Sweet duck legs cooked with plums & star anise

If you are the type of person who goes into a supermarket and buys prepacked chicken or duck breasts, thighs or drumsticks, then I really want to start you thinking along the lines of buying a whole chicken or duck. It's far better to buy the whole bird and then remove the breasts or legs. I've also noticed that duck legs aren't as popular, because the packs of duck legs never seem to shift from the supermarket shelves like the chicken ones do – which is strange, because all they need is some slow cooking and you'll get thin crispy skin and beautiful melt-in-your-mouth meat. Check out this recipe, which works a real treat.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)

29.5 g

Serves 4   Approx time: 155   Difficulty: super easy


  • 4 fat duck legs
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons five-spice
  • 1 handful star anise
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and sliced
  • 16 plums, halved and destoned
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar


Place the duck legs in a sandwich bag with the soy sauce, five-spice, star anise, cinnamon stick and olive oil and let them marinate for a minimum of 2 hours. To really get the flavours going, you could keep this in your fridge to marinate for up to 2 days. Then get yourself a pan, casserole or high-sided roasting tray that snugly fits the duck legs. Place the chillies, plums and sugar in the bottom of the tray and then pour the marinade from the bag over the top. Mix it all up using your fingers, and place the duck legs on top.

Place the tray in a preheated oven at 170°C/325°F/gas 3 for 2 to 2½ hours until the meat falls away from the bone. Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick, then taste the sauce to see if it needs to be seasoned with a little more soy sauce. It's now down to you how you would like to serve it. You could have it as a starter with some of the little Chinese pancakes that you can buy, or served simply with rice or noodles and the chunky, jammy plum sauce that the duck has cooked in.

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