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Master The Menu: Duck Leg Carnitas

Make The Butler’s Duck Leg Carnitas At Home

Chef Amber Doig reveals the secrets to this melt-in-your-mouth duck recipe, with a special ingredient that will elevate your everyday cooking.

Created through a mish-mash of different ideas inspired by classic French techniques, this recipe highlight’s Chef Amber’s love for Mexican flavours. The method of carnitas and confit (or slow cooking) the cured duck in fat was the starting point for this recipe, and the rich and flavourful sauce, plus crunchy, zingy salad really take it to the next level.

This is the perfect dish for date night, where a bit of pre-planning goes a long way, and your significant other is bound to be impressed by all the effort.

Recipe Video:

Catch Chef Amber’s expert tips and the steps to make these Duck Carnitas at home!

Behind The Dish

At The Butler, we’re all about celebrating local produce,  and we’ve sourced the duck for this recipe from local farms in the Blue Mountains, Richmond and Windsor in NSW.

Our secret sauce is what makes this recipe so special. We use dried hibiscus (also called Jamaica – pronounced ha-my-ka) which has a tart, refreshing flavour similar to cranberries. The beautiful ruby sauce really brings the duck to life, paired with orange juice, and claret vinegar from our friends at Cintra Estata, Dried hibiscus can usually be found at Mexican food stores, either online or in store. Our picks are Fireworks Foods, Rosa Cienfuegos, The Essential Ingredient or even some health food/tea stockists. 

Don’t underestimate the garnishes on this one! White onion, radish and pickled daikon balance the richness of the duck, paired with warm La Tortelleria tortillas (Chef Amber’s favourite), to mop up every delicious bit of the sauce.



Confit Ducks:
4 duck marylands (untrimmed)
Rock Salt
Brown Sugar
Chillies, Mexican oregano, citrus peel, bay leaves and star anise
Duck fat
Chicken stock

White onion (shaved)
Pickled daikon radish (shaved)
Fresh and pickled radish (julienned)
Lime Juice

Cooking liquid from duck
Orange juice
Lime juice
Dried hibiscus
Claret vinegar
A few knobs of butter (10gms per serve)


Place duck in a roomy baking tray without overlapping. Add aromatics, salt, and sugar. Cure overnight.

Wash off marinade, pat dry and cook in the over at 75°C in a combination of duck fat and chicken stock. Cool and debone. Before serving, reheat in a splash of oil skin side down, then pop into the oven at 180°C for 12 minutes or until the skin is golden.

For the sauce, add the cooking liquid from the duck with orange juice, claret vinegar and hibiscus. Finish with butter and stir till emulsified and the sauce is glossy.

Make the salad, adjusting taste with lime juice and salt.

To serve, plate the duck legs and and spoon over the warm sauce. Top with the fresh salad, and serve with sliced jalapeños and warm tortillas.



Tag @thebutlersydney if  you try this recipe at home!