Olive Magazine

Duck legs with turnips and red wine

Published: December 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • serves 6

Try our best ever duck leg recipe to delight a crowd of 6. Côtes du Rhône is the ideal wine for the red wine sauce, perfectly complementing this succulent dish.



  • 6 duck legs
  • olive oil
  • 18 small shallots, peeled
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 200g smoked bacon or smoked gammon, cut into 2cm pieces
  • such as Côtes du Rhône red wine, 1 bottle
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme
  • 750g small turnips


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4. Prick the skin side of the duck legs 5 or so times to help the rendered fat escape. Rub each with a little olive oil to get them going and salt generously. Brown the duck in a very hot, large casserole for 5-6 minutes, skin-side down.
    Flip over and brown on the other side for 3 minutes before removing from the pan. Carefully tip out all but 2 tbsp of the duck fat into a bowl to use another time. Return the casserole to the hob.

  • STEP 2

    Add the shallots and cook for 5-6 minutes, turning regularly until they begin to brown. Scatter over the sugar and cook until they take on a dark honey-coloured appearance.
    Add the bacon or gammon and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until just beginning to colour. Add the wine (which will lift any tasty bits that have caught) and stir in the tomato purée. Bring to a simmer.

  • STEP 3

    Return the duck legs to the pan, skin-side up, making sure they are nestled into the juices and not sitting on top. Strew with thyme, cover and cook in the centre of the oven for 1 hour. Meanwhile tail and scrub the turnips thoroughly, but do not peel them.
    Take the pan out of the oven and add the turnips, dotting them around the duck and shallots. Return to the oven for 40 minutes until the duck is very tender. When done, allow the pot to stand for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and diligently spoon off as much of the excess fat that will be loitering at the top as possible.
    Taste, season the gravy and serve. This goes very well with boiled pearl barley tossed through with chopped parsley, pepper and a smidgen of butter.


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