Duck Leg Vera Cruz

Duck Leg Vera Cruz

This recipe, for me, is one that I just absolutely love. This is a recipe I learned how to make about 20 years ago working a sous chef back in my days in Dallas Tx. Nowadays this is a recipe that I go to when I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen but I want something I know will really turn out well. It is kind of like chicken piccata in the sense that it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort and every time it turns out delicious! This is a perfect opportunity to switch out duck legs for chicken or even fish if you so choose if you don’t like duck. I love this recipe because of the balance in flavors with serranos, tomatoes, capers, olives, and dill. You basically throw everything in a pot and let the duck leg braise, until it is tender. I decided to serve it with beans but rice would be great as well. Here is the recipe for how to make duck leg vera cruz, I hope you enjoy it!

Recipe Ingredients

 Duck Vera Cruz

4 duck legs

1 small onion sliced 

1 jalapeno sliced whole or 2 small serranos 

32 oz of tomato sauce or crushed

11/2 cup water or stock

4 garlic cloves

1/4 cup of capers plus 1/4 juice

1/2 cup of green olives (castelvetrano) plus 1/4 cup of juice

chopped dill (or cilantro, chives, parsley or even basil)



White beans 

1 1/2 cup of fresh white bean soaked for at least 2 hrs

5 cups of water

1/2 onion charred

1 sprig of thyme and bay leaf

2 garlic cloves

2 tsp of salt 

Recipe Instructions

How to cook white beans,

Drain the beans and then place them with all of its ingredients into a soup pot. Place on top of the stove on medium high heat. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a light simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes or so then add the salt. Continue to cook for another 25-30 minutes until the beans are just tender all the way through. Here I like to pour the beans into a shallow baking dish to cool, don’t strain out the cooking liquid. You want to stop the cooking process so they don’t overcook and become mush. Set aside to cool.

For the duck leg,

Season duck legs with salt and pepper and place them skin side down in a hot braising pan ( you shouldn’t need oil in the pot because the amount of fat on the duck legs should be plenty of fat, but if you want to add a tsp of oil to the pan that is fine). Sear the duck for 4-5 minutes and then flip over and add the onions, garlic, and serranos. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add the juice from the olives and capers along with the tomatoes and stock or water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes and then add the olives. Cook for another hour roughly or until the duck leg becomes very tender and almost falling off the bone. Add the capers to the sauce along with the herbs. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To plate simply add a few spoonfuls of the bean with a little of the water if desired. Then add one duck leg to each plate. Spoon over as much sauce including the olives, serranos, and capers as desired. Top with fresh dill, serve and enjoy!

duck vera cruz a.JPG


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