If you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal, this is not the dish you’re looking for. Duck à l’Orange is not difficult to make but it does take some time and attention, for which you will be greatly rewarded. Crispy duck skin rivals bacon any day.
This has now become our Christmas Eve tradition, we decided, after making it last year for the first time. For our first attempt, I followed Anthony Bourdain’s recipe from his Les Halles Cookbook which results in a wonderfully sweet and smooth orange sauce. This year we wanted to try out Jacques Pepin’s recipe and were impressed by the deep complexity of the rich vegetable-infused sauce. Both recipes are really fantastic and we recommend you try both at some point to compare which you like best.
We paired this dish with a gorgeous, bubbly Stratosphere cocktail composed of Crème Yvette and champagne. Crème Yvette is a cordial liqueur made from violet petals, blackberries, red raspberries, wild strawberries, cassis, honey, orange peel and vanilla. The Stratosphere recipe is below.
- 5½ to 6 pound duck
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 carrots (chopped)
- 1 celery stalk (chopped)
- 1 small leek (chopped - white and pale green part)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken stock (or low salt broth)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 navel oranges
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp currant jelly
- 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove the gizzards from inside the duck (if provided). Cut off first two wing joints of the duck and set aside. Chop neck into 2 to 3 inch pieces.
- Season the duck with salt and pepper, inside and out, and set in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan and roast for 20 minutes Turn the temperature down to 350°F and roast for an hour.
- Heat up the oil in a large pan and cook the heart, gizzards, wing joints, and neck pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper, until browned - about 10 minutes. Add carrot, celery, leek, onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the flour and tomato paste while stirring, and add the stock and wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour and then strain very well into a bowl. Reserve the liquid and discard the solids.
- Squeeze the juice from the oranges to obtain 1 cup of juice and reserve.
- Boil the sugar and vinegar over medium heat in a sauce pan for 4 minutes. Slowly add the orange juice, currant jelly and return to a boil. Add the strained duck sauce and simmer over medium heat until sauce is reduced, for about 8 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, add Grand Marnier and remove pan from heat. Stir in the butter. Reserve.
- Pour off fat from the roasting pan and roast the duck for 40 minutes more, then broil for 2 or 3 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from oven.
- Allow duck juices to run into the pan then set the duck aside, keeping warm with a tent of aluminum foil. Scrap and transfer pan juices into a fat separator and pour juice back into the roasting pan. Simmer the pan over medium heat while scraping the pan. Strain into the orange sauce.
- Transfer duck onto a platter for carving. As an option, garnish with blanched colorful orange zest below.
Stratosphere Cocktail Recipe (Champagne & Crème Yvette):
- Pour one glass of champagne. Add 3/4 oz of Crème Yvette. Drink. Repeat.
- Optional: add two cloves before serving