This classic whole roasted duck a l'orange makes for a delicious holiday or special occasion dinner, the meat is juicy and tender and the orange sauce is scrumptious, perfect for a dinner party of 4, replace the whole duck by duck breasts if you are entertaining a larger crowd!
Serving a whole roasted duck is so festive and a nice change from turkey or chicken and this orange sauce is so full of aromas, delicious!
A whole duck can weigh from about 4.4 to 6.6 pounds (2 to 3 kilos) but duck has a heavy and large carcass and a thick layer of fat under its skin, therefore you might be surprised with the quantity of meat left on the bird once baked. It is safer to count 1duck for 4 people, serving the clean cuts: half a breast to everyone plus 1 thigh or upper thigh.
My duck here weighed 4 1/2 pound and it was just right for 4. Keep the wings and all the little chunks of meat for a mixed salad or pasta.
If you are entertaining a larger crowd it is easier to make duck legs or duck breasts as I prefer, you can check how I cook duck breasts in my Duck Breasts Whisky and Orange Sauce
The orange sauce in this recipe is the original Duck a l’Orange Sauce, rather complex and so good. It is made with orange juice, white wine and Grand Marnier, if you don’t like Grand Marnier, you can skip it but I recommend you try it as it is so special.
4 1/2 pound (2.5 kilo) Whole duck
Salt and pepper to taste
1 juicy orange, thoroughly washed
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp corn starch
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
Salt and pepper to taste
Some olive oil and butter for cooking
Pre-heat your oven to 480°F (250°C), sprinkle salt and pepper all over the duck, press 2 tbsp. butter on the skin, bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, basting the duck every 15 minutes
If the duck skin is browning too much, top it with aluminum foil
Into a large pan, on medium/low heat, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and 2 tbsp. butter, add the chopped shallots and cook slowly until translucent
Meanwhile peel and chop roughly the zest of the orange (outer skin without any white part), press the juice, add them to the pan together with the chopped garlic
Into a small saucepan, make a dry caramel, add the sugar and cook on medium/high until melted and golden, slowly add the vinegar and cook until all the vinegar is evaporated and you are left with only the caramel, stir constantly, pour the caramel into the sauce, stir to distribute (don’t try to taste at this stage as it is scorching hot)
Increase the heat to medium/high, stir the corn starch into the white wine, pour into the pan together with the Grand Marnier, cook until reduced to half, add salt and pepper to taste
Drain the sauce through a mesh strainer, maintain on low heat until the duck is ready
Once the duck is ready, spoon away and discard the oil and add the duck juices to the sauce
Remove the two breasts of duck and halve them, separate the upper thighs from the thighs, serve a half breast and thigh or upper thigh to each party, drizzle some sauce, serve the rest of the sauce into a sauce boat
This duck a l'orange is delicious with mashed potatoes, mashed celery root or parsnip, roasted carrots, roasted fennel goes very well with orange sauce
Enjoy with a good red Bordeaux Wine or Cabernet
To clean the caramel pan, fill it with boiling water and wait 5 minutes, the caramel will melt and you will be able to clean it effortlessly
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