Grilled Duck Leg with Tea-Poached Bok Choy Recipe

By Marcus Samuelsson |

Grilling outside in winter poses obvious challenges, but using a grill pan indoors still lends poultry a smoky taste. Aromatic tea helps cut the richness of these crispy grilled duck legs, and I like to use an Asian-inspired spice blend to emphasize the dish’s citrus flavors. For a lower fat and more cost-efficient option, switch chicken for duck.

Prep Details

Servings: 4


4 medium duck legs

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp chopped lavender

1 tbsp lemon or orange tea

4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup red wine

Zest from 1 lemon

One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp Tea Spice Blend

Tea Spice Blend

1 1/2 tbsp lemon or orange tea

1 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp ground turmeric

1/8 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp mild chili powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper

Tea-Poached Bok Choy

Zest and juice from 2 lemons

2 tsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, cut in half

One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup pearl onions, peeled and cut in half

1 tbsp chopped lavender

1/2 cup water chestnuts, rinsed and drained

2 tsp honey

1/2 tsp salt

2 lemon or orange tea bags

2 scallions, white and light green parts, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 baby bok choy, cut into quarters


To Make Tea Spice Blend:

1. Combine the tea, ginger, garlic powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

To Make Tea-Poached Bok Choy:

1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the lemon zest and boil for 30 seconds. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, discarding the liquid. Bring another 1 cup water to a boil in the same saucepan. Add the strained zest and boil for another 30 seconds. Strain again, then finely chop the zest. Set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and pearl onions and saute until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the lavender, water chestnuts, honey, salt, 2 cups water, and tea bags. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Add the scallions, lemon zest, lemon juice and bok choy and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bags and serve.

To Make Duck:

1. Rub the duck legs with the olive oil. Place in a shallow dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Combine the lavender, tea, garlic, chicken stock, red wine, lemon zest, ginger, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and 2 cups water in a large deep pot and bring to a boil. Add the duck legs, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour, flipping the legs occasionally. Remove the duck legs and pat dry. Sprinkle with the tea spice blend. Discard the cooking liquid.

3. Heat a grill pan over high heat.

4. Place the duck legs on the grill, skin side down, and cook until caramelized, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook for another 3 minutes. Serve with tea-poached bok choy.