Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
If you wish to impress guests, try this recipe. It's a classic recipe and it is NOT difficult to make. The ingredients are freely available. Just keep in mind that the average duck has little meat on its carcass: once you've served the two breast halves, you're left with child's portion legs. It sounds extravagant, but I buy 1 average duck per 2 persons. (Very large birds can be tough, beware). Whatever is left, can be used to make a wonderful soup (with a few tweaks). As duck has a lot of fat, I prefer to pre-roast it, breasts pricked, to render some of the fat, before I start with the recipe. To prevent oven spatters, use an oven bag for this pre-roasting. You should, however, keep the fat which cooks out and (think of French cooking!) use it to roast potatoes. It was heartening to read recently the chemical breakdowns of animal fats: turns out they have lots of mono and poly-unsaturates too, and duck and goose fat are not at all bad for us!
- 2 ducks, about 3 lbs each, plump
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 cup duck broth, made with giblets of duck, otherwise use commercial chicken broth
- 2 oranges, plump, ripe
- 1 tablespoon brandy or 1 tablespoon Cointreau liqueur or 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
- 3 ounces sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 stalks celery, long, finely chopped
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- white pepper
- orange slice (extra for garnish)
- Heat oven to 400 deg F/200 deg Celsius.
- Prick the duck breasts, put ducks into 2 oven bags, put in an oven tin, and roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
- During that time, boil sugar and vinegar together in small heavy-bottomed pot until it's like toffee.
- Also grate the rind from the oranges, avoiding the white pith, and then juice the oranges. Quantity is not all-important.
- VERY carefully pour in the cup of broth or stock -- it wil sizzle and bubble, so stand back a little.
- Add the orange juice, rind and the brandy. (Rum will do in a pinch if you really have none of the liquors mentioned, but other hard liquors are not the same in this case as brandy or an orange liqueur).
- Stir the sauce mixture with a whisk over very low heat until the "toffee" has melted into the juice and booze.
- Take the ducks from the oven, cut open the bags, and remove the ducks carefully to a suitable container. What you do with the fat is your decision -- !
- Carve off the four breast pieces neatly, and cut off the legs in 4 whole sections. Do not divide up.
- Arrange the breasts and legs neatly in an oven dish, ladle over the sauce, and return the dish to the still-hot oven for about 20 minutes more, or until duck is tender. (We will not bother with underdone breasts in this recipe). DO NOT BASTE.
- Don't clean the small pot: you'll need it again.
- (If your oven is as hot as mine, turn the heat down to 350 deg F/180 deg C for this last part of the roasting).
- Now fry the flaked almonds in the melted butter until pale brown -- keep a watch, they burn quickly.
- Take the duck from the oven, transfer the pieces to a heated serving platter, sprinkle with salt, and scatter over the almonds. Keep warm, uncovered.
- Return the sauce in the oven dish to the small pot, add the chopped celery and onion, and simmer only until celery softens. Taste for seasoning, using some salt and pepper.
- Pour the sauce into a gravy boat, or if a lot has cooked away, ladle around duck on platter. (Not on the duck -- it will lose its crispness).
- Surround duck with thinly-sliced orange slices, if you want.
- Serve with basmati rice or South African Yellow Rice, and a green vegetable such as young green beans.
WOW, sooo goood! I didn't expect somthing soooo delicious!
I placed my duck (2.3 kg) in an oven mold with lid and 1 cup of water, as this is not tight as an oven bag. After one hour I remouved the fat (about 200 ml!) and after cutting the duck I added the sauce prepared in advance.
During this time I I braised the onion in one tablespoon of the melted duck-fat, I added the pieces of celery root (I didn't have stalks celery). 5 minutes later I adjusted the vegetables around the duck and topped with the almond and returned the dish to the still-hot oven for about 20 minutes more.
Served with cestnuts gnocchi!
Thanks for this fantastic recipe and the great experience.
This quantity was enogh for lunch and for dinner together!