Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
This dish is pleasing to the eye, full of autumnal color. Cooking the duck in a dutch oven gives you a moist succulent flesh, with the squash soaking up some of the herb seasoned duck fat. A beautiful holiday dinner.
8-10 sprigs of thyme
4 Plump duck legs
Whole black peppercorns
A winter squash (or any squash available)
2 bay leaves
1 pt. blackberries
Pull the thyme leaves from their branches (leave a couple for a garnish at the completion of the dish).
With a mortar and pestle, pound thyme leaves with a half teaspoon of sea salt and the same amount of black peppercorns. Season duck legs generously.
Place duck legs in dutch oven or casserole with a heavy bottom on medium heat. Brown duck legs on each side. The skin should turn to a pale amber and the fat should melt forming a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.
Half, seed, and peel the squash pulling away any coarse pieces. Cut flesh into thick chunks evenly.
Tuck the pieces of squash alongside the duck legs with the bay leaves, turning them in the seasoned fat as you go. Cover with a lid and turn heat to low. Cook for 45-55 minutes or until you're able to pull the flesh easily from the bone with a fork.
Do not expect the skin to be crisp.
Fragrant with thyme and meltingly tender, the squash will be at the point of collapse.
Transfer the duck legs and squash to a warm plate and serve with the blackberry and apple sauce.
In a small saucepan add blackberries and 1 tbsp. sugar and 1/4 cup of water. Simmer until blackberries fall apart.
You can make applesauce any number of ways. You can steam apples in a little water or bake them whole in the oven. For this dish I choose the ladder.
Chefs Note: The skin of the apples add color to the dish. I like mixing up the apples.