Duck a l’Orange

Charlie and Sammy were the names of my pet ducks when I was a kid. Charlie was a black and white muscovy and Sammy was a gray and white muscovy duck. They were big and fat and loved to swim in our little 1 acre pond. They each had female mates, although I don’t remember their names. They were extremely tame. They followed you around closely in the hopes of food. They happily tried to talk quake at us, I’m pretty sure they were just saying, “More corn please!” The females laid lots of eggs, almost always under the same big fern tree, and we always gathered them to eat. We loved to eat duck eggs because of their richness. They are great any way you would fix a chicken egg, and make cakes and other sweets so much better. Every once in a while though, the female ducks would make a new nest in another hiding spot. Before you would know it, baby ducks would be slowly tagging after mommy duck in the pond. They were so adorable! But slowly, the duck population grew. Then the ducks started multiplying, I couldn’t keep up with naming them all, let alone remember their names. The ducks were getting out of hand, they had no natural predators, and no one wanted any of our free cute little ducks.

The reality of living rural on a farm was about to become a reality. My father and his friend decided on a duck hunt. Well, it wasn’t really a hunt, more like a duck shoot. I couldn’t be a part of it. I had partaken in a chicken slaughter a couple of years previously, but it didn’t really seem the same. Ducks seem smarter, and it was harder for me. I stayed inside as I heard the shotguns fire off round after round. It took about 10 minutes, probably less time than that,  to get more than 30 ducks. My dad’s friend took all but one. Duck is very fatty, and my mother was on her never ending diet, and insisted on just one duck, Sammy. I helped clean him, and we roasted him with Oranges. He was very tasty, a little tough because of his age, but nonetheless, very good.

Sine then, I only have duck when we go out, but I had never made one myself at home. There’s one real Chinese restaurant here in Orlando that roasts them whole. The beautiful mahogany ducks hang from their necks in a glass case in the restaurant. A few weeks ago I spotted whole ducks at Aldi’s at a great price (my new favorite discount grocery) and decided to try cooking one at home. I had seem Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode on duck. I used his ideas of steaming first and then roasting. But, instead of steaming the duck on the cook-top, I used a pan that I very tightly wrapped in aluminum foil so that the steam would be trapped. I then roasted the duck in a very hot oven until it was crispy. I used the pan drippings to make gravy and served the roasted duck with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. It was very delicious.

Be sure to reserve the leftover parts, gizzards, neck and back, to make stock with. I made my stock at the same time the duck was roasting and will use it for a special recipe surprise coming soon!

recipe photo

Duck a l'Orange

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1 whole duck, neck and gizzards removed, cut up
5 oranges
1/4 cup grand marnier
kosher salt
a few sprigs of fresh thyme


Cut up duck into the leg quarters and breasts. Remove and reserve the back, neck, and gizzards. I also separated out the drummete. Salt and pepper duck. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place duck on a baking rack on a baking pan. Juice one orange into the bottom of the pan.

Slice other oranges and place them on top of the duck. Place thyme and grand marnier in bottom of pan. Cover pan very, very tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Remove duck from oven. Preheat a large skillet and turn oven temperature to 475 degrees. Place leg quarters in the pan, skin side down. Place skillet in oven and bake at 475 degrees for 10 minutes. Now add the dusk breasts. Continue to bake until skin is crisp and a rich dark mahogany brown.

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*Nutritional Information is not guaranteed for 100% accuracy.

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  11 Responses to “Duck a l’Orange”

  1. Robin — May 5, 2010 @ 8:41 am

    The reality of living on a small farm, can be harsh. It didn’t bother me when the chickens met their demise, but when Pork Chop, actually became, well… pork chops, I swore off pork for many years.

    Great story and recipe.
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Freschetta Pizza Review & $1 Off Coupon =-.

  2. pegasuslegend — May 5, 2010 @ 9:05 am

    I have always wanted to try duck, but have heard you had to acquire a taste for it and it was greasy. Yours doenst at all look like that, it looks wonderful, I now will have to give this a try you have inspired me to…love the picture and story 🙂
    .-= pegasuslegend´s last blog ..Banana Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe =-.

  3. Italian delicatessen — May 5, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    It looks so good. I think i’m going to eat my screen…

  4. Kristi Rimkus — May 5, 2010 @ 10:05 am

    Wonderful picture! It looks delicious!
    .-= Kristi Rimkus´s last blog ..Mother Rimmy’s Take on Egg Rolls =-.

  5. 5 Star Foodie — May 5, 2010 @ 11:27 am

    Your duck looks terrific and what a gorgeous photo!
    .-= 5 Star Foodie´s last blog ..Braised Wild Boar Belly =-.

  6. redkathy — May 5, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

    I come from a long line of hunters yet have never prepared a duck! My mother and uncle did quite well preparing them. Looks as though your is done perfectly.
    .-= redkathy´s last blog ..All-Bran cereals® – Muffins and Coffee Cake =-.

  7. grace — May 5, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

    duck massacre! that would’ve traumatized me greatly–glad you escaped relatively unscathed. 🙂
    my favorite thing about this fancy dish is its name–it just rolls off the tongue, ya know?
    .-= grace´s last blog ..crumby, but not crummy =-.

  8. Bibi — May 6, 2010 @ 1:54 am

    My dad makes delicious duck. I always wanted to try to make it myself, but was afraid to. This is a great recipe. I might just face my fears and try it.
    .-= Bibi´s last blog ..Grandma’s Tomato Sauce =-.

  9. Joanne — May 6, 2010 @ 7:14 am

    I loved your story of your own personal experience with duck hunting. It definitely brought this dish to life!

  10. s. stockwell — May 6, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

    Love your post and yes, I had two ducks named Donald & Daisy. They thoughtfully ate all the snails in the garden and must have both been the same sex because we did not have little one? One day they were gone? Probably a hungry coyote? and yes, we love duck just about anyway at all. Best, s
    .-= s. stockwell´s last blog ..Monticello Garden Chartreuse =-.

  11. Gina — May 12, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    Love this post!! Great shot too. Duck L’Orange has become an inside joke between me and my husband. Every time we were snubbed at a resturant when we were in France we would say to eachother with our best Pepé Le Pew accent,”but where is zee Duck l’Orange?” Makes me snicker just thinking about it 😉

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