Canard (Duck) à l’Orange

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3 – 4 duck breasts – bones removed

salt and pepper for seasonging


2 organges – sectioned with the peel cut into julienne pieces

1/4 cup (60ml) Cointreau or Grand Marnier

Orange Sauce

2 Tbsp (30g) sugar

1/4 cup (60ml) red wine vinegar

2/3 cup (160ml) orange juice

1 1/4 (310ml) chicken stock

To thicken sauce: 

3 Tbsp port or red wine

2 Tbsp arrowroot or white cornflour


Pre-Heat over to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius)

To prepare the orange peel garnish, cut the orange peel into rough strips, about 1/2 inch wide. Avoid including the white pith when you cut the strips, as it has a bitter taste.

Square off the edges of each strip using very sharp knife and then slide each strip into very thin julienne. Place the julienne pieces into a shallow pan of cold water, bring to the boil and blanche for two minutes (this will soften any bitter taste remaining in the orange peel).

Transfer the orange julienne pieces to a bowl and add the Cointreau or Grand Mariner on top of the orange peel; allow to soak.

Now section the orange pieces: with the remaining orange pulp, slice off the very top and bottom of the orange. Using a sharp paring knife, remove each individual orange section, cutting in between each membrane. Place the orange slices in a bowl and cover with a bit of orange juice to keep moist while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Now prepare the orange sauce: place sugar and red wine vinegar together in a saucepan and whisk over medium high heat for several minutes until the mixture turns a deep reddish brown color. Add the orange juice and chicken stock and whisk over medium heat until the sauce reduces the about 2/3 of the original volume – this will take about 5 – 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Prepare the duck breasts: trim the fat around the edges of each breast and score the top of each breast ( the white fat part ) using a sharp knife. Your knife should only slice through the fat and not puncture into the duck meat. Season both sides of each breast with salt and pepper.

Cook the meat; Add a small amount of oil to a fry pan and place over a high heat. Sear the scored fat side of each deck breast first for about three minutes until golden brown and crispy. Turn the breast over and cook for about four minutes over medium heat.

Remove each breast from the pan and make a small incision on the bottom, about an inch deep. This helps to cook the inside of the breast more easily. Now wrap each breast in foil and place in the over for 4 – 5 minutes, until the inside is cooked until pink in color. If the inside is still red, continue cooking for another few minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the meat rest covered in foil for 10 – 15 minutes. Drain the fat from the fry pan; over medium heat, add some water or stock to the pan and use a spatula to scrape the brown ‘cooked bits’ off the bottom of the pan. Stir and then add this liquid to the Orange Sauce (continue from step #6).

To finish the Orange Sauce, add the Cointreau or Grand Mariner that was used to soak the orange julienne slices. Continue to whisk the sauce over medium heat until it reduces further. Combine the white corn flour and port together to make a paste and then add to the Orange Sauce to help thicken it further. The sauce should be rather thick in consistency, but not heavy like molasses.

To place the dish, slice the duck breast horizontally into thin slices, pour some sauce over the top of the meat, place a little of the orange julienne slices on top of the  meat and arrange a few orange slices around the side.