- 1 whole duck (around 4-5 pounds)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 oranges
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)
- 1 cup duck or chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Begin by thoroughly patting the duck dry with paper towels. This step is crucial as it ensures a crispy skin during roasting. Once dry, generously season the duck with salt and pepper, both inside and out.
2. Place the duck on a roasting rack in a deep baking dish, breast side up. Pop it in the preheated oven and roast for about 30 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Keep in mind that cooking times may vary based on the size of the duck, so a meat thermometer is your best friend here.
3. While the duck is roasting, let’s prepare the orange glaze. Zest one orange, making sure to avoid the bitter white pith. Set the zest aside for later. We’ll also need the fresh juice from all three oranges, so go ahead and squeeze them into a bowl. Strain to remove any pulp or seeds.
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the orange juice, duck or chicken stock, and Grand Marnier (if using). Simmer gently until the liquid has reduced by half, stirring occasionally. This process will take about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to concentrate.
5. Once the liquid has reduced, whisk in the unsalted butter, honey, and orange zest until the glaze becomes glossy and well incorporated. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes to let the flavors meld together. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
6. By this point, your duck should be tantalizingly golden and fragrant. Remove it from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Allow the duck to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving, giving the juices enough time to redistribute and that crispy skin to stay intact.
7. When you’re ready to serve, slice the duck into portions and generously drizzle each piece with the tangy orange glaze. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme, adding an enticing aroma and a pop of color. Don’t forget to save some extra glaze for dipping or pouring over your accompaniments!
Tips and Variations:
- For an even more pronounced citrus flavor, you can add a little extra orange zest directly into the cavity of the duck before roasting. This will infuse the meat with an extra burst of citrus essence.
- If Grand Marnier isn’t within reach, feel free to use another orange liqueur or omit it altogether. The dish will still remain incredibly flavorful.
- Serving Duck à l’Orange with a side of wild rice or roasted root vegetables adds a delightful balance to the dish, showcasing its versatility and making it an exquisite meal fit for any occasion.
Duck à l’Orange is more than just a recipe; it’s a beautifully crafted masterpiece that has stood the test of time. The succulent meat, crispy skin, and tangy orange glaze create harmonies on your palate that are nothing short of extraordinary. So, channel your inner culinary artist and savor this classic dish—transporting yourself to the elegant dining rooms of France while creating new memories of your own. Bon appétit!