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An Old-School, White-Tablecloth Classic Goes Meatball

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We partnered up with our friends at Miele for our latest contest—The Recipe You're Most Proud Ofand we're featuring some of the community members behind the recipes. We'll feature this dish, and others from the contest, at upcoming Food52 demos.

Duck is perhaps under-loved—it doesn't have nearly the place in our kitchens that the boneless, skinless chicken breast does, yet it excels at the same things. Chicken's slightly funkier, yet just-as-open-to-interpretation cousin, duck, in meatball form, is "a blank canvas for endless kitchen imagination," says Queen Sashy, whose Duck Meatballs à L'Orange were named a finalist in our latest contest.

Duck Meatballs à L’Orange
Duck Meatballs à L’Orange

For QueenSashy, duck meatballs à l'orange were the solution to the problem of the missing duck à l'orange. Once on the menu of every French restaurant, duck à l'orange has since gone the way of other foods that were super-chic in the 1960s. But, like fondue and gelatinized everything, that doesn't doesn't mean it's not a delicious dish—it just fell out of fashion, and off the menu.

Meatballs,  duck à l'orange style.
Meatballs, duck à l'orange style. Photo by James Ransom

"Even in New York City—the kingdom of everything, where one can find practically anything in the world—you have to scout, and I mean like really, really scout to find a plate of canard à l'orange," QueenSashy laments. "Which is too bad, because it is a mighty good dish." And so, after getting some crazy ideas while flipping through a stack of cookbooks one night after work, she rolled up her sleeves and made it herself, replacing the fussiness of a whole duck with a pan of oven-baked meatballs glazed in the sweet-tangy sauce beloved by à l'orange fans everywhere.

QueenSashy at home.
QueenSashy at home. Photo by QueenSashy

Cleverly reimagined as meatballs, duck à l'orange comes together in under an hour—and is so much more accessible than the recipe's inspiration: No carving! No worries about whether the skin will crisp up or not! No wondering if the inside will be raw! Instead, tender, flavorful meatballs and a bright orange sauce that you can make while they're in the oven. And to serve, whether as a weeknight dinner, cocktail appetizer, or a spiffy lunch, QueenSashy recommends parsnip purée: "It's a magical combination," she says.


Miele's been a part of the Food52 family since our first photo shoot (Amanda's mighty Miele dishwasher got us through 3 years of dishes). Learn more about how to update your kitchen with their products, like the Combi Steam oven we used to prepare these Duck Meatballs à L'Orange.

Tags: duck à l'orange, meatballs, mashups