Master A French Classic – Slow Roasted Duck Legs

Duck legs

Duck. In my mind it’s so French. You’ll see it on menus all over France. And it’s the ideal ingredient to cook with when you want to Frenchify your day.

But, here’s the thing about duck. It’s not the easiest poultry to work with. It has a reputation for being both a touch fancy and a bit challenging all at once. 

And that makes sense when I think about it. Fresh duck breasts are relatively expensive (at least here in Oz). And while duck legs are not nearly as pricey, cook them in the same way as duck breasts and they’ll end up tough. There’s a reason that you see so many confit duck legs in French restaurants. 

However, there’s only so much confit duck you can eat. Luckily though, there is an alternative cooking method that’s not only easy but delivers tasty and tender results every single time. I’ve been playing with this recipe for a while now, and it’s perfect for days when you want a no fuss, economical, French inspired duck dinner at home.

Before I get into the recipe, just a note on the allspice. It really is worth tracking down whole berries or ground allspice for this recipe. The flavour really makes this dish pop. If you can’t find Allspice though, you can substitute with a mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. 

Master A French Classic – Slow Roasted Duck Legs


  • Duck legs with thigh attached (sometimes sold as duck marylands). I allow one leg per human eating.
  • 1 large tablespoon of redcurrant jelly. 
  • Half a cup of port. 
  • Half a cup of chicken stock.
  • 4 allspice berries ground in a mortar and pestle, or a pinch of ground allspice.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Duck friendly herbs. I like to use a mix of bay leaves and fresh thyme sprigs.
  • Chopped parsley, for sprinkling.


  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius or 140 degrees celsius if your oven is fan forced.
  • Place duck legs in a cast iron casserole dish that has a tight fitting lid.
  • Sprinkle duck with allspice, and season with salt and pepper. Tuck herbs in and around the duck.
  • In a jug, mix together redcurrant jelly, port and stock. Pour gently around the duck. 
  • Cover casserole and roast for 2 hours until the duck is cooked through and tender. 
  • Remove duck from casserole, and skim fat from sauce. If the sauce is a a bit too liquid, reduce it slightly by boiling on stove top.
  • Return duck to casserole, sprinkle over parsley and serve with your favourite potatoes and greens. Fresh asparagus works really well, but I also like these duck legs served with salad. 

Do you have a favourite recipe for slow roasted duck legs? As always, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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4 thoughts on “Master A French Classic – Slow Roasted Duck Legs

  • Denise Linkson

    My husband only eats duck in France as nobody cooks it as good as the French he says! I must admit I was not a duck lover but once I ate it in France I was hooked. I don’t eat it in Australia, I just wait for the next trip! I might have to try your recipe Janelle but I’m not the best cook so I’ll see. The best duck my husband has had was at Hotel de Nord on the Canal st Martin. It was a plat de jour for 14€ with a carrot soup to start. I thoroughly recommend this hotel which is just locals, I’ve never seen any tourists (other than us).

    • Janelle Post author

      French duck is definitely worth waiting for Denise. And thanks for the tip on the Hotel. I’ll add it to my ever growing list of places to try. As for the recipe, I promise it is super easy. If we’re not allowed to travel for a little while longer, it might be worth a try xx

  • kairosia

    What a lovely recipe! The port and red currant jelly! And the allspice is an intriguing addition.

    Nearly two decades ago, we stayed with friends in Poitiers who our first night there served us confit de canard, perfectly dressed carottes râpées, baguette of course, salade, and a copious cheese plate. So simple and delish for weary travelers. If the stars align as we hope, we’ll be back in Paris next summer, where I’ll attempt to find a solid metal mouli Julienne along rue Montmartre so as to reconstruct les carottes!

    I use duck legs most often in my odd version of cassoulet (odd because it has an Italian edge to the saucissons). Still, I find it deeply rich and satisfying.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Janelle Post author

      Oh I’m so glad you found the recipe inspiring Kairosia. And I’m intrigued by both your carrot and cassoulet recipes. Also wishing you all the best for your next visit to Paris….we’re still in lockdown here, but I’m sure I’ll be haunting the Paris cookware stores sooner rather than later xx