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Orange Duck

  • 3 hours and 30 minutes
  • Difficult
  • Second Courses
Delicate, yet satisfying, this traditional winter recipe is a ideal dish to serve this holiday season.

Ingredients: Per 6 servings

  • 1 duck, about 4,4 lb, cleaned and gutted
  • 3 oranges, fresh and with a thick cut zest
  • 3 ½ oz butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup Grand Marnier liqueur

Preparation:

Season the inside cavity of the duck with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of butter. Also rub the skin with butter and a pinch of salt.
Place a buttered pan over high heat.

Place the duck in the pan and, once the butter has melted, slightly brown the duck. Cover the pan and place in oven to braise slowly at 320° F.

After 1 hour and a half, remove the duck from the pan and hold it over the pan to let from cooking liquid drip off. Set duck aside and keep warm. The meat should be slightly pink.

Peel an orange with a very sharp pairing knife to make 2-inch long strips. Be careful not to remove the white part of rind.
Boil the skins for 6 minutes, drain, then cool. Cut lengthwise into very thin matchsticks. Makes about 1 tbsp.

Soak the strips of orange peel for a couple of hours in the Grand Marnier.

With the same sharp pairing knife, peel oranges in the other two oranges. Make sure to remove the entire peel, white part included.
Then cut into sections. Be sure to remove the membrane on either side of each piece.

Put the pan juices from the duck in a saucepan and place over high heat. Stir and cook until the juices have reduced by 2/3.

At this point, add the orange peel and Grand Marnier from the marinade diluted with the orange juice.
Let reduce by half over high heat.

Detach the legs and wings of the duck, without removing the skin. Remove the skin from the breast and cut into fillets.
Arrange the duck meat on a warm serving dish with the breast pieces on top.

Cover the duck with hot orange sauce. Garnish with orange sections and serve.

Food History

Ducks have been raised in Asia for over 3,000 years. In fact, the Chinese were likely the first ones to breed ducks in rice fields where the birds fed on insects and grass.
In the West, ducks were known and loved in most of the Latin world, however the Romans were the first Western population to catch them and place them in aviaries to fatten them before slaughter, despite ever being able to raise them in captivity. It seems that ducks were not bred in southern Europe until the end of the Middle Ages, at which point they then spread across the rest of the continent.

False Myths

Contrary to common belief, the combination of orange and duck does not come from the French. This pairing originated in Florence in the 15th century when citrus juice was used to conserve meat. In fact, it is most likely that this combo comes from a recipe called paparo alla melarancia served at Catherine de Medici’s wedding with Henry II, and only later was the dish exported to France.

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