Slow Braised Duck Legs in an Aromatic Broth infused with Hemp, Lemongrass, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Juniper Berries, Mirepoix & Red Wine, with Rice Noodles, Soft Green Herbs & Fish Sauce
Total: 5 hours (approximately)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4 hours and 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
Allergens: fish, soy (if you use hoisin), tree nuts
Add this Vietnamese inspired duck noodle soup to your repertoire of feel good brothy recipes to curb your sickness, warm your belly on a cold night, or when you’re craving something Asian-inspired.
Deep flavored duck is so delicious especially when you submerge it in a homemade aromatic broth with a variety of vegetables, spices and herbs. Hemp adds a nutty depth with omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spices such as star anise, cinnamon and juniper berries add medicinal properties, and a plethora of freshly plucked herbs provide your body with many vitamins and minerals it needs to make you a healthier you! Plus, this healthy and filling soup is just downright good for your soul.
Prepare this soup in advance or cook on a day when you’re at home multitasking in between doing chores or watching the kids.
BROTH, FIRST SIMMER
- 4 organic duck legs
- 1 tablespoon of hemp oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
- 1 medium sized onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- ¼ cup of red wine, any type
- 6 cups of water
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lemongrass, cut in two
- ½ teaspoon of black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon of juniper berries
- ½ teaspoon of coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons of hemp hearts
- 2 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6-8 basil leaves
- 6-8 mint leaves
- 6-8 cilantro stems
- ½ lime, juiced
- 4 green onions, cut in two
- 1 tablespoon of cane sugar or brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 8 oz (dry) rice noodles, cooked as per instructions on the package
- Herbs: mint, basil, any veggie sprouts, scallions & cilantro
- Sauces: sriracha hot sauce, hoisin sauce, salt & pepper
1.) Start by making your stock for the soup. Salt the duck legs on both sides with a teaspoon of salt, divided. In a large (cold) pot or Dutch oven, place the duck legs with the hemp oil and turn the heat up to medium high to get a nice hard sear and render the fat from the duck. Sear for 3 minutes on each side.
2.) Remove the duck legs from the pot and place them aside on the same tray you used to salt the legs. Remove half the fat and add the carrots, onions and the tomato paste. Cook this on medium for a minute to sweat the vegetables.
3.) Add the red wine and reduce for a minute. Add the duck legs back in the pot and the 6 cups of water. Bring this to a boil.
4.) Gather your spices. I put the star anise, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, juniper berries and hemp hearts in a sachet for an easier way to remove this later. Place it in the broth with the garlic cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks and lemongrass. Turn the heat to a simmer and let it cook on low for 4 hours or until the duck legs are super tender and pull apart from the bone.
5.) When they’re done, remove the duck legs from the pot. Cover with plastic film or aluminum foil so that they don’t dry out. Remove the spice bag.
6.) Now you’re going to infuse the broth with all the flavor from the herbs. Ass your basil, mint, cilantro stems, green onions, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Simmer the broth for a second time on low for 10 minutes.
7.) Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into another pot. Remove all the fat that is floating at the top.
8.) Prepare all your garnishes. Cook the rice noodles as per instructions on the package, pull the stems apart from all your washed herbs, slice the scallions and onions.
9.) Place some noodles in the bottom of a big soup bowl, top it with a duck leg, 1.5 cups of broth, herbs, hemp hearts and a dash of hemp oil. Serve with some sriracha and hoisin on the side and enjoy!
- You might be tempted to put everything in the pot and just simmer away, but leaving the herbs until the end of the simmer and extracting all the flavors in that short amount of time will enhance the vegetal “herbiness” of the broth and create a nice balance to your duck broth.
- Removing all or most of the fat away in your broth is important. You don’t want all that oiliness when sipping your soup.
- Searing the duck in a cold pot renders the fat and caramelizes better.
- Skip the sachet if you don’t have any. You’ll strain them away after anyways if you just throw them all in. Mind you that the process will take longer because all the small spices can clog your strainer and you might have to strain twice.
- A nice broth is a labor of love and it takes some time and attention. Do not take shortcuts, you will not be disappointed!
- What other sauces, herbs and vegetables can I use to dress my soup? Thai basil, Chinese chives, leeks, red onions, lemon, jalapeños, serrano peppers, fish sauce, white pepper, pink Himalayan salt and sambal oelek fermented chili sauce work as excellent garnishes in this duck soup.
- Can I use duck breast in place of the legs? As a topping, yes, but to use it to flavor the broth, no. You need the legs to not only flavor and give the broth body, but they soften much better than they’re leaner counterpart. If you want, use both for more protein.