I can’t stop braising. It may be an illness. I’m not really looking for the cure right now, I’ve gotta tell you. Freakin’ loving it. And here’s another set in the braising parade; duck legs. If you don’t or can’t find duck legs, chicken (heck, even turkey) legs are fine substitutions. Another point of interest here is that I braised the legs in some soup that I had made a couple of day ahead. The soup was a kind of Italian vegetable number, and there was more than we needed. I strained the vegetables out and used the liquid for the braise; then I added the vegetables back in as a garnish for the finished pasta. Here it comes:
Like any meat that is going to be browned, it may help to give the surface a little pat with a paper towel to ensure that it’s very dry before it goes into the hot fat.
For these little guys, I have a blend of clove, black pepper, fennel seed, chili flakes, salt, and nutmeg. Season the legs well, and get the pan going on an high heat with some oil, to start the searing.
Brown each side of the legs so that you develop the flavor of the meat.
Here I am deglazing the same pan with a little seasonal ale from Sierra Nevada, and also throwing in some whole smashed cloves of garlic. Be sure to reduce the alcohol by half before proceeding, in order to reduce the bitter taste.
Now I’ve strained the Italian vegetable soup into the braising pan, reserving the vegetables for later, and added a little bunch of wound up thyme.
I added a little bay leaf, brought the whole mess to a simmer, reduced the heat, and put a lid on it. I came back to check it in 45 minutes.
When the leg meat is getting close to perfection (super tender, that is), I returned the soup vegetables to the party and added some capers and pitted olives as well.
Once everything was in place, I boiled the noodles, tasted the sauce to correct for seasoning, and then tossed the noodles in the braising liquid with the vegetables.
To finish the plate, I brought everything together, and added a little creme fraiche that we’d recently made, and a dusting of both cracked black pepper and Parmesan.
I’m not sure if there are any great lessons in this post. I just wanted to offer some thoughts about how to use what you have on hand to make something tasty and satisfying.
Happy Cooking, Happy Eating-