I tried to make duck like a normal person. I really did. I got out a nice happy orange, I scored the skin, and I discovered that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want some cloyingly sweet, too-liquid meal. Duck has a huge amount of fat under the skin, so keeping the meat moist is not an issue. At the same time, I wanted to see how orange worked with duck, and I’m not completely opposed to sweetness in an entree, so I compromised.
I made not-quite-duck-à-l’orange. And well, let’s just see what happened.
Ingredients (serves 2)
1/2 of a duck (I’d already eaten the legs and wings, but go ahead and leave yours on if you want)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
zest of 1 orange
1/2 t mustard powder
1 t kosher salt
1 sweet potato
2-3 T red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Score through the fat later of the duck. Rub the garlic into the skin, then top with orange zest, mustard powder, salt, and any other spices you want to play with. Peel the sweet potato and chop into bite sized pieces. Arrange all this in an 8×8 pan, and bake 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, pull the pan out of the oven to flip the sweet potato bits. Spoon out about 1 T of duck fat for making sauce. Drizzle 2-3 T of vinegar over the duck. Return to the oven and bake another 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, make some sauce.
Juice of one orange
1/2 cup red wine
1 T duck fat
1 T mustard
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, and simmer to reduce by half or until it’s a thickness that makes you happy.
When the duck is nice and cooked, serve with sweet potatoes and some steamed veggies.
I have to say, it was good. The orange and long roasting made the sweet potatoes surprisingly sweet and smoky. The duck itself came out tender and moist, which made me wonder why so many duck à l’orange recipes call for cups of both orange juice and broth, which seem like they would just contribute to a greasy meal. I guess I should try the normal method before I knock it, though. I’m probably missing something.