Duck à l'Orange

Duck à l'Orange

This is a modified version of Jacque Pepin's classic Duck à l'orange, we used meyer lemon + ginger and it was absolutely fabulous.  It takes about 3 hours, but only 20 minutes of active work.  

The original recipe calls for 1 duck per 2-3 people, but we found that if you don't mind getting into the carcass and pulling out all the extra meat that isn't quick and easy to slice and showcase you can get away with 1 duck per 5 adults.


1 Whole Duck - 5-6  Lb

1/3 Cup EVOO

1 Meyer Lemon

1/2 Cup Orange Juice

1/2 Cup Simple Syrup (we used a ginger infused syrup we made previously that was fabulous)

1/2 Rice Wine Vinegar

1/4 Cup Tomato Paste OR sundried tomato puree OR 1 cup reduced and roasted cherry tomatoes

1 Large Red Onion

3 Large Garlic Cloves


Ground Fennel Seed

Black Pepper

2 Cup Chicken Stock

3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour

2 Tablespoons Beurre Baratte

1 Cup Dry White Wine

2 Tablespoons currant jelly or 3 tablespoons Barolo Vinegar OR Fig Vinegar

2 Large Carrots

1 Sprig Fresh Thyme

2 Bay Leaves

2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier OR Benedictine OR Cointreau 

Step 1    

Preheat the oven to 450°. Cut off the first two wing joints of the ducks and reserve. Chop the necks into 2-inch lengths.

Step 2    

Prick the ducks around the thighs, backs and breasts. Season the ducks inside and out with ground fennel, salt and pepper. Set a rack in a very large roasting pan. Set the ducks breast up on the rack. Add the water to the pan and roast the duck in the center of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 350°. Turn the duck on their sides, propping them up by placing 2 large balls of foil between them, and roast for 25 minutes. Turn the duck to their other sides and roast for 25 minutes longer.

Step 3    

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the hearts, gizzards, wing joints and necks and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until richly browned, 10 minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and tomato paste/roasted tomatoes, then gradually stir in the stock and wine. Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer for 1 hour. Strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing on the solids.

Step 4    

Meanwhile, remove the zest in strips from the meyer lemon. Cut the zest into a very fine julienne. In a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the julienne for 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water; pat dry.

Step 5  

In a medium saucepan, boil the simple syrup and rice wine vinegar over moderately high heat until the syrup is a pale caramel color, 4 minutes. Blanch the julienned meyer lemon for 1 minute. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and let liquid drip back into the pan, rinse under cold water; pat dry. With the symple syrup/vinegar mixture gradually add 1/2 cup of orange juice, then the currant jelly (or vinegar) and bring to a boil. Add the strained duck sauce and simmer over moderate heat to reduce slightly, 8 minutes. Season with salt, ground fennel and pepper. Add the Grand Marnier/ and remove from the heat. Swirl in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Step 6    

Pour off the fat in the roasting pan. Turn the duck, breasts sides up, and roast for 40 minutes longer. Remove the ducks from the oven and preheat the broiler. Broil the ducks 6 inches from the heat, rotating the pan a few times, until richly browned, about 3 minutes.

Step 7    

Insert a wooden spoon into the cavities and tilt the ducks, letting the juices run into the pan. Transfer the ducks to a platter and keep warm. Scrape the pan juices into a fat separator and pour the juices back into the roasting pan. Simmer over moderate heat, scraping up any browned bits and coagulated juices. Strain the contents of the roasting pan into the orange sauce.

Step 9    

To garnish, scatter the blanched zest over the ducks. Carve the ducks at the table and pass the sauce separately.