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Roasted Duck Legs with Orange Sauce and Wild Rice

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Roasted duck legs with orange sauce and wild rice is a classic and elegant entrée to be reserved for a special occasion.  This is definitely not for your everyday or standard week-night dinner menu.   

Roasted Duck Legs with Orange Sauce and Wild Rice

Roasted Duck Legs with Orange Sauce and Wild Rice

If I had to get my shot gun and go duck hunting in order to put this on the table we would probably just be eating chicken instead.  

Where to Buy Duck:

Fortunately, we don’t have to go on a duck-shoot as duck is available in the frozen poultry section of most grocery stores.   It is usually parceled into packages of whole ducks, duck breasts or duck legs. 

Duck is a little on the pricey side at $11 for a package of two legs but then how does that compare to a couple of good beef steaks or fresh halibut? 

And, if we ordered this at a high-end fancy restaurant?   Out of site!  This  is for a special dinner so let’s do something out of the ordinary! 

Roasted Duck Legs with Orange Sauce and Wild Rice

Rich and Succulent Roasted Duck Legs

Duck Legs vs. Chicken Legs:

The meat on duck legs is a lot different than chicken legs as it is denser and much richer in flavor.   Plus, duck legs take longer to roast taking as much as one-and-a-half hours in a 350°F oven to fully cook.  

They are fattier than chicken legs and by pricking the skin before roasting, the fat oozes out, basting them as they roast.   

Duck legs have their own unique taste, they are rich, tender and have an intense, succulent flavor that pairs well with our zesty orange sauce.  

The sauce is prepared with fresh squeezed orange juice,  white wine vinegar, garlic, honey, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a touch of Grand Marnier for elegance.   It is the white wine vinegar that causes all the flavors to shine.

Roasted Duck Legs with Orange Sauce and Wild Rice

Roasted Duck Legs with Zesty Orange Sauce

In my mind, wild rice is the ideal accompaniment for these roasted duck legs with orange sauce.   Technically, wild rice is a grass but it is prepared and served the same as a rice. 

It takes much longer to cook than a typical white rice and will take as long as one hour to cook if you want it to be soft. 

We like it best cooked tender with still a little crunch to it and 45 minutes does it for us.  Wild rice has been around for eons and it is one of my favorite ancient grains.

Roasted Duck Legs with Orange Sauce and Wild Rice

Roasted Duck Legs with Orange Sauce and Wild Rice

This menu was chosen for Don’s 82nd birthday dinner and as I am not aware of any age limit on romance, I am pulling out the white tablecloth, candles and a good bottle of red wine!  🙂


Roasted Duck Legs with Orange Sauce and Wild Rice

Roasted Duck Legs with Orange Sauce and Wild Rice

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Roasted duck legs with orange sauce and wild rice is an elegant entree for a special event. The duck legs are moist, succulent and the flavors shine with the zesty orange sauce. This entree pairs well with the slight crunch from the wild rice.

Ingredients

For the Duck Legs:

  • 4 duck legs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

For the Orange Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice (about 4 oranges)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liquor
  • Orange wedges for garnish
  • Fresh microgreens or mint for garnish

For the Wild Rice:

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic grated or finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Instructions

For the Duck Legs:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and add a wire roasting rack on it.
  2. Using the sharp end of a wooden skewer, prick several small holes in the duck legs. This allows the rich fat to be released while roasting.
  3. Brush the duck legs with olive oil and season with salt and white pepper. Add to the wire rack on the prepared baking sheet and transfer to the middle rack of the preheated oven. Roast for 1-1/2 hours, the internal temperature should be 175° F when fully cooked. Begin checking the temperature after roasting for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

For the Orange Sauce:

  1. While chicken is roasting, make sauce:
  2. In small saucepan, bring wine vinegar and orange juice, orange zest and garlic to a boil over medium-high heat, then adjust heat to low and simmer. Allow the sauce to reduce to 1-1/2 cups, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook until syrupy and reduced to about 1 cup. Whisk in the butter and orange liquor and cook for 30 seconds to burn off the alcohol taste. Remove from the heat, cover and reserve.

To Cook the Wild Rice:

  1. Add the chicken broth to a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and when it begins to boil add the rice, garlic and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 45-60 minutes, or according to your taste preference. Remove from the heat, drain off any remaining liquid, fluff, keep covered and reserve until ready to serve.
  2. To Serve, Spoon a portion of wild rice on each of four plates, arrange one duck leg on the rice and spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of the orange sauce over the duck legs. Add orange wedges and microgreens for garnishment.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 547Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 1411mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 29g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Mark Dobson

Sunday 13th of December 2020

Why do you use kosher salt in two parts of this recipe and ordinary salt for the third part? And pray what is grand mariner? An old sailor? And having rubbished chicken earlier in the script how come it's introduced at the beginning of the sauce recipe? But hey, it was a good tasty recipe nonetheless!

Pat Nyswonger

Sunday 13th of December 2020

Hi, Mark....thanks for your comments. I had to giggle a little at your 'old sailor' comment and apologize for the misspelling of Grand Marnier, I corrected the misspell in the recipe card. In regard to the salt, all three instances have been corrected to plain ole table salt. Thanks again to your response and I am happy that you enjoyed the recipe! Merry Christmas to you!

Carol Ernst

Friday 11th of October 2019

So I did try this with duck confit and it was fabulous. I was able to make the rice and hold it, sauce and hold it, and then bown the confit legs. I only would say less wine vinegar for two legs , maybe some white wine with the vinegar. Will do again for sure. thanks for such a great recipe. I would even post this as an option for duck confit Thanks

Pat Nyswonger

Friday 11th of October 2019

Hi, Carol! Thanks for a great review! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe, it is one of my personal favorites for a special 'date night'. I will try your suggestion for less wine vinegar next time I make it. Again, thank you for the comments and feedback, we love hearing from our readers! ❤️

Carol Ernst

Friday 11th of October 2019

I know this is a late reply, but I just make duck confit (legs), and was wondering how this rice and sauce would work with it?

Dahn Boquist

Friday 11th of October 2019

It would be a fabulous combination, Carol. I hope you enjoy

john

Sunday 26th of May 2019

I have benefited from your amazing article, can I share this in my social?

Pat Nyswonger

Sunday 26th of May 2019

Hi, John....so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Yes, you have permission to share.

Carol

Sunday 15th of July 2018

Hi, can’t wat to try this recipe. I noticed you mentioned white pepper, but it’s not in the list of ingredients. Thanks.

Pat

Sunday 15th of July 2018

Ooops, thanks for that good catch, Carol. I fixed the recipe card....added the white pepper. Thanks again. Hope you enjoy it. :)

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