Duck à l’Orange
Duck, a rich meat, pairs well with fruit; Duck à l’Orange is a traditional dish, beautifully prepared at Arnaud’s. The glaze-like sauce is used over and around the ducklings.
- Oranges - 3
- Ducklings - 2, about 3 pounds each, cleaned
- Coarsely ground salt
- Celery - 1 stalk, cut into large pieces
- Carrots - 2, cut into large pieces
- Onion - 1, cut into large pieces
- Garlic Bulbs - 1 whole, halved
- Unsalted Butter - 8 tablespoons, at room temperature
- Coarse Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Red Wine Vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Grand Marnier Liqueur - 3 ounces
- Arrowroot - 1 ounce, diluted with 1/2 cup Chablis wine
- Duck Stock or Demi-glace - 2 cups
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Parsley Sprigs - 4
Peel the oranges. Cut any white pith from the skins and julienne the skin for garnish. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Rub the ducklings with salt. Make a bed of celery, carrot, onion, and garlic in a large roasting pan. Put the ducklings, breast-side up, on the vegetables. Put 2 tablespoons of soft butter on top of each duckling. Roast for 45 minutes, keeping the meat slightly underdone. Baste every 5 to 6 minutes with pan juices.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar and red wine vinegar in a saucepan and reduce until the mixture caramelizes. Add 1 ounce of the Grand Marnier and the juice of 1 orange, and stir up the glaze from the bottom of the pan. Simmer to reduce by one third. Stir the arrowroot mixture into the sauce to thicken; set aside off the heat.
Take the roasted ducklings out of the pan and set aside in a warm place to rest. Drain the fat off the vegetables. Add the remaining Grand Marnier to the roasting pan, place the pan over medium heat, and simmer, stirring up the glaze from the bottom of the pan. Add the juice from the remaining oranges, the duck stock or demi-glace, and the caramelized wine sauce. Boil to reduce by one third. Strain into a saute pan and reduce again by one fourth, or to a syrupy consistency. Whisk in the remaining four tablespoons of butter, two pieces at a time.
To serve: Place a duckling on each serving plate. Drizzle with sauce and garnish with julienned orange peel and parsley sprigs.
Chef Aubert’s elaborate presentation begins with an entire unsliced loaf of bread, cut in half on the diagonal to make two large wedges. The bread is scored, buttered, and toasted to golden brown. It is placed on a large silver serving platter, thick ends together in the center. The ducklings are arrayed on these toasted “ramps” and the sauce is drizzled over them and pooled on the platter. He finishes the presentation with julienned orange peel sprinkled on the ducklings, and a cluster of parsley and carved radishes in the center between the ducklings. He adds orange slices, and a carved orange basket filled with more parsley and radish blooms.