Sweet Duck Legs Cooked with Star Anise


Fogg and Aouda return to their hotel and dine ‘at a sumptuously served table d‘hôte’. What could be more sumptuous than Jamie Oliver’s sweet duck legs? The warming taste of the star anise and cinnamon against the rich plummy meat of the duck is just a delight. Jamie cooked this for me on my boat with the sound of the Thames lapping and the London ducks mournfully quacking beside it.


  • 4 fat duck legs
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons five-spice
  • A handful of star anise
  • ½ a stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1–2 fresh red chillies, seeded and sliced
  • 16 plums, halved and stoned
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar


First find yourself a large sandwich bag, or a freezer bag. Pop in the duck legs, soy sauce, five-spice, star anise, cinnamon and olive oil and mush it all around in the bag until the meat is well coated. Leave to marinate in the fridge for between 2 hours and 2 days.

When you’re ready to cook the meat, preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Place the chillies, plums and sugar in the bottom of a deep pan or roasting tray, then ease the marinade out of the bag and over the top of the fruit. Mix it all together with your fingers, then place the duck legs on top.

Put the pan or tray into the oven for 2–2½ hours, until the meat falls away from the bone and the pan is full of a rich, jammy, chunky plum sauce. Remove the star anise and cinnamon, and taste the sauce to see if it needs a little more soy. Trust your tastebuds.

Serve with some simple rice or noodles to soak up all the yummy plummy juices.