Gavin Kaysen's Braised Duck Legs with Creamy Farro and Orange

Let Gavin Kaysen's Braised Duck Legs, Creamy Farro, and Zesty Orange Infusion Redefine your culinary journey. Elevate Your Home Cooking with this luxurious masterpiece, where savory meets citrus in every irresistible bite.



  • 4 each Fresh Duck Legs, skin on, trimmed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 large onion peeled
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2- 2” long peels of orange, pith removed
  • 6 each black peppercorns, cracked
  • 1/3 cup port wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 quart chicken stock


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
  • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 2 bunches watercress, picked and rinsed
  • Salt and fresh ground white pepper, as needed


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F.
  2. Cut into a medium dice one carrot, half of the onion, and the celery stalk. Slice the remaining carrot and half onion into a julienne.
  3. Season the duck legs on all sides generously with salt and pepper. Heat a D5 Stainless Steel 3 qt. Sauté Pan over medium-high heat and add the duck legs skin-side down in one layer.
  4. Sear until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then flip and continue to brown the other side for another 3 minutes.
  5. Remove the legs from the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and discard all but approximately 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Add the medium-diced vegetables, sage, thyme, orange peels and peppercorns to the pan with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for approximately 4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  6. Add the port and red wine and simmer until reduced by half. Return the duck legs to the sauté pan with three cups of the chicken stock; bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven. Braise, covered, for 2 hours.
  7. Transfer the duck legs onto a plate to cool. Strain the sauce remaining in the pan through a fine meshed sieve, and skim off as much fat as possible.
  8. Wipe the sauté pan clean and return to a medium-low heat with the butter. Add the julienned vegetables with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
  9. Add the braising liquid to the sauté pan with the cream and farro. Simmer for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding the remaining cup of chicken stock in intervals if needed; the farro should be tender, moist, and soft to the bite.
  10. When the duck legs are cool enough to handle, pick the meat and discard the skin and bones. Add the duck meat, reserved onion and carrot, mascarpone cheese, orange juice, 2 tablespoons of parmesan, and orange zest to the farro. Combine well, and check seasoning.
  11. Serve the braised duck and farro in shallow bowls, topped with orange segments, watercress leaves, and remaining parmesan.

Pro Tip

I frequently turn to braises in the holiday season, and this one is a one-pot classic. Building the braising liquid by reducing wine and port intensifies the flavor of the liquid, and the flavor of tart, sweet orange is exactly what the rich, gamey bird needs.


Gavin Kaysen

Gavin Kaysen is the award-winning chef and founder of Soigné Hospitality Group in Minneapolis, known for his nationally recognized group of restaurants as well as his leadership in the culinary profession. His restaurants in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis include Spoon and Stable, a 2015 James Beard Award Finalist for Best New Restaurant; Demi, an intimate 20-seat tasting menu experience ranked #3 on Robb Report's list of the "10 Best Restaurants in North America"; and Cooks | Bellecour, a culinary shop and cooking school which serves an array of French bistro-inspired pastries, sandwiches, and more. He introduced the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Mara and Socca Café in Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis in the summer of 2022. Chef Kaysen's catering company, KZ ProVisioning, created in partnership with Chef Andrew Zimmern, fuels the Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

With the aim of supporting the next generation of young culinarians, Chef Kaysen serves as the President of the ment'or BKB Foundation Team USA where he collaborates with two of his mentors, and the world's most celebrated chefs, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller.

Chef Kaysen is the proud recipient of two James Beard Awards: Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2008, and Best Chef: Midwest in 2018. He published his first cookbook, At Home, in the fall of 2022, exploring recipes and techniques for every level of home cook.