Vanilla & orange slow roasted duck legs
13th December 2010

Vanilla & orange slow roasted duck legs

By Emma Photography by Emma

Several months ago I bought a whole duck.  Up until this point I had never cooked duck so it was with trepidation that I finally pulled it out of the freezer and set about cooking it for dinner one Sunday afternoon.  I cooked it in a low oven over a period of 5 hours and it was delicious – beautifully tender meat and golden, crispy skin.  It was so good in fact that it inspired the recipe that follows. Seeing as it is a Christmas recipe, I wanted to give the duck warm, spicy flavours so paired orange with cinnamon and vanilla.  To accompany the duck I found inspiration from the recently published Noma cookbook and made a quick salad of carrot ribbons and thyme flowers on top of which I sat the duck.  What is great about this recipe is that it is very easy to prepare and will be sure to impress your guests.


Serves 4
  • Duck
  • 4 duck legs, skin on but trimmed of any excess fat
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 10 peppercorns
  • Jus
  • Pan juices
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • S&P
  • Salad
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 tsp thyme flowers (you can substitute these for leaves if you can't get flowers)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • S&P


  • Duck
  • 1. Marinate the duck legs in the orange juice, cinnamon, vanilla and peppercorns overnight. Keep the orange halves and add these too.
  • 2. Preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F). Using a sharp knife pierce the duck skin all over, then place legs skin-side down on a wire rack. Place half a cinnamon stick, a few peppercorns and an orange half onto each duck leg. Reserve the liquid for basting.
  • 3. Place the wire rack in the oven (near the top element) and place a baking tray underneath to collect the fat that pours out in surprising volumes! Cook for 2 hours, basting (spooning the liquid over the legs) every half hour or so.
  • 4. In the last half hour of cooking, turn the legs over so that the skin can crisp up and turn golden.
  • Jus
  • 1. Tip the fat out of the baking tray and add to this the juice of 2 oranges, season with salt and pepper.
  • 2. Place on the stove top and heat through until a dark jus forms.
  • Salad
  • 1. Using a good, sharp peeler, run the length of the carrots, creating long ribbon-like strips. You could do this using a mandolin should you have one.
  • 2. Mix together the orange juice, oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper and pour over the carrots. Leave in the fridge for half an hour to marinate.
  • 3. Remove carrot from the fridge and mix through the thyme flowers.
  • To Assemble
  • 1. Divide the salad between 4 plates, place a duck leg on each and pour over the jus.


      1. those photos just take my breath away let alone imagining how delicious it would taste !!!

      2. Stunning photos! I love the vanilla use with the duck!!

      3. Orange and duck is such a classic combo of flavors. I love the touch of cinnamon in this, too. So perfect for the holidays.

      4. Emma

        Thanks Paula!
        I definitely recommend you give this a recipe a go – it is so easy and really impressive!
        Merry Christmas,

      5. Emma

        Thanks for your lovely message Jennie!
        The vanilla, cinnamon and orange are a great combo with the duck.
        Merry Christmas,

      6. Emma

        Hi Carolyn,
        Yes – such a great combo. I recommend you give it a go – it is sure to impress!
        Merry Christmas,


      Post Your Comment

      © Fisher & Paykel Appliances Limited. All writing and photography are © Fisher & Paykel 2017 unless indicated otherwise. All rights reserved.