Duck legs braised in nut sauce & pomegranate

by Ursula Ferrigno

Roasted duck legs with a complex sauce that is much more than the sum of its parts

The sweet and sour elements of the sauce blend harmoniously with the duck, making this dish delightfully different, showy and pretty. It reheats well with a splash more stock or water, and chicken legs may be substituted (reducing the roasting time by 20 mins).

The duck fat released from the roasted legs is excellent for roasting mini potatoes to serve alongside, with some green beans or spinach.


6 duck legs, skin slashed with a sharp knife
Coarse salt, to season
150g walnuts
150g almonds
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
700ml chicken stock
4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 pomegranate, de-seeded
A handful of coriander, torn


Heat the oven to 190C. Arrange the duck legs on a rack in a deep roasting tin and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30 mins.

Grind the nuts finely in a food processor. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan (big enough for the duck legs) and fry the onions over a medium heat for 7 mins, until softened. Stir in the cinnamon, then the nuts and crushed garlic, stirring constantly until the nuts and garlic are gently coloured, taking care not to burn them. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 mins.

Remove the duck from the oven and transfer to a plate, reserving the duck fat for another day (or to cook potatoes in, to serve alongside).

Stir the pomegranate molasses into the nut sauce, then add the duck legs Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. Keep checking that the sauce is nice and juicy and hasn’t dried out, adding more hot stock if necessary.

When the duck is tender, season and serve with a scattering of pomegranate seeds and coriander.

Recipe: Ursula Ferrigno