duck a l’orange

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recipe: Roast Duck with Orange Gravy

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

Roast Duck I whined earlier that birthdays just after New Year’s Day can be tricky – even though so much rich food has been consumed already over Christmas and New Year’s, the birthday dinner still has to be special.

After the agonizing decision about the cake of black forest cake, the not very rich (oh no, not at all! :lalala: ) choice of roast duck was made. Yup. This year, we just pretended that we hadn’t already been stuffing our faces as if there were no tomorrow.

Some years ago, we clipped out of the Globe and Mail, the article “Three Ways to Duck Heaven” by Lucy Waverman. The method described for roasting a duck is wonderful. In the past when we have made it, the skin virtually crackles.

roast duck We don’t know what happened this time. It looks great, I know. But the skin wasn’t as crispy as we’d hoped and the meat wasn’t as tender either. (I’m thinking that perhaps we sprinkled on a little too much salt and it’s possible that our oven thermostat is way off and the oven was too hot.) Then again, maybe we’re just too demanding…

But don’t get me wrong. It tasted fantastic.

wine And the wine that went with this feast was even better than we could have hoped. We couldn’t believe our fortune at finding a bottle of La Dominique 1986 (St. Emilion grand cru) hiding in our stash! When we bought it, we paid what we thought was a fortune: Cdn$33. (I still think that $33 for a bottle of wine is a fortune…) Who knows what it would have fetched in January 2008?!

And did it stand up? You bet! The wine was still complex and fruity!! And because it was such great wine, there was plenty left to have with a small wedge of roccolo cheese just before we dug into the cake. (I did say that we were just pretending that we hadn’t already been stuffing our faces for two weeks previous to that, didn’t I?)

I must say it’s very romantic to be drinking great wine made from grapes that were growing in the very summer that we met. Yes, indeed, 1986 was a good year.

Here is what T did to make the duck:

Roast Duck
first part of this recipe is based a recipe in “Three Ways to Duck Heaven” by Lucy Waverman, published in the Globe and Mail some years ago*

This low heat, long-cooking method makes for a perfectly cooked duck. Under any circumstances, try to get a fresh (not previously frozen) duck. It’s way better. When done the meat of the duck is perfectly tender and falling off the bone. The skin is beautifully crisp.


  • 1 duck (5 lb)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • dried thyme, seasalt and pepper, to taste

Orange Gravy

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 navel oranges, zest and juice
  • cider vinegar, to taste
  • splash of wine, optional
  • sugar, optional
  • seasalt and pepper, to taste


  1. Duck Preheat the oven to 250F. Wash and pat the duck dry. Using a fork, prick the skin all over to release the fat. Put the duck on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  2. Massage the outside of the duck with good quality soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with a generous amount of dried thyme and a little seasalt and pepper.
  3. Roast at 250F for 3 hours.
  4. Raise the temperature to 375F and roast for a further 15 minutes.
  5. Gravy Drain some of the fat from the roasting pan and set it aside (use it to make oven-roasted potatoes!) Add a chopped onion to the bottom of the pan. Continue roasting the duck for 30 minutes more or until the juices run clear.
  6. Remove the duck from roasting pan and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before carving.
  7. Drain any excess fat from the pan. Put the pan on the stove over medium heat. Add flour and stir til the flour is encorporated. Then stir in water, cider vinegar, orange juice and zest. Stir with a wooden spoon until it is the right thickness. Add more water if it gets too thick and/or add a splash of wine if you have it. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If it seems too tart, add a little sugar.

Serve with oven-roasted potatoes, green vegetable and garnish with fresh herbs.

(If you stuff the duck, cook it an extra 15 minutes at 250F.)

* We foolishly cut off the date from the page of “Three Ways to Duck Heaven” by Lucy Waverman, published some time in the 1980s (or was it 1990s??) in the Globe and Mail. Lucy Waverman’s duck recipes are not on her site but there are a number of other good looking recipes at Lucy’s Kitchen.

(click on images for larger views and more photos)

The duck carcass made fantastic stock. Once the stock was made, we reduced it and served it under a grilled chop. The amazing thing was that we added zero salt to the stock but when it was reduced, it needed no salt. It was fabulous!

Elise (Simply Recipes) recently roasted wild duck and served it with wild rice. It sounds fantastic! Take a look:


This entry was posted in anniversaries, food & drink, main course, posts with recipes on by .

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1 response to “duck a l’orange

  1. katie

    1986 was a wonderful year in Bordeaux! What a find! I’m afraid, what with all of our moving around, we don’t have anything much older than the mid 90’s…and very few of those. And we’re buying much less expensive ones now… I like to think we are buying smarter…
    Great looking duck and it sounds like a wonderful celebration!


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