Duck à l'Orange

December  5, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

Here is the dish I *begged* my mom to make as a kid, long before I had ever even tried duck, just because it looked and sounded so dang delicious and fancy: Duck à l’Orange. Today I combined a modified version of the classic Julia Child recipe with the technique I use for making Peking duck -- the result is a super-crispy skin and a beautiful bright orange flavor that helps to break up the richness of the meat. It’s every bit as good as I’d always imagined it would be. —Cara Nicoletti

What You'll Need
  • For the brown duck stock:
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil (vegetable or grapeseed work fine)
  • wingtips, neck, heart, and gizzards of one peking duck
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • For the duck and orange sauce:
  • 4 navel oranges
  • 5 to 6 pounds Peking duck, trimmed of excess fat (save the fat and render it, it's a great cooking fat!)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
  • salt and pepper (for both duck and sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, divided
  • 2 cups brown duck stock (recipe above)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • remaining blanched orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. For the brown duck stock:
  2. The night before (or at least 2 hours before you start to cook), cut the wing tips off of your duck and remove the package of giblets from the body cavity -- this package should contain the heart, gizzards, neck, and liver. We won’t be using the liver for the stock, but save it! You can freeze it and make gravy with it later, or just fry it up in a pan -- it’s delicious. NOTE: Feel free to save your giblets for another use and use a good quality store-bought duck or chicken stock as a substitute. The flavor won't be quite as rich, but it will still be delicious.
  3. Add oil to a medium pot and place over medium heat until shimmering. Add the wing tips, neck, heart, and gizzards and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add onions, facedown, carrots, garlic, celery, and thyme, and cook until onions are fragrant and the cut side has caramelized -- about 10 more minutes.
  5. Deglaze the pan with white wine, scraping up the caramelized bits from the bottom, and cook for 2 minutes, to cook some of the alcohol off.
  6. Add 6 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is at a boil, lower the heat and simmer low, uncovered, until you have two cups of very rich brown stock -- about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  7. Once the stock has reduced to 2 cups, strain it out, pressing the solids, and set it aside.
  1. For the duck and orange sauce:
  2. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  3. Clean the pot that you made the stock in, fill it with 5 cups of water, and place it over high heat.
  4. Using a vegetable peeler or a very sharp knife, carefully peel the zest off of your navel oranges, being sure to avoid the white pith. Cut the zest into thin strips.
  5. Once the water is boiling add the zest and blanch for 15 minutes.
  6. Slice your zested oranges in half and juice until you have ¾ of a cup of juice. Supreme the rest of the orange halves into segments. Set the juice and the segments aside.
  7. While your orange zest is still blanching, prick the duck all over using a sharp fork—don’t prick into the meat, just prick through the skin. You want to make hundreds of pinpricks all over the duck, this will help the fat render out and the skin get crispy.
  8. After 15 minutes, remove the zest from the water with a slotted spoon, pat them dry with paper towels, and set them aside.
  9. Keep the water boiling and add your baking soda.
  10. Place the duck on a roasting rack in the sink and pour the boiling water all over it. You should see the skin shrink away from the body and tighten up.
  11. Transfer the duck, breast side-down, on its roasting rack into a roasting pan (use oven mitts! The rack will be hot from the boiling water).
  12. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over the skin and inside the body cavity. Place half of the blanched orange zest inside the body cavity. Add about 1 cup of water to cover the bottom of the roasting pan -- this keeps the fat from smoking when it hits the pan. Roast for 20 minutes.
  13. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 350° F and flip the duck over so it is breast side-up and roast for 30 minutes.
  14. After 30 more minutes, flip it back to breast side down and roast for 30 more minutes. While the duck is roasting, prepare the sauce:
  15. In a medium saucepan, boil the sugar and vinegar until caramelized to a golden brown -- about 3 to 5 minutes.
  16. Very slowly add the 1/2 cup of orange juice (the caramel will bubble up a little, that’s normal), whisking until fully incorporated. Add duck stock and bring the mixture to a boil.
  17. Mix the arrowroot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of orange juice and whisk that mixture into the caramel sauce.
  18. Stir in the remaining half of the blanched orange zest.
  19. Simmer for 5 minutes over low heat until the sauce has thickened.
  20. Add the Grand Marnier and remove the sauce from the heat. Whisk in the butter.
  21. Now, remove the duck from the oven and pour the fat off (save this fat in your freezer! It’s great for cooking!). Once the fat is poured off, flip it over so it’s breast-side up, and roast for 40 more minutes.
  22. After 40 minutes, crank the heat back to 450° F and cook for an additional 10 minutes to give the skin even more color.
  23. Insert a wooden spoon into the duck’s cavity and tilt it up, letting the juices run into the roasting pan. Transfer the duck to a serving platter.
  24. Pour the pan juices into a glass container and place it in the refrigerator to allow the fat to separate from the pan juices. Once the fat has separated, skim it off the top and strain the remaining pan juices into your orange sauce. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  25. Carve the duck and serve it with the supremed orange slices and orange sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Miss_Karen
  • dtremit
  • Jacqueline Madsen
    Jacqueline Madsen
  • Esther Gross
    Esther Gross
  • Cindy Getchonis
    Cindy Getchonis
Cara Nicoletti is a butcher and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Cara started working in restaurants when she moved to New York in 2004, and was a baker and pastry chef for several years before following in her grandfather and great-grandfathers' footsteps and becoming a butcher. She is the writer behind the literary recipe blog,, and author of Voracious, which will be published by Little, Brown in 2015. She is currently a whole-animal butcher and sausage-making teacher at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg.

11 Reviews

Sully October 9, 2022
My local 7-11 didn't have duck, but I really wanted to try this recipe, so I got five uncooked Mr Midwest Chipotle Chycken Patties instead. Chicken is supposed to be better for you anyway. I used a cup of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup and one cup of Progresso Chicken Minestrone (because that has the vegetables) instead of making the stock with the gross duck innards, just like you suggested, and deglazed with Holland House White Cooking Wine. I don't know why I had to flip the Mr Midwest Chipotle Chycken Patties so many times, but I followed this part of the recipe to the letter. For the sauce, I didn't have any oranges in the house, so I peeled a banana and removed the pith, being very careful to get only the outside yellow part, and blanched them in baking powder. No one in my family likes orange juice, so my nephew-in-law Bubba made some of his special extra-strength Tang, which we all agree tastes much better anyway. I did have sugar and apple cider vinegar, so we made that carmello and added the blanched banana peels and the Tang, and used Wondra flour to thicken it up. I have no idea what Grand Marnie is but my son's half uncle said it's just fancy Triple Sec and we always have that, so I splashed some into the sauce and poured it over the Mr Midwest Chipotle Chicken Patties on the platter. No one really liked this dish, despite all the hours it took to make it and my following the recipe so exactly. I give it two out of five stars. If I make it again I will definitely supreme the bananas and maybe cut back on the Minestrone. Also the patties were somewhat not that juicy and a bit too black. Thank you for such a creative international dish that was very sophisticated, even if no one liked it.

Just kidding. Followed this recipe precisely and it turned out wonderful and garnered many compliments. Eleven out of ten.
Miss_Karen November 28, 2020
Despite the amount of flipping the bird mentioned in the recipe, I opted to make this for Thanksgiving this year. Just to be different. Here's the kicker: I started to make the stock first. (Yes, do this one day in advance, it's quite time consuming.) Then, much to my chagrin my brand new oven died. (Of course... It had to die on Thanksgiving 😖 THE most cooking holiday there is.)The burners worked, but not the oven. After a lot of tears and a considerable amount of time, I had the gestalt- braise it instead. No crispy skin-but it did turn out tender and delicious. The sauce is absolutely scrumptious! I never have arrowroot, so I did use a bit of cornstarch instead. Served it with spaetzle. Had to have my ginger pumpkin pie for dessert.😉 I would make this again.
jaethecook October 15, 2022
If rough chopping and sauteing before simmering to make stock is "quite time-consuming" then perhaps Duck à l'Orange is not the recipe for you. Consider instead.
dtremit January 31, 2018
As the article notes, the duck here should be a "Pekin," not a "Peking." (Specify the latter and someone may buy one already cooked.)
Jacqueline M. December 26, 2016
This is at least the 4th time I have made duck a la Orange, but the first time making the orange sauce myself, rather than using the packet that comes with the bird. Delicious! It was well worth the effort! I did have to look up how to Supreme the oranges - that was lots of work with variety we can get here in Alaska.
Esther G. December 25, 2016
I added the sauteed turkey parts and sauteed veggies BEFORE I brought the stock to boil. Is this correct? I wanted to rewrite it for my daughter and just wanted to be accurate.
Esther G. December 25, 2016
Rewrite it in more detail.
Sully October 15, 2022
Turkey parts???
JohnSkye November 1, 2015
"'Supreme' the rest of the orange halves into segments."? what does this mean? how does one "supreme" an orange half?
Cindy G. June 9, 2019

Cutting the fruit from everything else- pith, membranes...
JohnSkye June 9, 2019
thx ... i guess.