Julia Child's Roast Duck with Orange Sauce (Canard a l'Orange)

posted by Southern 07-29-99 11:24 AM

Source: Julia Child "The French Chef Cookbook"

Julia Child's Roast Duck with Orange Sauce (Canard a l'orange)

Select and thaw duck (up to 2 days in advance):
To serve 4 to 5 people, choose a genuine duckling under 6 months old, It should weigh 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 pounds, plucked and cleaned and ready to cook.

It will probably be frozen.

To thaw:
Either refrigerate duck in its plastic bag for 2 days or unwrap and set it in a sinkful of cold water for several hours.

Take giblet package from the cavity as soon as the duck has thawed enough to allow it to be removed.

Prepare stock for the sauce (either the day before or several hours in advance):
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Duck giblets, neck, and wing ends
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup beef bouillon
2 cups water
4 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, and 1/4 teaspoon sage

Heat oil in a frying pan.

Chop giblets, neck, and duck wing ends into 1-inch pieces. Brown with carrot and onion slices, then transfer to heavy saucepan.

Add bouillon and enough water to cover all by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer. Skim off scum, then add parsley, bay leaf, and sage. Simmer 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Strain and skim off all fat. Boil down to 2 cups of liquid.

Remove from heat and let sit until cold. Cover and refrigerate until needed. (This sauce should be prepared well ahead of time, so that the dish is within 2 or 3 minutes of being done when the duck is roasted.)

Prepare the orange peel (several hours in advance):
1 quart water
4 brightly colored oranges, preferably navel or Valencia

Heat water in a pot. Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to remove strips of the skin (just the orange colored part). Cut into small strips no more than 1/16-inch wide and 1-1/2 inches long (fine julienne).

To remove its bitterness, simmer orange peel in water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water, and dry in paper towels. Wrap orange peel and peeled oranges in waxed paper, then refrigerate until ready to use.

Some of the peel goes into the sauce and some goes into the duck, while the orange segments are to be used as a garnish.

Prepare the duck (either in advance or just before ready to roast):
Pull out all loose fat from around inside of neck and from the cavity. Cut out wishbone from inside the neck cavity, in order to make carving the breast meat easier. Chop off the lower part of the wing (which is mostly bone) at the elbow.

Make sure that the fat glands at the base of the tail have been removed, digging out any yellow residue that may remain and rubbing the area with salt and lemon juice.

Prick the skin at 1/2-inch intervals along the back, the thighs, and the lower part of the breast, which will help the layer of subcutaneous fat escape during cooking.

Wrap and refrigerate duck until shortly before ready to roast.

Roast the duck (which should take about 1 hour and 30 to 40 minutes):
5-lb. duck, ready-to-cook
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 of the cooked orange peel

To ensure accurate timing, allow duck to come to room temperature before roasting. Dry carcass thoroughly.

Season cavity with salt and pepper, then add the orange peel. Truss wings and legs to body, then close cavity.

* To roast on a rotary spit, use moderately high heat.

* To roast in an oven, place in a shallow roasting pan with rack, just large enough to hold the duck easily.

Preheat oven to 450 °F.

Set duck on rack in roasting pan, breast up, then place in oven. After 15 minutes, turn temperature down to 350 °F. Every 15 minutes, turn duck from one side to the other, setting it on its back during the last 15 minutes. Basting is not necessary.

As prepared in the French manner, the meat is juicy and cooked to just under the well-done stage.

When done,the juices should run faintly rosy to clear when a fork is used to deeply prick the thickest part of the drumstick.

When the duck is drained, the last drops of juice from the vent should run faintly rosy to clear yellow.

Finish preparing the sauce (while the duck roasts):
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups of duck stock
2 tablespoons arrowroot blended with 2 tablespoons port
The rest of the orange peel
The skinned oranges

In a small saucepan, blend together sugar and vinegar. Swirl over heat to melt sugar completely, then boil rapidly until mixture turns a caramel-brown color. Remove from heat.

Beat in half of the duck stock, dissolving the caramel by stirring as mixture simmers. Remove from heat.

Pour in the rest of the duck stock, then blend in the arrowroot mixture. Add orange peel and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully correct seasoning.

The sauce should be clear and lightly thickened.

Prepare orange sections shortly before serving (since they will not taste fresh if this task is done too far in advance).

Remove bitter white membrane, then cut oranges into neat, skinless segments. Refrigerate in a covered bowl until serving time.

Complete final assembly (just before serving):
1 roasted duck
1/2 cup dry port
2 to 3 tablespoons orange liqueur
A few drops of orange bitters or lemon juice
The prepared sauce base
2 to 3 tablespoons butter, softened
Orange sections and orange peel

Place roast duck on serving platter, discarding the trussing strings.

Keep duck warm in a turned-off oven until ready to serve. Spoon fat out of roasting pan, then pour in port wine and scrape up all coagulated roasting juices with a wooden spoon.

Pour this mixture into sauce, add orange liqueur, and bring to a simmer.

Taste carefully, adding drops of bitters or lemon juice if sauce seems too sweet.

Just before serving, remove sauce from heat and swirl in butter, one tablespoonful at a time.

Use a few orange sections to garnish duck breast, while piling the others at either end of the serving platter.

Pour sauce and orange peel into a warm sauceboat, spooning a little over duck.

Serve alongside potatoes (and she suggests sautéed or shoestring potatoes or homemade potato chips) with an excellent white Burgundy or red Bordeaux-Médoc wine.

SOURCE: Julia Child, "The French Chef Cookbook" (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968)

Go to Mimi's Archive Page

Return to Mimi's Recipe Request Line