Roasted Duck Legs with Truffled Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Chestnuts

Roasted Duck Legs with Truffled Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Chestnuts

Wow, I should win an award for the longest blog post title! ; ) On one of my shopping sprees at my favorite exotic game / free range butchers, I had picked up a package of duck legs, and stashed them away in the freezer. Not for a rainy day, but a day where the temperature in LA dropped below 90 degrees. Needless to say, I've been waiting for MONTHS. And of course, I mistimed the day, because tomorrow it will be back up at 90, and Wednesday the high is going to be 93. Seriously, I'm trying to move into fall foods, but the weather is NOT cooperating! I slow roasted the duck legs in their own fat, and with cloves of garlic and bay leaves, and herbs de provence, for 3 hours at 300 degrees.  This is hands down my favorite way to cook duck legs.  I used the fat that was rendered out to fry the potatoes in a cast iron pan; once they were done, I topped them with truffled salt. Yes, this is admittedly a high end ingredient, even for me; at $20 for 3.6 ounces, it is definitely not cheap. But holy cow, it is worth every penny. This particular salt is imported from Italy, and contains 10% truffles, the highest amount I've seen.  I was originally looking for truffle oil, but after discovering most of the truffle oils contain a synthetic compound and not real truffles, I decided against it until I could spend more time researching quality brands. The real star of the show, shockingly, were the brussels sprouts. I recently was given a Gordon Ramsey cookbook, and one of the recipes in it was for Brussels sprouts, sauteed with roasted chestnuts, pancetta, and butter.  I was going to pick up pre-peeled chestnuts, but my store was out of stock. Luckily, they had fresh chestnuts! Since it's still so warm here, I had forgotten that it really is fall, and that means chestnut season! I picked up a bagful, and last night, cranked up the oven and roasted them.  Tonight, all i had to do was shake out enough for the brussels sprouts from the bag, and stash the leftovers back in the fridge. (They'll make an appearance in the form of soup in the next day or so!). While the sprouts steamed, I sauteed chopped pancetta in olive oil and butter, then tossed in the chestnuts to heat them up. Then the sprouts went in, and the whole mess was tossed to combine. After a healthy dose of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, they were done. The entire meal was amazing. The duck was so rich, and had so much flavor; the skin was crispy, and the edges of the thighs slightly caramelized. The potatoes were crisp, salty, and had the exotic aroma of the truffles.  The brussels sprouts were so happy, spiked with the crisp saltiness of the pancetta, the earthiness of the roasted chestnuts, and the silky mouthfeel of the butter. They really not only tasted amazing, but also kept the duck and fried potatoes from being overly rich.

This was like a warm up for Thanksgiving! : )

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