Duck à l’Orange

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I’m just going to come right out and say it. I don’t know why I find cooking birds of a feather so challenging…or well…daunting. This all stems back from my Thanksgiving post and roasting my first turkey. I stress about it, thinking about it sitting in my refrigerator for a week and then when it comes time to cook it….it’s so easy.

Before Christmas, my dad and I had been discussing how the supermarket by my house had a ton of frozen ducks (and rabbits) and how you don’t often find them in your average shop. So, recently when I noticed they had been slowly declining in numbers, I decided to buy one….with absolutely no plans in mind.

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So of course I texted my dad- “I bought a duck!!…..what the hell do I do with it?” and he sent me 4 recipes a la Jacques Pépin. 3 of them required actually cutting up the duck into pieces but one of course was the tried and true- Duck à l’Orange. Since I didn’t want to disassemble my duck on the first go with it I knew I had to go with the basics.

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And wouldn’t you know it, roasting the duck was the easiest part. Since my duck came with an “orange sauce packet” in it i quickly tossed it in the trash (just kidding, I put it aside in case all this blew up in my face) and opened up my recipe that was sent to me.

The sauce itself takes a lot of prep and about halfway through I thought- “No wonder people would just use the pre made sauce packet”. But I imagine it far less tasty. Or maybe it would be just as good but it wouldn’t have that distinct taste of “i just spent 2 hours prepping a sauce to go on the side”.

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I was please that you do use every bit of the duck, you trim off the wing tips and sauté them with the gizzards and neck. Poor Portia who usually gets the neck of the chicken/turkey had to settle for a carrot.

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…which I found later that evening half chewed on the stairs. I guess bad eye sight in in her future.

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I also of core followed this recipe word for word and squeezed my own orange juice, my entire kitchen was a sticky mess. and good thing that my recipe had me purchase extra oranges for garnish because the ones they reserved for squeezing did not give me enough juice, so..not cute orange slices for decoration.

Fun fact about me: I hate orange juice. Something about pre-pressed fruit boxed up and sitting around totally grosses me out. You know how everyone has that one food that they can’t stand to look at? (A lot of people its things like..tomatoes..onions…fish ext) Well, mine is orange juice or any pre-prepared fruit (like fruit salad, YUCK.) Don’t get me wrong I like fresh fruit and I can tolerate this orange juice that I squeezed myself but you won’t catch any of it in my fridge.

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Black currant jelly is also a required ingredient. I started asking my father where the hell would I buy it and he’s was like “next to the grape jelly? It used to be all over I remember having it as a kid.” Well, that must have been way popular back in the olden days (haha, don’t kill me dad) but I had to dig deep to find the few jars at my local store.

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I paired my dinner with a simple mixed green salad with a home made red wine and dijon mustard vinaigrette dressing and some wild mixed rice.

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Ducks have much less meat on them than our hormonally challenged supermarket roaster chickens so one duck will only be enough for about 2 people. It might seem like a bit of work having to turn it on its sides (see recipe to follow) but it’s so much tastier than chicken. I love it, I could eat it all day…and then i’d probably have a heart attack from all the fat content. To be honest the recipe yielded SO much more sauce than I needed. I just barely splashed my meat with it and it was amazing.

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I’m not going to post the recipe here since like blah blah books and copyrights. But, I will post a link to where Food & Wine posted it originally-

Duck à l’Orange

But if you are thinking about that vinaigrette that put on my salad, here is the recipe I use. It’s sort of a “quick” way of making it that I do instead of whisking it and slowly adding your oil, like you would traditionally do and it’s just as good.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Smash your clove of garlic on a cutting board with a knife and work it with some salt so make a paste. Then put it in a mason jar (or sometimes I save old pasta sauce jars for occasions such as this) add everything else. Shake the hell out of it. And Voila! Dressing. Bye.

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