Lemony Braised Duck Legs in a Sumac Tomato Sauce

I remember the first time I came up with this recipe, it was to use up a couple of leftover duck legs and to create something from the ingredients in my kitchen cupboard. At that time, I was going through a lot of Middle Eastern recipes and hence the inspiration to use some Middle Eastern flavours such as sumac and lemons. It turned out to be a satisfying dish and I tried recreating it just last night. This time round, I made notes so I could record it here and come back to it if need be in the future 😉

Since the local eating habits here in the French countryside extend beyond the usual chicken-lamb-beef variety of meat, it’s quite easy to source meat such as duck, rabbit, quail, etc, things that required a trip to a specialty store in Dublin. It also gives people like me who want to experiment in the kitchen, the chance to play with different ingredients and learn more about cooking with different varieties of poultry and game. Keeps it interesting!

duck legs with sumac

This braised duck leg recipe gives you tender meat in a tart lemony sauce. Great for a not-yet-spring evening dinner. If you find the sauce to be a bit too tart, it might be a good idea to add some real thick yoghurt to it just before serving.

Duck Legs Braised in a Tomato Sauce with Lemons & Sumac 

Ingredients (Serves 2)

3-4 tbsp olive oil

2 duck legs

1 medium onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

a pinch of crushed chilli flakes

1 tsp sweet paprika powder

2 tsp sumac

1 x 400g tinned tomatoes

1 medium lemon cut into round slices, pits removed

salt & pepper to taste

about 700ml chicken stock


Heat a heavy bottomed pan or casserole with the oil in it. Once hot, add the duck legs and brown well on both sides. Set aside. Add the onions and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft. Add the spices and mix through. Add the tinned tomatoes and lemon slices. Season with salt and pepper. Add the duck legs to the pan. Pour in enough stock to cover the meat.

duck legs with lemon

braised duck legs

duck legs in tomato sauce

Bring the sauce to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook on low heat for an hour or until the meat is quite tender and almost falling off the bone. Check seasoning and add more salt/pepper as required.

Serve hot with rice, polenta or warm crusty bread.

braised duck legs

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