Balsamic Duck Legs with Mushrooms

Prep Time: 240 minutes 
Cook Time: 45 minutes 
Servings: 4

If you’re in a rut cooking chicken for dinner, try something new by trying out this easy recipe for roasted duck legs. The method of steaming the duck legs before roasting used here helps melt away some of the excess fat and renders the skin astonishingly crisp.


  • 4 to 6 bone-in, skin-on duck legs, about 6 oz. (185 g) each
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs, lightly bruised
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the mushrooms:

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps thickly sliced
  • 1 green onion, white and light green portions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Pat the duck dry with paper towels. In a shallow, nonreactive bowl large enough to hold the duck legs, stir together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, shallot, thyme, 1⁄2 tsp. salt and a few grindings of pepper. Add the duck legs, turn to coat, cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, turning the legs once or twice. Remove the duck legs from the marinade. Pour the marinade into a saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and reserve to use as a glaze.

Select a pot large enough to hold a footed flat rack on which the duck legs will stand, at least 2 inches (5 cm) above the bottom of the pot. (If you do not have a footed rack, rest a rack on 2 inverted small heatproof cups or bowls.) Add water to a depth of about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Place the duck legs skin side up on the rack. Bring the water to a boil, cover tightly and steam the duck until the skin is translucent, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a roasting pan large enough to hold the duck legs in a single layer with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place a flat rack in the pan.

When the duck legs are ready, transfer them skin side up to the rack in the prepared pan. Brush the skin with some of the glaze, and roast until the skin is brown and crisp and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh away from the bone registers 170°F (77°C), about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the drumsticks again with the glaze. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms: In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and green onion and sauté until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer the duck legs to warmed individual plates and spoon the mushrooms alongside.

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