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Duck à l’Orange

Duck à l’orange, aka Canard a la Bigarade, is a classic French dish consisting of whole roasted duck with orange sauce. It is probably one of the most well known of all the duck dishes. It is said that it was the American chef, Julia Child, who made Duck à l’Orange famous with her popular recipe book,  Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). Child, who was the first chef to It is believed by many that Duck à l’orange had its heyday in the 1960’s when every French restaurant served it, but it can still be found on many restaurant menu’s worldwide. Be sure to also try my recipe for Duck Breast With Orange Sauce.

1 x 2 kg duck
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Orange Sauce
125 ml castor sugar
90 ml white wine or cider vinegar
4 oranges
125 ml Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

orange segments or slices

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 ° C.
  2. Use a needle or sharp knife point to pierce the skin of the duck all over. Be careful to not pierce the meat itself.
  3. Season the ducks well on all sides and transfer the duck to the rack of a roasting pan.
  4. Cover with foil and roast the duck for 90 minutes. 
  5. To make the sauce, remove the rind of the orange with a vegetable peeler. Cut the rind into julienne strips and set it aside.
  6. Juice two of the oranges and set the juice aside.
  7. Cut segments from the other two oranges and set it aside. Alternatively, slice the oranges thinly.
  8. Combine the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  9. Boil over a high heat, without stirring, until the mixture is a rich caramel colour.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and add the orange juice.
  11. Return the pan to the heat and bring it to a boil.
  12. Add the Grand Marnier and orange rind and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  13. Season the sauce to taste and set it aside.
  14. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and increase the heat to 200 ° C.
  15. Pour off all the fat from the tin.
  16. Return the roasting pan to the oven and roast the duck uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, bastring three of four times with the sauce until the duck is golden brown and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a knife.
  17. Transfer the duck to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil leave to stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
  18. Pour the roasting juices into the pan with the rest of the sauce and simmer gently.
  19. Transfer the duck to a serving plate and garnish it with orange segments or slices and fresh rosemary.
  20. Serve the duck with fresh bread, polenta or couscous with the rest of the sauce on the side.

4 to 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from original recipe from

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