DUCK A L'ORANGE RECIPE


Last week while watching The Departed, a Martin Scorsese movie, one of the main characters played by Matt Damon pompously laments toward the end of an elegant dinner at a French restaurant that it was able to offer an extravagant-looking dessert but not duck a l'orange. Do all fancy French restaurants serve duck a l'orange? Not from my experience, but that was probably the point.


Duck a  l'orange. It sounded so luxurious and fancy, but then again doesn't everything in French sound fancier?

I've never had duck a l'orange but my curiosity was instantly ignited. From the information I've gathered, duck a l'orange is very simply roasted duck paired with a rich and savory orange sauce, and the uniqueness of one duck a l'orange recipe from another really centers around the sauce.


There are many versions of orange sauce from recipes that call for such ingredients as orange marmalade and jams to Grand Marnier. Since this was my first time attempt, I found a simple recipe and was on my way to make this fancy-sounding dish.

The roasted duck portion of duck a l'orange is fairly straightforward.  Pan-roasted duck breasts will do, and is probably a good way to start if you are new to this dish.


Since I've never roasted a whole duck, I decided to try my hand at cooking an entire duck.


Similar to chicken and turkey, I decided to marinate the duck in a brine bath a prior to roasting. This is a very easy step to ensure that the duck remains moist and flavorful. Any simple brine solution will do, the one I used imparted a subtle and wonderfully warm citrus spice flavor.


At the end of roasting this duck, there will be plenty of duck fat in the roasting pan. If you're not bothered by the subtle spices, you may consider reserving the duck fat for a future use, such as potatoes roasted with duck fat. Duck fat generally keeps in the refrigerator for up to one month, and in the freezer for up to six months.


DUCK BRINE RECIPE
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander
  • 4 whole cardamon seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole clove
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • zest from one orange
  • zest from one lemon
  • 3 cups hot water
  • One duck, roughly 5lbs

ORANGE SAUCE
(adapted from Chef Terrance Brennan of Artisanal)
Ingredients
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup duck, beef or chicken stock*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt
Method
  1. A day ahead of roasting the duck, prepare the brine by combining all of the ingredients in 4 cup measuring bowl. Add 3 cups of hot water and allow the spices to steep for half an hour. Refrigerate for at least an hour to cool the brine. When the brine has cooled down to the same temperature as in the refrigerator, prepare the duck by removing the neck, and packed giblets, and reserve for other use. Rinse the duck under cold water, and place the the duck breast down in a pot, container or bowl large enough to submerge it under the brine solution. Add the brine solution, cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.
  2. Two hours prior to roasting the duck, remove the duck from the refrigerator, drain the brine solution and cover with a plastic wrap. Allow the duck to come to room temperature, roughly two hours. Once the duck is at or close to room temperature, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Rinse the duck under cold water, pat dry, and place the duck on a roasting rack. With a knife, run the sharp tip across each duck breast creating superficial diagonal lines roughly one inch apart, and again across creating diamonds as pictured in the image above. This step will allow for the fat to be released during the cooking process, making the skin crisper. Place the roasting pan in the oven on the middle of the rack, and roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F - 170°F. 
  4. When the duck has completed roasting, set the roasting pan on the stove and allow the duck to rest for 20 - 25 minutes.
  5. About half an hour to an hour before serving the duck, start on the sauce. Heat the orange juice in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until the juice is reduced by two-thirds, about 10-15 minutes. Add the stock, bay leaf, peppercorns, and thyme to the pan, and reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Whisk butter into the sauce, and season to taste with salt.
  6. When you are ready to serve, you may consider placing the duck in the oven to broil on high for a minute to recrisp the duck skin. Carve the duck and spoon the orange sauce generously over the duck meat.
* Note: You may make duck broth by simmering duck neck, giblets in 2-3 cups of low-sodium beef or chicken stock in a small saucepan for roughly an hour and strain, yielding 1 cup.

Serves 4
Serve with potatoes and / or roasted vegetables.

 

52 comments:

Cocina Savant said...

This duck looks fantastic. The unparalelled richness of the duck and bright acidity of the orange makes my mouth water. The whole roasted duck turned out beautifully which is a tremendous feat.

Karine said...

Wowow!! That is impressive :)

KennyT said...

I love duck and this orange duck u made looks fab!

3 hungry tummies said...

I love the brining process too! Your dish looks absolutely mouthwatering, well done.
I was having a conversation over lunch with my friend about how the Chinese and the French are the masters when it comes to cooking both duck and pork. Don't you think we can easily make a Chinese style spiced duck with orange sauce?? Maybe that's my next project :)

Fresh Local and Best said...

3 Hungry Tummies - I think Chinese style spiced duck with orange sauce sounds great!

Cocina - It was quite good!

Karine - Thanks!

Kenny Thanks!

Sarah said...

Oh, how delicious! I haven't had this in awhile, but I remember it being really good.

HoustonWok said...

I agree, the French do have a way with words, but this looks delicious and I bet the sauce is just savoury. yum

El said...

You're right - everything sounds better in French. I love your spice combination - tremendous!

Laurie said...

Your duck looks incredible! We got into a big duck phase last January and decided to make Peking Duck. It took two days because we did the whole drying thing.

Love your spice plate photo!

Sook said...

Do you think this will be good with chicken? I am allergic to ducks but the sauce and everything looks fantastic!! Yummy!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Sook - The brine works very well with chicken too!

Anncoo said...

WOW! This dish is so beautifully done and looks like from a 5 star restaurant. Good Job :D

Art and Appetite said...

This is one of the reasons I regret becoming a vegetarian again. Ah, you tempt me to eat meat! Hehehe.

Selba said...

This is really a wonderful meal! I like how you prepare the chicken :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

Im slightly embarrassed to admit i've never had duck. This is a dish I've always wanted to try. It looks beautiful and is made with such delicious ingredients. Great job on it!

Joanne said...

Duck l'orange is definitely one of those dishes that I associate with high end french dining. For no real reason other than that it sounds so fancy and I've never had it.

You make it look not so hard (but still absolutely delicious!). I love brining meat...it does such wonders for it.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Wow, a whole duck!
I have never cooked duck before. It looks wonderful!

Simply Life said...

Wow I can't believe you too on that challenge - very impressive! The dish looks delicious!!!

Simply Life said...

Wow I can't believe you too on that challenge - very impressive! The dish looks delicious!!!

kat said...

Brining makes such a difference for poultry!

5 Star Foodie said...

One of my favorites! Your pictures are gorgeous!

Joy said...

I absolutely LOVE Duck a la orange -- we use to make it at this french restaurant I worked at and I'd always sneak scraps of the duck and sauce (oopsie) Its such a great combination! I love that you brined the duck before, it makes all the difference in the world. Thank you for sharing this, it has inspired me to make it in my kitchen :)

Dolce said...

This is impressive ! And the pictures are gorgeous :)
Just one thing, I can't help but tell you that you should write "Duck à l'orange" which works better. Otherwise it's like you are saying "Duck the orange" ;)

Cathy said...

Oh my, what a wonderful meal. I'm very impressed.

Pam said...

What a beautiful dish!

The Blonde Duck said...

That sounds like a wonderful recipe! How elegant!

Velva said...

Christine, this looks fabulous! Isn't it amazing what can inspire you to take on a new dish? I was inspired a few months ago, to take on preparing a duck too, and I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
You did an amazing job! If I bring the wine, can I pull-up a chair and enjoy the duck with you? :-)

Fresh Local and Best said...

Velva, Anytime!

Best,

Christine

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

What a gorgeous duck! I bet the brining added tons of flavor to it. It looks so delicious smothered in orange sauce! I can almost smell it!

Danielle said...

I think duck is my favorite poultry. I may have made it once....eons ago. my husband and I go to this little french restaurant every year for our anniversary, called Le Petite Chateau. (I think he only goes cuz it's my favorite) They have the best duck but I get it with their cherry sauce instead of the orange.
You did a great job on your duck!!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Holy cow, I'm impressed! Wow, just wow. This looks amazing, FLB, and I'm absolutely loving that brine. So many wonderful flavors going on in there. I'll bet the finished dish was magnificent.

Ya know, my husband and my father have begging me for a roast goose for years now and I've been afraid to tackle it. You inspire me!

girlichef said...

I haven't had this in forever. Yours sounds lovely...but the veggies are gorgeous..they're stealing the show! :)

Debinhawaii said...

I love duck but have never cooked a whole one myself. You really make me want to with this recipe--it looks and sounds wonderful.

nancy at goodfoodmatters said...

Wow, Christine, this is over-the-top!
an elegant dish. I'm so impressed, too, at all you accomplished in the week since I last visited---smoky shrimp/chorizo is a winner and I think a running post of what we find beautiful would help uplift us all.

Flour said...

All this from a movie scene!!! Amazing:) Your creativity is truly inspiring. This sounds both fancy & delicious!

Nina's Recipes said...

Hello, I'm returning the visit to thank you for all your visits and lovely comments on my blog and to congratulate you for all the goodies you make. Everything looks very delicious and very nice presented! XO

Katherine Aucoin said...

The duck looks so perfectly cooked and i love the spices and the juniper berries...so unique and clever!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I have never had duck a l'orange, but I have always been curious. Your dish looks & sounds amazing. I love all of your photos! Simply beautiful!

Victor said...

Yum, all the different spices to marinate the duck. I can almost taste the intricate flavour and sweet orange sauce. What a stunning dish and recipe. Thanks for sharing. I wish I can get fresh duck here in Hobart.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

I am not a duck fan - I used to have a duckling as a pet when I was young - but Neil is and I will totally pass this recipe onto him. Great job!

Patty said...

WOW! Your duck is incredible! The photo of your roasted duck is gorgeous, but with the orange sauce? It looks absolutely appetizing! I love duck, but am afraid to try it - this recipe seems fool proof and a wonderful addition to the holiday season! Thanks for sharing!

Anncoo said...

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Sophie said...

MMMMMMMMM,....A lovely dish!! Fine food!

I love the movie: THE DEPARTED & I also love this delcious looking plate of food!

Donna-FFW said...

What a delicious combination and you plated everything so artfully. Gorgeous really!

Mari at Once Upon a Plate said...

C ~ It is not easy to capture an appealing, delicious-looking image of this dish, but you've NAILED it! Looks fantastic, better than any version I have been served. Brava, nice job!! :)

Diana Bauman said...

What an amazing dish! I've never cooked a duck before, but you got me with the duck fat. Oh, I would love to cook something up in duck fat. I'm going to start looking up my local farmers for duck ;) Great post Christine, the dish looks beautiful!

Dinners & Dreams said...

Duck à l'orange! I will make this for Christmas, for sure.

Nisrine

Palidor said...

I love duck, but I've never had duck l'orange either. Your recipe looks delicious, and your plating is beautiful.

♥peachkins♥ said...

I bet this tastes fantastic!

Esme said...

Thanks for clicking

Roseiro.Pedro said...

hello, thats a nice duck a l'orange recipe, thanks for sharing.
I never made it taht way, cuz i've came up with a few diferent ideas.
So if you want to take a look at my blog and see duck a l'orange as i do i would appreciate, also would love if you put ur opinon.
Thanks

we are never full said...

ahhh, duck a l'orange! fabulous!!! ive never made this at home but have always thought about it. thanks for the inspiration!