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Crispy Braised Duck Legs and Oven Polenta

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.


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Ingredients

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


Oven Polenta


1 - cup polenta

4 - 6 - cups of water or milk and water combined

2 - tablespoons butter

Salt

Preparation


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.


Oven Polenta


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.


Serves 4

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Almond Orange Olive Oil Cake

One of the great mysteries of the the appliance industry is that most ovens sold nowadays feature Convetion cooking modes; however, recipes rarely reference cooking with Convection.

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Larissa Taboryski

PDF Recipe

Ingredients

Preparation

1 - cup whole raw almonds lightly toasted and cooled

¾ - cup twice-sifted cake flour

1 ½ - teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of kosher or sea salt

4 - large eggs

1 - cup sugar

1 - teaspoon vanilla extract

Finely grated zest of one small orange or Meyer lemon

⅔ - cup extra virgin olive oil

Toast the almonds in the Convection Mode 325 degrees until golden brown inside, set aside to cool completely. 


Leave the oven set at 325 or change to 350 degrees if using standard Bake Mode.


Butter the bottom and sides of a 9” round cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.


Place the almonds in a food processor with one third of the cake flour and process until almost as fine as sand.  


In a medium sized bowl whisk together the remaining cake flour, baking powder and salt then whisk in the ground almond mixture.


In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until well-blended. Add the sugar gradually then add the vanilla and orange zest. Continue whipping on high speed until the mixture triples in volume, about 3 minutes.


On low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the olive oil and beating just until the batter is blended. 


Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until firm to the touch in the center.  Cook in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a rack.


Recipe from “Wine Country Table ” author Janet Fletcher

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