Duck legs braised with port, orange and thyme

Duck legs braised with port, orange and thyme

French Lessons
20 mins
Cooking time
180 mins
Steve Brown


Quantity Ingredient
1/2 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
3 garlic cloves, roughly crushed
200ml port
2 oranges, zested and juiced
6 sprigs thyme
4 duck leg quarters
20ml vegetable oil
1.5 litres Brown chicken or game stock


  1. Cut the vegetables to a rough mirepoix and put them in a saucepan with the port, orange zest and juice and thyme. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour over the duck legs and mix well. Allow to cool at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Leave to marinate for 24 hours.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 110°C. Tip the duck pieces and vegetables into a colander to drain, reserving the marinade. Set aside the vegetables and herbs and pat the duck pieces dry. Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole or braising pan and fry the duck until browned evenly all over. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the reserved vegetables to the pan and fry until browned all over. Add the marinade to the pan and bring to the boil. Return the duck legs to the pan and season.
  3. Meanwhile, bring the duck stock to a gentle simmer in another pan. Add the hot stock to the braising pan and bring it all to a gentle simmer. Skim, taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Cut a piece of baking paper to the size of the pan to make a cartouche and place on the surface. Cover tightly with a lid and transfer to the oven. Braise for 3 hours, checking and turning every 30 minutes or so. At the end of the cooking time the duck should be tender and should come away from the bone easily.
  4. Remove the duck pieces from the pan and keep warm. Strain the braising liquor through a fine sieve then bring to the boil over a high heat. Cook until reduced to a syrupy sauce consistency. To serve, place the duck pieces in warm bowls and ladle over the hot sauce. Serve with your choice of accompaniments. The duck is best served immediately, but it will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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