Duck a l’Orange


Readers know I’m a huge fan of duck and I’m so fortunate that it is both readily available and incredibly affordable here in Belgium.We actually don’t eat it all that often but when we do, it is always a huge hit. And once again, that was the case with my take on the ultimate duck recipe–duck a l’orange—which I adapted from  Bon Appetite .

Despite its fancy reputation, duck a l’orange is incredibly easy to make. The orang sauce can be made ahead of time then reheated before adding in the butter, orange zest and orange slices. And depending upon your preference, searing your duck breasts can be done in a matter of minutes. Just be sure to use a heavy skillet- I like to use my trust cast iron one– and start with a cold pan. This way you’ll get both a better sear and more delicious pan drippings.

For an extra special treat serve alongside duck fat roasted potatoes. After all, half of the reason for eating duck in my house is to make these potatoes with the drippings.


1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 tablespoon Grand Marnier, or other orange flavored liqueur

4 large oranges

2 1-pound boneless, skin on duck breast halves,

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup  unsalted butter

2 tablespoons grated orange peel


  • Stir sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  • Increase heat and boil until the syrup turns deep amber, occasionally swirling the pan,for about 8 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the vinegar (mixture will bubble vigorously).
  • Add the orange juice and shallots; boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
  • Add in the orange liqueur and return the syrup to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Using a paring knife, cut off peel and white pith from the oranges.
  • Working over bowl, cut between membranes to release segments. Set aside.
  • With a small knife, score the duck skin (do not pierce meat) in a crosshatch pattern. Sprinkle duck with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  • Place the duck, skin side down in a cold heavy skillet. Turn the temperature to medium low and render the fat, cooking the duck until the skin is brown and crisp, about 12-15 minutes.
  • Turn the duck and continue to cook until the meat is to your desired liking, about 10 minutes longer for medium-rare.
  • Transfer the duck to a cutting board and allow to stand for ten minutes before slicing. Save the rendered duck fat for another use.
  • Meanwhile, return the sauce to a simmer.
  • Add the butter and 1 tablespoon of the grated orange peel, whisking just until the butter melts.
  • Drain the reserved orange segments and stir them into the sauce.
  • Arrange the sliced duck breast on a patter and spoon the orange slices and sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

Serves 4



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