Duck À l’orange

Makes 5 to 6 servings

1 (5 1/2-pound) duckling

1 1/2 tablespoons

vegetable oil

2 carrots, cut in large pieces, divided

2 onions, cut in large pieces, divided

2 cups chicken or beef stock

2 sprigs parsley

1/3 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon (2 pinches) thyme

4 brightly colored navel oranges

1 teaspoon salt, divided

Pinch of pepper

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons arrowroot (or 3 tablespoons


1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons port or madeira

2 to 3 tablespoons good orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or


Drops of orange bitters or lemon juice

2 tablespoons softened butter

Note: This recipe uses duck stock, which takes two hours to make. The stock can be prepared the day before you cook the duck.


1. Chop the duck’s neck, gizzard and heart into pieces of

1 1/2 inches or less (do not use the liver; reserve it for another purpose or discard it). Heat the oil in a 2-quart pot and brown the duck pieces with one carrot and one onion.

2. Pour out the browning fat. Add the chicken or beef stock, parsley, bay leaf, thyme and enough water to cover the duck pieces by 1/2 inch, if necessary. Simmer, partially covered, for two hours, skimming as necessary. Strain and degrease. This stock may be refrigerated overnight

3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the zest of the oranges in strips with a vegetable peeler. Cut into julienne (small strips 1/16 inch wide and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer for 15 minutes in a quart of water. Drain and pat dry in paper towels. Set aside the oranges, which will still have their skin but not their peels.

4. Season the duck cavity with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper, add 1/3 of the prepared orange peel, and truss the duck by securing the legs, wings and neck skin to the body with kitchen twine. Prick the skin around the thighs, back and lower breast. Dry the duck thoroughly.

5. Place the duck breast up in a roasting pan, strew the remaining pieces of one carrot and one onion around it, and set it in the middle level of the oven for 15 minutes to brown lightly.

6. Reduce oven to 350 degrees, and turn the duck on its side. Regulate heat so duck is always making cooking noises but fat is not burning. Remove accumulated fat occasionally (a bulb baster will do the job nicely, but you can also use a spoon). Basting is not necessary.

7. About 30 minutes later, turn the duck on its other side. About 15 minutes later (if the duck is somewhat less than 5 1/2 pounds) to 25 minutes later (if it is somewhat more than 5 1/2 pounds), salt the duck with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and turn it breast-side up.

8. The duck is done to a medium rare if the juices from the fattest part of the thigh or drumstick run faintly rosy when the meat is pricked, and when the duck is lifted and drained, the last drops of juice from the vent are a pale rose. The duck is well-done when the juices run pale yellow. Discard the trussing strings and place the duck on a serving platter. Set in turned-off oven and leave the door open while preparing the sauce.

9. While the duck is roasting, combine the arrowroot or cornstarch and three tablespoons of the port or madeira, and set aside. Boil the sugar and vinegar over moderately high heat for several minutes until the mixture has turned into a mahogany-brown syrup. Immediately remove from heat and pour in 1/2 cup of the duck stock. Simmer for a minute, stirring, to dissolve the caramel. Add the rest of the stock, beat in the arrowroot mixture, and stir in the orange peel. Simmer for three to four minutes or until the sauce is clear and lightly thickened. Correct seasoning and set aside.

10. Remove the skin from the four oranges and cut oranges into neat, skinless segments. Place in a covered dish.

11. Remove as much fat as you can from the roasting pan. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of port or madeira and boil it down rapidly on the stove top, scraping up coagulated roasting juices and reducing the liquid to two or three tablespoons.

12. Strain the wine reduction into the sauce base and bring to a simmer. Stir in the orange liqueur by spoonfuls, tasting. The sauce should have a pleasant orange flavor but not be too sweet. Add drops of orange bitters or lemon juice to correct the taste if it is sweet.

13. Just before serving, and off heat, swirl in the butter and pour the sauce into a warmed sauce boat. Decorate the duck and platter with the orange segments. Spoon a bit of sauce with peel over the duck, and serve.

Per serving (based on 6): 944 calories; 42 g fat; 23 g saturated fat; 188 mg cholesterol; 42 g protein; 36 g carbohydrate; 25 g sugar; 4 g fiber; 850 mg sodium; 98 mg calcium

—Recipe from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck

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