Spiced Red Wine-braised Duck Legs

, from Issue #92. August, 2020
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Spiced Red Wine-braised Duck Legs

I love this combination of meltingly tender duck with aromatic spices and the sweet-sour flavour of pomegranate molasses.

Serves: 4


4 whole duck legs (see Cook’s note)
sea salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
3 long sprigs thyme leaves
2 tablespoons each pomegranate molasses and tomato paste
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon each ground cumin and ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
long strips orange peel
juice 1 orange
16 dried apricots
1 cup each red wine and beef stock


Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Season the duck legs all over with salt. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a low heat and cook the duck legs skin-side down for about 10 minutes until golden. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off the excess fat, leaving 2 tablespoons in the pan. Add the onions, carrot, garlic, bay leaves and thyme with a good pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, smoked paprika, all the spices, orange peel and the juice and cook for 2 minutes. Add the apricots, wine and the stock and bring to the boil.

Tip into a large ovenproof baking dish and nestle in the duck legs, skin-side up. Don’t completely submerge the duck legs.

Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until the duck is very tender. Scatter over extra thyme sprigs to garnish if desired.

Cook’s note: You can use whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) in place of the duck. The cooking time will be shorter.