These roasted duck legs with black pepper sauce are suitable for either daily meals or special occasions. The duck legs are juicy and the sauce is savory with some heat from the black pepper.
I already shared several recipes to cook duck legs that don’t involve any complex technique. Today’s recipe is also a no-fuss one, and these delicious roasted duck legs can be put on both Asian and Western dinner tables.
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Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this roasted duck legs recipe:
- Duck legs: roasting a whole duck takes a long time, but the cooking process is much simpler with duck legs. On average, I often use one duck leg per person.
- Spices and aromatics: whole black peppercorns, ginger and garlic.
- Seasonings: light soy sauce, oyster sauce, shaoxing wine and a bit of sugar.
Before marinating and roasting the duck legs, there are two prepping steps I like to do:
- Lightly pierce the meat to help the marinade penetrate better and score the skin to help render the fat and crisp up the skin more easily.
- Rub the duck legs with some crushed ginger, salt, and rice wine (or sake) to remove excess gamy odor. This is a traditional way to prepare duck in Vietnamese cooking.
If you are short on time, it is okay to skip these steps. They don’t take too much time to do though.
After that, we marinate the meat side with the black pepper and seasonings. If some of the marinade gets on the skin, pat it dry. Part of the marinade will be reserved to make the black pepper sauce.
The duck legs can be marinated for 1-2 hours or overnight. If you are in a hurry, you can shorten the marinating time. We will prepare some black pepper sauce to serve with the duck legs, so the dish will still be flavorful even with a shorter marinating time.
Now we are left with two straightforward cooking steps: roast the duck and make the sauce.
1️⃣ Roast the duck legs skin side up in the oven until cooked through. During the last few minutes, you can increase the heat (or change to broiling) to make the skin golden brown.
2️⃣ While roasting the duck, simmer the reserved marinade until slightly thickened. This may take around 10 minutes or so.
You can serve these roasted duck legs with black pepper sauce and either steamed rice or roasted/boiled potatoes on the side.
If you choose to serve them with rice, you can decide to leave them whole or cut/chop into 2-3 smaller parts. The easiest option is, of course, to leave them whole, then place each duck leg on a bed of rice on a plate and provide forks and knives.
⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Roasted Duck Legs with Black Pepper Sauce
- 4 duck legs
- 2 oz ginger, peeled and crushed, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup rice wine or sake
- 1-2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, crushed (see Notes for more details)
- 2 tablespoons lightly crushed garlic
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (or replace with vegetable oil)
- 1/2 cup water
- Lightly pierce the meat side of the duck legs and score the skin. Avoid cutting through the skin.
- In a large bowl or tray, rub the duck legs with half of the crushed ginger and all of the salt and rice wine (or sake). Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, add the remaining crushed ginger, crushed black peppercorns, garlic, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, shaoxing wine, sugar and sesame oil. Stir to combine.
- Pat dry the duck legs. Use a shallow plate or tray which is large just enough to snuggle the duck legs on a single layer. Add about
6 tablespoons (90ml) of the marinade to the plate/tray. Then arrange the duck legs on a single layer to marinate the meat side. Alternatively, pour 1½ tablespoons of marinade over the meat side of each duck leg, then place them skin side up.
- If some of the marinade gets onto the skin of the duck legs, pat dry. Marinate for about an hour (or you can marinate overnight in the refrigerator). Reserve the remaining marinade to make the black pepper sauce later.
- Preheat the oven to 205°C (400°F). Arrange the duck legs skin-side up on a wired rack over a baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for about 35 minutes or until just cooked through. During the last 10 minutes in the oven, you can move them to the upper rack and switch to broil, or increase the heat to 220°C (425°F) to help the skin turn golden brown.
- While roasting the duck legs, transfer the reserved marinade to a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and once it starts to simmer, add the water. Adjust the heat and let the sauce simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes until the flavors are combined and the sauce has reduced slightly. Taste and adjust to your liking with more soy sauce or sugar if desired.
- Transfer the roasted duck legs to serving plates and pour the sauce over them. Serve right away.