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.
DUCK A L’ORANGE
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.
This easy and spicy chicken recipe from Food 52 is the perfect weeknight dinner for those nights when you are craving an Asian inspired dish. Because the chicken needs to marinate for one hour it falls outside of the parameters for my Fast Friday meals but it is fast just the same. If I know I’m going to be pressed for time I mix up the marinade in the morning then toss the chicken into it the minute I walk in the door in the evening. By the time I’m ready to start cooking the chicken is ready for the wok.
The original recipe uses boneless skinless chicken breasts but I am partial to boneless chicken thighs. I think the meat is more flavorful and juicier as well. If you like your food spicy as I do, add in a bit more of the fiery sriracha sauce. Serve the chicken over your favorite grain–I prefer brown rice– and dinner is ready. Enjoy!
SPICY ORANGE & GINGER CHICKEN
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/4pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Brown rice for serving
1/4 cup sliced green onions
- In small bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, sriracha, vinegar, brown sugar, orange zest, and pepper.
- Place chicken in a large ziploc bag; pour 1/3 cup marinade over chicken. Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.
- Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade.
- Heat a large wok over high heat. Add the remaining oil.
- Working in 2 batches, add chicken and cook each batch 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and has lost its pink color throughout, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from pan.
- Reduce heat to medium-high; add remaining marinade to the wok and heat to boiling.
- In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water; whisk the cornstarch mixture into the marinade, and boil 1 minute.
- Return the chicken to the wok; cook 1 minute or until heated through.
- Serve over rice sprinkled with green onions.
This is another easy dessert–the only kind I make– courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen. I’ve adapted it to bring together one of my favorite flavor combinations; chocolate and orange but I think lemon would be equally as good. To add depth to the cake, I use a combination of semi sweet and bittersweet chocolate.
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE-ORANGE CAKE
1 pound semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
1/4 cup strong coffee
Zest from 1 orange
8 large eggs, cold
Confectioners sugar or cocoa powder (for serving)
12 orange or Mandarin sections (for serving)
2 ounces dark chocolate melted (for serving)
Colored sugar crystals (for serving)
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat an 8-inch spring form pan with vegetable oil spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with two sheets of heavy-duty foil and set in a large roasting plan. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
- Heat the chocolate, butter, and coffee together in a large bowl in the microwave, whisking often, until the mixture is melted and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Fold the orange zest into the chocolate mixture.
- Whip the eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until they double in volume, 5 to 10 minutes. Fold one-third of the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture using a large rubber spatula until only a few streaks of egg are visible. Repeat twice more with the remaining eggs, then continue to fold until there are no more streaks.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan inside of the roasting pan and smooth the top. Set the roasting pan on the oven rack and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the edges are just beginning to set, a thin glazed crust has formed on the surface, and an instant read thermometer inserted halfway into the center reads 140 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove the spring form pan from the water bath and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 3 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- About 30 minutes before serving, run a paring knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, then remove the sides of the pan. Invert the cake on a parchment-lined plate and peel off the parchment from the bottom. Flip the cake upright onto a serving platter, discard the second piece of parchment, and let come to room temperature.
- Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar.
- Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and dip each orange section into the melted chocolate then dip in colored sugar crystals. Place evenly along the edges of the cake.
YIELD: one 8 or 9 inch cake; serves 10 to 12
Does the cold, gray post holiday weather have you down? Are you dreaming of warmer and sunnier days? I know I am but in the meantime I’m keeping myself warm with this rich and spicy hot chocolate adapted from my all time favorite food podcast, The Splendid Table.
The combination of cinnamon, vanilla and orange zest bring a warming comfort to this drink and the chocolate makes it simply rich and divine. I like to use a combination of Belgian chocolates in my drink. And to make this drink that much more decadent, I’d added a splash of heavy cream to this otherwise dairy free drink. You don’t have to but go ahead and do it. It is sure to cheer you up during this post holiday slump!
BOLOGNESE HOT CHOCOLATE
4 4-inch cinnamon sticks, crushed
2 to 4 8-inch long vanilla beans, split
zest of one small orange
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
2 quarts (8 cups) water
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
- Combine all ingredients except chocolate, vanilla extract and heavy cream in a 4-quart pot.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, leave the spot covered, and let steep 15 to 20 minutes.
- Strain the mixture into an 8-quart pot.
- Return the pot to the stove setting it over medium heat.
- Add the chocolate to the mixture and stir until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Whisk until just below the boil then stir in the vanilla and the cream.
- Serve immediately.