Crêpes with Whiskey Duck

After I’ve grilled a duck’s breast and made stock from the rest of the carcass, I am likely to make a pâté from the legs or simmer them in spirits. Airy crêpes seem the logical foil for this late-night supper of duck legs simmered ahead of time in whiskey—bourbon or sour mash.


For the Duck

  • 1 set of duck legs, with skin
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup bourbon or sour mash whiskey unsalted butter or cream (optional)

For The Crépes

  • ½ cup unbleached (all-purpose) flour pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup shelled pecans
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted vegetable oil


The day before you want to serve the crêpes, sear the duck legs in a hot heavy-bottomed saucepan, browning them as evenly as possible all over. Remove and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add the onions, cooking them until they are transparent, about 5 minutes.

Add the duck legs and whiskey, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the heat, cool, and refrigerate overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the fat from the top of the duck mixture along with the duck skins and discard both. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the bones, and return the meat to the pan with the onion and whiskey mixture. Slowly reheat the duck while you make the crêpes.

To make the crêpes, stir the flour and salt together in a bowl, then make a well in the center. Add the egg and a little of the milk and stir together with a wooden spoon, gradually adding a little more of the milk until it is all incorporated into the batter. Finely chop the pecans. Add half the nuts and the melted butter to the batter and stir until perfectly smooth.

Heat a small amount of a flavorless oil in an omelet or crêpe pan until it is very hot but not smoking. Swirl the oil around in the pan to completely coat the bottom and part of the sides, then pour off any excess oil. With a ladle, quickly pour about 2 tablespoons of batter into the hot pan and swirl the batter around to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges begin to pull away from the pan; then, using your fingers or a spatula, flip the crêpe to cook on the other side. It may take several minutes to cook on the first side, a matter of seconds on the other; every stove and pan is different. As the crêpes are finished, place them on a plate over the pan of warming duck—or in a low oven—to keep them warm. The recipe will make 6 to 8 crêpes. Add some butter or cream to the duck filling to extend or flavor it if desired.

When the crêpes are done, taste the duck for seasoning, correct with salt and black pepper, and fill the crêpes, gently rolling them up. Sprinkle each with a few finely chopped pecans.