The Hubs and I don't really do that much for Christmas. It's just the two of us, and we usually have already given our gifts (or bought them for ourselves) in early December (or November, don't judge). It's not for everyone, but it works for us. This year, we wanted to make a special meal for Christmas, just to give the day a little "Tjuz" (shout out to you Queer Eye fans). So, we settled on duck. Specifically, this recipe on Food52 for "Melissa Clark's Really Easy Duck Confit." Except... we didn't get our act together before Christmas, so we actually had it for New Year's Day. Hey, listen. Duck is really hard to find in the RVA. We checked our go to for good meat, Fresh Market, and they don't carry it. So the Hubs asked around and found a place called Yellow Umbrella. I'd never heard of it, but apparently it's the place to get duck (and seafood, I hear).
Anyway, once you get your hands on some duck, try this recipe and I promise you won't be disappointed. She's right, it IS really easy. Like, really. And it's seriously good. The right amount of flavor from the thyme and salt, but not enough to overwhelm the duck. The skin was delicious, the meat was mouth watering, and the bone...well, that was all that was left at the end. We served it with a easy side of pancetta & shaved Brussels sprouts. The only thing we'd adjust is the cook time. It was a bit overcooked. I've adjusted the times in my instructions below.
4 duck legs (about a half pound each)
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf, crumbled
If your legs are bigger than a half pound (ours were) adjust up the seasonings accordingly. Put the duck legs skin side up in a dish or tupperware, or if you don't like cleaning extra dishes like me, in the pan you will eventually cook them in. Mix up the salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf and sprinkle generously over the duck. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it hang out in the fridge for 24 hours.
Bring it out of fridge about 15 minutes before you're ready to cook just so it's not straight out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to 325. Flip the legs so the skin and fat is down, and cook on the stove tope for about 20 minutes over medium heat. Watch it, as ours got a little burnt on that side (still good). What you're looking for is for the fat to render out into delicious fatty liquid. When that liquid is about 1/4 inch deep, it's time to cook. Flip the legs back over again (skin side up) and cover your pan with foil. Cook for about an hour with the foil on, then remove the foil and cook for another 45 minutes. The original recipe called for two hours with the foil on and an hour with it off, but that was far too long. We cut it down and it was still too long, so I think the hour with foil on and 45 with foil off will be perfect. It's just right to make your Christmas (or New Year's) special!