Above: Lipavi C15 container, N15 polycarbonate rack. Lipavi C15L lid.

Level of difficulty: 2.75
Serves 1 per leg


Apply kosher salt to the duck legs in the amount of 18g (2 teaspoons) per pound (450 g). Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Drain well and pat dry.

Preheat the sous vide bath to 183 F/84 C.

Place the leg(s) in pouches, each with a bay leaf, a few peppercorns and a clove of garlic. For important information about the use of fresh garlic in sous vide, visit HERE. Vacuum seal the legs in heat rated plastic, load into a rack and submerge fully into the bath.

Process at 183 F/843 C for 4 hours. This will fully denature the garlic in the bag. It also accelerates the rendering process. Lower the temperature in the bath to 155 F/68 C and continue processing for 24 hours.

Once the interval has elapsed, cold shock the sealed package(s) in iced water until 70 F/21 C is achieved. Refrigerate at 40 F/4 C. Pasteurization will be maintained as long as the seal is not broken. The duck legs can remain safely refrigerated in this state for at least two weeks.

Day of service

Port Wine Cabbage:
Red cabbage, 8 oz/225 grams, sliced thinly.
Chopped onion, 1 oz/30 g.
Vegetable oil, 1 Tablespoon.
Port (or red) wine, 4 oz/125 ml.
Salt, 2 teaspoons.
Ground black pepper, a pinch.

Procedure: Cook onions in oil until softened. Add cabbage, wine, S+P. Cover and simmer for at least one half hour. Set aside. At service, drain excess liquid, toss cabbage with melted butter and serve.

Optional components:
Pearl onions, blanched and peeled, as needed.
Brussels sprouts, blanched and seared in the pan with the duck.
Pickled red bell pepper, 1 small piece.
Hearts of baby lettuce, as needed.

Remove the package from the refrigerator and dip in a hot bath long enough to melt the gel inside the package–no more than five minutes should be required.

Empty the package onto a deep plate or other suitable container.

Heat a skillet to 250 F/121 C. Add enough vegetable oil (or duck fat) to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the leg skin side down and fry until brown and crisp. While the duck is frying, simmer 4 oz/125 ml sous jus with 2 oz/60 g fresh blackberries until reduced by half. Add 1 oz/30 cold butter to create the emulsion.

Turn over and continue frying until a temperature of 125 F/52 C (mouth hot) is achieved.

Norm King

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