We absolutely love duck. It is a natural pairing with Pinot noir as duck’s dense meatiness complements Pinot noir’s plummy spiciness. Last summer we made this dish for 50 or so friends when they convened for a visit at the vineyard. It set a perfect tone for the weekend.

Braised Duck Ingredients

4 duck legs
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
3 cups Pinot noir

Sauce Ingredients

1 tbs olive oil or duck fat
1 shallot minced
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf


Although duck breast is fairly easy to find at the meat department of your local grocer, duck legs may be a little more difficult to obtain. Not to worry, just buy a couple of whole ducks and cut them into parts. Cut the breasts off the bone and save them for another dish. The remainder of the carcass can be used to make stock for the following recipe (see stock recipe below). As a winery, we always have volumes of Pinot noir on hand to use for the braising liquid. For you, we recommend using a low priced, but thoroughly quaffable super-market Pinot noir.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Prep braising liquid

Put Pinot noir into saucepan. Bring to boil with medium high heat. When at boil, tilt pan away and carefully ignite surface to flame and burn off alcohol. Turn heat down to a simmer.

Prepare the stock

Brown the cleaned duck bones in a large pot with a little vegetable oil for 10-15 minutes over medium heat. Add a chopped onion, carrot, celery, and a few cloves of garlic and cook a little longer ~8 minutes. Then add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 4 hours to make a perfect duck stock.

Prepare the duck

Season the duck legs with salt and pepper and the herbes de Provence. Put the legs (skin side up) in a pan that will just hold them comfortably. Roast uncovered for 1 hour, then pour off and reserve rendered fat. Pour the heated wine over the legs. It should be just deep enough so that the meat is immersed but the skin is exposed. Cook the legs for 30 more minutes, or until meat is tender and the skin is golden red.

Prepare the sauce

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the shallot until lightly colored. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and 2 cups of the duck stock. Simmer and reduce by half, then add 2 more cups of stock. Skim the scum on the surface frequently. Continue simmering and adding additional stock until all of the stock has been added. Add 1 cup of the braising liquid and reduce to a spoon-coating consistency. Keep the sauce warm.


Spoon a little sauce onto a plate. Place duck leg on sauce and spoon sauce over the duck. Serve with soft polenta and the following Brussels sprouts preparation. These dishes go fabulously with Peay Vineyards Pinot noir.

Serves 4.

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