Just a quick glance at the worktop was enough for Madhouse Daddy to guess what was for dinner - the French classic, duck à l'orange. It's a recipe I've always known about but never tried so I had no real idea of what I was aiming for. A quick google search revealed a multitude of variations. I went for a simple option - an amalgam of several recipes - and it was quick, fuss-free and above all lovely. The sweetness of the oranges and slight sharpness from the vinegar perfectly offset the richness of the duck meat.
Duck à l'orange
2 magrets de canard (duck breasts)
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
a good slosh of orange juice
1 chicken stock cube
Peel the orange, cut off as much pith as possible (in other words, pith off !) and cut into slices.
I had a little bottle of Willy's Apple Cider Vinegar from the latest Degustabox which promises "this product will change your life". I don't know about that but it did work very well in the recipe !
Put the sugar and vinegar in a saucepan and stir together over a low heat until they caramelise but don't change colour.
Add a slosh of orange juice and stir it into the caramel.
Add a chicken stock cube and stir over a low heat until perfectly dissolved.
Score the skin of the duck breast in a criss-cross pattern, cutting through the skin and fat and just into the meat. I found a feather stuck to my fingers when doing this - oh well, I suppose it shows it was fresh !
Add another glug of orange juice to the sauce and bring to a boil to reduce.
Fry the duck breast in a frying pan, skin side down for 10 minutes.
Drain off the rendered fat and reserve - this can be used for making lush roast potatoes. Return the duck breasts to the pan, skin side up, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Check to see if it needs longer - it should still be pink in the middle. Leave to rest for 15-30 minutes under a sheet of foil.
Lower the heat on the reduced sauce, taste and adjust seasoning/add extra orange juice if necessary, then lay the orange slices in the sauce.
Serve the duck on a plate with whatever you're serving it with - we went for Aalo Ko Achar, Nepalese potato salad. (Click through for the recipe.)
Lay orange slices on top of the duck (or arrange them on the edge of the plate if you prefer) and drizzle over some of the sauce.
Bon appétit !
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