Duck à l’orange. Sounds sorta fussy and froufrou, doesn’t it? Not this contemporary and easy riff on the classic orange duck, which calls for just a quick marinade and a simple cooking technique.
Duck à l’orange gets a modern makeover in this sophisticated yet simple riff on a French classic. What makes it newsworthy and notable is the zingy addition of jalapeño, ginger, and scallions. Fusion food at its finest.–Angie Zoobkoff
Duck à l’Orange
For the orange sauce
- 2 oranges preferably organic, scrubbed
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Start the orange sauce
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges in long strips and toss them in a bowl. Juice the oranges and add the juice to the bowl along with the brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and white pepper. Transfer half the orange mixture to a small bowl to use for the orange sauce, cover, and refrigerate.
Make the duck à l’orange
- Combine the remaining orange sauce mixture with the duck breasts in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight. (Alternatively, if you’re pressed for time, you can skip the marinating and go straight to searing the duck since the final sauce contributes most of the orange flavor to the duck. Go ahead and use all the orange sauce mixture in the final orange sauce—you’ll simply have more orange sauce to drizzle, dunk, and douse your duck breast.)
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C)
- Remove the duck breasts from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Pat the duck breasts dry with paper towels. Using a paring knife, score the skin by making slices 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep, spacing them about 1/2 inch (12 mm) apart. Be careful not to cut into the meat beneath the skin and fat.
- Place the breasts, skin side down, in an ovenproof sauté pan or cast-iron skillet that’s large enough to contain both duck breasts without crowding them. Place the pan over low heat and cook the duck for about 15 minutes, allowing the fat to render, or melt, very slowly and pouring off the fat as it accumulates in the pan. (You can reserve the fat for another use. We suggest you sizzle or roast up some potatoes after you toss them in the rendered duck fat.)
- Transfer the pan with the duck breasts to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the duck breast registers 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare or 140°F (60°C) for medium. You’ll want to check the duck after 10 minute but it could take as long as 25 minutes. When the duck is done, transfer it to a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet, tent the duck breasts loosely with foil, and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
- Carefully pour off the excess fat from the pan used to cook the duck and return the pan to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, toss in the shallot, jalapeño, and scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into 1/4 cup chicken stock. Add the orange mixture, the cornstarch mixture, and the remaining 1/4 cup chicken stock to the pan, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring until warmed through and lightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
- To serve, thinly slice the duck breasts against the grain and arrange on a platter. Pour the warm sauce over the duck. Serve with steamed rice on the side.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This duck à l’orange was outstanding. The flavor of the orange sauce was so rich and the duck itself was moist and tender. It was relatively quick to put together but turned out like a restaurant-quality meal. The sauce came together easily and there was plenty of it for dipping and drizzling over rice. My duck needed 25 minutes in the oven at 300°F to reach an internal temp of 135°F. The duck breasts were on the small side with a total weight of 1 pound, 2 ounces for the 2 of them. I marinated the duck for 3 1/2 hours.
This duck à l’orange was my first time cooking duck and it wasn’t nearly as complicated as I thought it would be. This is an easy-to-follow recipe made with easy-to-find ingredients. Delicious and tender.
The orange sauce that was poured over the sliced duck meat was delicious and imparted the classic flavor that you would expect from a duck à l’orange recipe. I used half the marinade on the duck meat overnight but there was no discernible flavor from the marinade in the duck breast after it cooked. But the concoction was very good and works well at the end as a sauce that was very good and definitely reflected the marinade ingredients. I made a 1-pound duck breast which served two of us.
Originally published January 06, 2017