Classic duck à l’orange

Classic duck à l’orange

By
From
Citrus
Serves
4
Photographer
Mowie Kay

This got a bit of a bad rep at one stage, thanks to neon gloopy sauces and lurid 1970s presentation. In fact, I wasn’t sure about whether I wanted to cook it, especially as so many of the recipes are very involved. Even Jane Grigson, whom I usually view as a beacon of good sense and pragmatism, has a system of complicated rigs and a time-consuming use of a hairdryer to help get the crispest of crisp duck skins.

I succumbed in the end and found that the duck and sour orange combination is one that should be celebrated. If you want to make this out of season (although it seems to me to be a very wintry sort of dish), you can take a shortcut with the sauce and just enrich with Seville orange marmalade. Alternatively, try using grapefruit – or perhaps even Ugli Duckling?

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 duck, around 1.6–1.8kg
1 tablespoon brandy or eau de vie
1 seville orange, quartered
a few sprigs thyme
4 bay leaves
1 onion, peeled and sliced into thick wedges
sea salt
finely ground white pepper

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
3 seville oranges
50g granulated sugar
50ml water
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 shallots, finely chopped
200ml well reduced chicken stock, (or duck if you have it)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Prick all over the skin of the duck with a skewer or fork, making sure you focus on the fattiest parts and trying not to pierce the flesh. Put the duck on a rack in your sink and pour over 2 kettles of boiling water. Pat the duck dry, then rub over the brandy. Sprinkle with salt and finely ground white pepper.
  2. Put the Seville orange quarters inside the cavity of the duck along with half the thyme and one of the bay leaves. Put the remaining thyme in the bottom of a roasting tin and top with the onion and remaining bay leaves. Place the duck on top, breast side down, then roast for 30 minutes. Turn the duck breast side up and roast for a further 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest. If you want to serve it jointed, this is the time to do so, otherwise you can leave it whole and carve at the table.
  3. To make the sauce, use a swivel peeler to pare the zest from one of the Seville oranges in strips as long as you can manage. Cut into a julienne, then blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Juice all the oranges and set aside.
  4. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Add the blanched orange zest and continue to cook gently for another 3–4 minutes until the mixture is syrupy. Remove the zest from the syrup, reserving it, and add the vinegar. Turn up the heat and boil until the sugar caramelises and turns the colour of amber. Add the shallots and the orange juice. The caramel will probably seize up and spit at you, so be careful. Stir until it has dissolved again, then add the stock. Simmer until the sauce is well reduced but not too thick. Taste and adjust for seasoning – you can add a little more orange juice or stock at this point if you think it needs it.
  5. When the duck has rested, strain off any liquid from the pan and remove the fat, then add these juices to the sauce. Simmer until piping hot and add the zest back to the sauce.

Duck soup with noodles

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Take off every scrap of meat you can find on the duck and put to one side. Make a stock with the carcass, adding a couple of star anise, an onion, carrot and a couple of sticks of celery, a few peppercorns and bay leaves. Include any leftover scrapings from the roasting tin as well as some pared sour orange zest. Cover with water, bring to the boil and skim, then either pressure cook for 25 minutes or simmer gently for around 1½ hours. Strain and leave to chill so you can remove any fat.
  2. To make the soup, put the stock in a saucepan. Add 2 sliced garlic cloves, a 2cm piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped, and 1 red chilli. Slice a bunch of spring onions on the diagonal. Add the whites and reserve the greens for a garnish. Add 100g mushrooms and 4 heads of oriental greens. Simmer and taste for seasoning. Add soy sauce and a little mirin or sake. Cook 200g noodles according to the packet instructions and refresh under cold water to stop them cooking. Dress with a little sesame oil. Add the duck and noodles to the soup along with lots of fresh coriander. Serve with any type of “kosho” if you have any, or make a ponzu sauce, with the spring onion greens sprinkled on top.
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