Karen Martini's duck with chickpeas, carrots, orange and anise

Braised duck legs with carrots, chickpeas, orange and anise.
Braised duck legs with carrots, chickpeas, orange and anise. Photo: William Meppem

Sweet citrus and warm spices complement duck so well, especially the legs. The carrots – which are stunning with anise – add a rich, vegetable sweetness, perfectly marrying with the intense flavour of the bird. This is a very hearty and technically simple braise – and a wonderful surprise for those who think that duck is only for restaurants! Meanwhile, you'll be left with a stunning sauce that just begs to be soaked up with mashed potato, cous cous or tiny, buttered pasta.


40ml extra virgin olive oil

6 x 300g duck legs

salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

4 medium-large carrots, peeled and halved lengthways

350g cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained)

300ml chicken stock

juice of 3 oranges

1 orange, sliced into 1cm rounds

juice of 1 lemon

8 thyme sprigs

2 tbsp anise seeds (or fennel seeds)

3 star anise

3 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tbsp brown sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 180C (200C conventional).

2. Heat the oil in a large frying-pan over a medium heat. Season the duck generously with salt and pepper, then place skin-side down in the pan for 6 minutes. Flip and sear for 4 minutes, then transfer to a roasting tray, skin-side up.

3. Add all the other ingredients to the tray, seasoning with salt. Place the tray over a medium heat and bring to a simmer, ensuring the legs aren't submerged. Cover tray tightly with baking paper, then foil, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

4. After an hour, uncover the tray, remove the cinnamon and turn the temperature up to 200C (220C conventional). Roast for 25-30 minutes until the duck is coloured and the sauce has reduced a little. The meat should be falling from the bone. 

5. Serve as is, or strain off some of the juices and reduce in a separate pan for a thicker sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes or cous cous and greens.

This recipe was originally published in Good Weekend magazine