duck, Entree, fruit, Recipes, Sauces

Braised Duck Legs with Sweet and Spicy Pineapple


Duck is the “meatier” relative of chicken: its complex flavor and unique texture make it highly suitable for bold culinary combinations, which is exactly what I had in mind.
While I more often use duck breast, this time, I had D’Artagnan’s Rohan duck legs to experiment with, and I chose a classic pairing with pineapple, along with Asian inspired sweet and spicy sauce.
Unlike duck breast, that requires a fairly short cooking time, and needs to be cooked right before serving, duck legs benefit from lengthy braising, which makes them ideal for relaxed entertaining, as the dish can be prepared well in advance.
Despite the fact I couldn’t find a ripe pineapple, I still didn’t want to give up my initial plan, and decided to use canned pineapple slices. To keep it as close to fresh pineapple as possible, I used a can of  pineapple slices in 100% pineapple juice, avoiding the overly sweet syrupy ones. Using canned pineapple actually made for a much quicker preparation, and also contributed a finer presentation, as there was no way I could cut fresh pineapple into such perfect slices.
For the sauce, I simply relied on sauces and condiments I had at hand, and mixed them with the pineapple juice, and with a small amount of pineapple jam and orange marmalade. The highly aromatic, fruity, spicy, sweetish, and lightly acidic sauce, complemented the duck legs beautifully.
Keeping the dish overnight in the fridge, not only allowed the flavors to develop and deepen, but also helped in removing most of the fat from the dish, creating a light and velvety sauce.
The dish can be served on its own, or with white rice, rice or egg noodles. Try it and enjoy.

* Click HERE for more duck recipes.
* Candied ginger has a smooth texture and adds its unique sweet flavor and aroma to the sauce. Don’t substitute it with fresh ginger.

Makes: 2
Prep time: 15 minutes
Salting time: 30 minutes
Frying time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Braising time: 3 hours
Chilling time: overnight

For the duck legs:
2 (1.145 lbs/520 grams) duck legs (I used D’Artagnan’s Rohan duck)
1 tsp Kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
For the pineapple/sauce:
¼ cup candied ginger, roughly chopped (see notes)
3 Tbs soy sauce (I used Tamari)
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Thai green curry paste
2 tsp Gochujang sauce
2 tsp sweet chili sauce
1 star anise
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
2 Tbs pineapple jam
2 Tbs orange marmalade
1 can (20 oz/567 grams) pineapple slices in 100% pineapple juice
For thickening the sauce:
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbs water

  1. Wash and pat-dry the duck legs. With a sharp small knife, make incisions in the skin, avoiding the meat itself. Scatter salt and pepper on. Place in a container and keep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the candied ginger, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, green curry paste, Gochujang sauce, sweet chili sauce, star anise, salt, pepper, pineapple jam, orange marmalade and the juice from the can. Set aside.
  3. Place the duck legs in a cold wide pot, over medium heat, and fry, to let the fat render, for about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and keep frying, until the skin is golden. Turn over and fry for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the duck legs to a warm plate. Pour the fat left in the pot into a small container (use it for frying potatoes or eggs), and wipe the pot.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250F (120C).
  5. Arrange 6-7 of the pineapple slices in the pot, in one layer. Pour the bowl mixture over, and cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the duck legs on top, cover the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Bring to a boil, cook for 1-2 minutes, and transfer to the oven.
  6. Braise for 1 hour. Reduce the temperature to 200F(95C). Keep braising for 2 hours.
  7. Take out of the oven, uncover the pot, and let cool to room temperature. Cover again and place in the fridge overnight.
  8. When ready to serve, remove the fat layer, and bring to room temperature.
  9. Arrange the pineapple slices and duck legs in a lined toaster oven pan, and reheat on medium heat. When heated through, increase the temperature to high, and let both duck and pineapple caramelized a bit.
  10. Meanwhile, transfer the sauce into a bowl, discard the star anise and blend with a stick blender, until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a small pot.
  11. Bring the sauce to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the cornstarch slurry, while mixing, and bring again to a boil, mixing. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  12. Arrange the pineapple and duck legs on a serving plate, pour some of the sauce over, and serve with the rest on the side.

34 thoughts on “Braised Duck Legs with Sweet and Spicy Pineapple”

  1. I’m impressed with your duck legs and especially the pineapple sauce. I’ve made duck once in my life and would prefer breasts over legs. You’ve made quite a few recipes to give me encouragement to try and make again. Nothing else I’m anxious to try the sauce 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Judi, this was quite an improvised dish, but it worked so well, it was worth documenting.
      The lengthy braising with the duck and pineapple gave the such great flavors and aroma. This is definitely a dish I’ll be making frequently. 🙂


  2. I LOVE duck. Have since I was kid. My mom used to make a duck for me at Thanksgiving to go with the turkey. Also, I used to watch the Frugal Gourmet and he once made a duck confit. I took notes and tried it myself. It was delicious! This recipe looks delicious. I may give it a try.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Although I haven’t had Duck very often I am looking forward to making this lovely sounding dish. Believe it or not I actually have all the ingredients! Yay!
    Thanks Ronit :))

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m sure I will Ronit there are not many cooks/chefs whom I trust that the recipe measurements are true as so many are not and have never been tried and tested just copied…Yours have never let me down 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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