Classic duck a l’orange

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. – Harriet Van Horne

This classic combination is so perfect because the zesty, sharp yet sweet juices of orange cut the richness and fattiness of the duck. In fact, this dish dates back to the 17th century! It’s quite simple in preparation but so very delicious! If you are anything like me and enjoy duck and love how it pairs with citrus, then you will absolutely fall in love with this classic. I warn you though, the sauce and duck are highly addicting.

Duck a l’orange:

5 oranges

1 whole duck (2 kg)

2 cinnamon sticks

Big handful of mint

95 g light brown sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup Grand Marnier

30 g butter


  • Preheat the oven to 300 F. Halve two oranges and tub the duck with them while squeezing juices out. Once rubbed, place the oranges inside the duck cavity along with the cinnamon sticks and mint. Tie the legs together with kitchen string as well as the wings. Prick the duck skin all over with a carving fork.
  • Put the duck on a rack, breast side down, and put the rack in a roasting tin. Roast for about 45 minutes, turning the duck half way through.
  • While the duck roasts, zest and juice the remaining oranges. Heat the sugar in a saucepan over low heat until it caramelizes (do not stir!); when it begins to caramelize, swirl the pan gently to ensure even caramelization. When the sugar becomes a rich brown color, add the cider vinegar and let boil for 3 minutes. Add the orange juice and Grand Marnier and simmer for 2 minutes. Blanch the orange zest in boiling water for 1 minute three times, changing the water each time. Rinse under cold water, then drain and set aside.
  • Remove the excess fat from the roasting tin. Increase the oven to 350 F. Spoon some of the orange sauce over the duck. Roast for 45 minutes, basting the duck in the remaining orange sauce every 10 minutes and turning the duck to baste all sides evenly.
  • Remove the duck from the oven, cover with foil and strain the juices back into a saucepan. Skin off any excess fat and add the orange zest and butter to the saucepan; stir until the butter is all melted. Heat the sauce and serve over the duck.

2 thoughts on “Classic duck a l’orange

  1. whatwines says:

    Very nice receipt – We love Canard a L’Orange with a vintage 2000 Sauternes Blanc. Such an aged sweet white wine would lose part of the sugar and let the citrus fruit marry with the orange the duck.

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