Stuffed Duck Legs

stuffed duck legs
Photo by Hank Shaw

This recipe is not for beginners. You need some freaky ingredients, you need to be able to cook sous vide, and you need to cook these legs for more than 12 hours.

Still with me? OK, then. This is an incredible dish. It is essentially confit of duck or goose, with sausage inside, surrounded by crispy duck skin. And, if you know your way around a kitchen, it really is not that hard to construct.

You need to be able to debone a duck or goose leg, and you will need to buy transglutaminase (Activa RM), also known as meat glue. If you don’t use this enzyme, the whole thing will fall apart when you cut it. Any sausage will do here, but my recommendations would be either something like a Toulouse duck sausage, or a spicy chorizo or longaniza sausage. You want something to contrast with the slow-cooked leg.

Serves 4

  • 2 domestic duck or goose legs, or wild goose legs
  • Good salt (I use Fiore di Sale from Trapani)
  • 2 sausage links (I use my longaniza sausage)
  • About a teaspoon of transglutaminase (Activa RM)
  • Plastic wrap


  1. Using a paring knife or other short, sharp knife, debone the duck or goose legs. Trim the deboned leg into roughly a rectangular shape. Using the knife, gently butterfly the thick part of the leg to cover the rectangle as evenly as possible.
  2. Remove the sausage from the links.
  3. Salt the legs liberally, and sprinkle the open meat side with the transglutaminase. You want it to look like the meat was dusted with confectioner’s sugar.
  4. Push some sausage into the bottom third of the leg; you might not need a whole link per leg, but it’s better to have too much than not enough. Dust the top of the sausage with a little more transglutaminase.
  5. Pull out a large piece of plastic wrap — long enough to wrap the leg and have “tails” that hang out long enough that you can tie them together.
  6. Tightly roll the duck leg into a cylinder, then roll it into the plastic wrap. Once the leg is rolled in the wrap like a piece of candy, spin it on the cutting board repeatedly to tighten it up. Set the “tails” underneath the leg to hold them. Pull out another piece of plastic wrap and wrap the leg again the same way — only this time tie the tails together in a double knot.
  7. To set the transglutaminase, either put the legs in the fridge for 4-8 hours, or cook immediately.
  8. Cook the legs sous vide in 148 degree water for 12-17 hours.
  9. Remove from the water bath and carefully take off the plastic wrap. Gently pat the legs dry.
  10. To finish, heat some grapeseed or another oil with a high smoke point in a small pan over medium-high heat. Brown the skin of the legs on all sides — you will need to hold them with tongs in some places — over medium heat. Don’t be tempted to go to high heat, or the remaining duck fat in the legs will start to smoke.
  11. Let the legs rest a minute or two, then slice into disks. Serve over a bitter green salad.

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