Duck à l'Orange

By • December 5, 2014 1 Comments

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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

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Serves 3 to 4

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Add onions, facedown, carrots, garlic, celery, and thyme, and cook until onions are fragrant and the cut side has caramelized -- about 10 more minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Once the stock has reduced to 2 cups, strain it out, pressing the solids, and set it aside.

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. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Clean the pot that you made the stock in, fill it with 5 cups of water, and place it over high heat.
  3. 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.
  4. Once the water is boiling add the zest and blanch for 15 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. After 15 minutes, remove the zest from the water with a slotted spoon, pat them dry with paper towels, and set them aside.
  8. Keep the water boiling and add your baking soda.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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:
  14. In a medium saucepan, boil the sugar and vinegar until caramelized to a golden brown -- about 3 to 5 minutes.
  15. 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.
  16. Mix the arrowroot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of orange juice and whisk that mixture into the caramel sauce.
  17. Stir in the remaining half of the blanched orange zest.
  18. Simmer for 5 minutes over low heat until the sauce has thickened.
  19. Add the Grand Marnier and remove the sauce from the heat. Whisk in the butter.
  20. 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.
  21. After 40 minutes, crank the heat back to 450° F and cook for an additional 10 minutes to give the skin even more color.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Carve the duck and serve it with the supremed orange slices and orange sauce.

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Topics: Hanukkah