also warm them gently in the oven.
  • Boil a large pot of salted water, and prepare a large mixing bowl with ice water nearby. Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Remove outer, wilted leaves of the Brussels sprouts until you have only tender green leaves showing. I found it made sense to slice off the ugly root end of the sprout, and then the outer leaves, which attach lower on the sprout’s root, fall way—much like when you cut a head of romaine lettuce. Also, make a small slit in the center of each root (you’ll cut them in half on that line later on).Once the water is boiling, add enough to the water so that it does not cool down much. Keller recommends cooking them in two batches—I did them all at once, and that worked quite fine. They should cook until tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 5 or 6 minutes. Once chilled after cooking, drain on dish towel.
  • Gently scrape away remaining fat on the legs and bat with paper towels. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half.
  • Heat a non-stick skillet large enough to hold the legs in an uncrowded, single layer over medium heat. Add the legs skin side down and stand back, since they tend to splatter. They should sit untouched anyway, so let them do their thing. Saute for 7 or 8 minutes, without much moving, just peek underneath towards the end of the cooking. They should turn a rich brown, but don’t let them burn of course. When they’re a minute or so away from finishing, tilt the pan and spoon some of the fat that’s leaked off the legs into a baking dish, enough to coat. Place the legs skin up on sheet and bake in the oven for 8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, discard all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining skillet fat and let the skillet come down to medium-low heat. Add the shallots, thyme, and garlic confit (or baked garlic). Saute gently for 2 minutes, then add the stock and bring to a simmer for an additional two minutes. Whisk in the Dijon mustard and crème fraiche and add the halved sprouts.
  • Simmer until the sprouts are warmed through, letting the sauce reduce until it coats them, 5 min or so.
  • Remove the legs from the oven and drain on paper towels. Take the sprouts off the heat and stir in the chives. Plate them, topping with the duck confit, and serve immediately! A nice side would be a wild rice mix.

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