Duck legs with grapes
Grapes are definitely among my favourite fruits and the fact that they’re in abundance during this time of the year makes me extra happy. They might be at their peak right now but that won’t last long, so I try to incorporate them into our diet on the daily. To be honest, they make it super easy for me, as they can be used in so many different ways and always add a little extra something to a recipe.
Besides giving us our precious wine –which I’m eternally grateful for-, grapes are also an integral part of the Mediterranean diet and culture. They’re rich in vitamins and have important antioxidant, anti-aging and heart-protecting properties. Eating grapes regularly can help lower cholesterol and boost the immune system. And if you don’t believe me, believe the experts who swear by them!
I absolutely love grapes but what I love even more is that, unlike other fruits –like apples for example- where you just have one and that’s the end of the story, you can have a bunch of grapes now, maybe a few more later and this can go on for the rest of the day if you wish to! Another thing I love about them is how easily they can be added to savoury recipes. For those of us who love fruits in our cooking, grapes are among the most delicious options for a sweet-savoury result, both in simple and more gourmet-like recipes.
All it takes is a few grapes or grape juice to upgrade a simple summer salad. Grapes are also great in cakes and tarts, perfect for your breakfast –whether it’s muesli, yogurt or smoothie-, they are lovely to decorate a cheese platter with and add a unique sweet-and-sour taste to a roast. One of the most delicious foie gras dishes I have ever tasted was with caramelized grapes.
There are many colours and different grape varieties depending on the region and season. My favourite –and everybody else’s I suppose- are no other than Sultanina and Black Muscat grapes but I won’t say no to any other variety and colour.
We’ve been trying to grow grapes in our veggie garden in the mountains for a while now. It has become our little inside joke; imagine being certain that you’ve planted Sultanina grape seeds that actually turn out to be the perfect rosé! We can’t really tell what variety they are exactly but, honestly, no one really cares anymore. We’ve grown to love them and don’t even mind their seeds. They are our grapes!
And since we mentioned seeds, let’s not forget the numerous health benefits these nutritious gems have. They are a rich source of antioxidants and have become –with the green light from experts- a quite popular health food. I suppose you’re quite familiar with the word “phenols”.
Our mountain-grown grapes have gorgeous colours and a sweet-and-sour, fresh taste. They’re the perfect grapes to use in cooking, in my opinion. I picked quite a few during the weekend and have everything I need to make roasted duck with grapes. Duck in general can be paired beautifully with sweet-and-sour, fruity flavours and is a great ingredient to experiment with.
I bet you’ll love this recipe! It’s just amazing and, trust me, you don’t need to be a masterchef to get it right. Grapes and grape juice add such a delicious sweet flavour to a roast, you’ll be surprised! Preferably serve with creamy potato purée or polenta.
for the duck
4 duck legs
6 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic head, cut in half
2-3 bay leaves
4 fresh rosemary sticks
4 fresh thyme sticks
1 cup grapes, preferably grapes with a sweet-and-sour taste
1 glass water
for the purée
4 medium potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp butter
50ml coconut milk
1. Preheat the oven to 185C. Oil and season the duck legs with salt and pepper. Place them into a baking tray. Cut the garlic in half and add it to the tray. Spread rosemary and thyme sticks. Add the dried bay leaves and scatter the grapes. Add 1 glass of water and cover the tray with tin foil. Cook for 1 hour, then remove the tin foil and cook for 30 more minutes until the duck is cooked and has a golden-brown colour.
2. In the meantime, make the potato purée. Today, I used coconut milk instead of dairy milk. I find the result even more delicious. Besides that, making potato purée is very simple. Boil the potatoes and drain them. I use a blender for a smoother creamy purée. Add butter, coconut milk and salt. Blend until smooth and thick.
3. Prepare the dish. Begin with a layer of purée and add a duck leg on top, spread the grapes and garlic and pour the duck juice over the top. This will add some extra flavour to your dish.