Thursday, January 2, 2020

Orange Sauce for Roast Duck

Orange Sauce for Roast Duck is a decadent accompaniment to the fowl, and much less fussy than the traditional Duck a l'Orange. The secret? Duck fat as a finisher and extra orange zest!


The end of December was the season of duck! It's been a relatively novel culinary experience for me - cooking it at least (N got to eat it!). I had never tried duck until I moved to Ottawa for university, but that was a restaurant. I only had the chance to cook the poultry this summer, when N picked up a plump breast from White House Meats and I gave it the cast iron skillet treatment. Apparently I didn't do a half-bad job, because for his birthday I was specifically asked to make a whole (slow) roasted bird, and then for kicks I picked up another breast as his second celebration meal!

Of course, while duck itself doesn't really need an accompaniment, there is the little matter of a traditional dish called Duck a l'Orange - my mom introduced me to it's concept when I was young, and commented that it, along with Crepes Suzette, were some of her favourites. Inspired, but not willing to over-complicate an already tricky (to me) roast process, I made an orange sauce to drizzle over the meat after it was cooked to perfection. I had leftover duck fat (from the breast) sitting in my freezer, so instead of the butter in the original recipe, I whisked that in. For extra flavour, I used raw sugar and raspberry wine vinegar which played off the fresh orange juice beautifully. All that was required was a touch of salt and pepper at the end - although rosemary or thyme would also be a perfect addition at serving time!

If you love sweet and savoury along with your meats, this sauce is right up your alley! It would work with other types of orange too - blood orange would really pop colour wise and add an exotic flavour, while clementines puree into a sweet juice and the peels are thin and mince-able with no need for a zester.

Orange Sauce for Roast Duck
Adapted from Ricardo
Makes ~2 cups
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 tbsp raspberry wine or champagne vinegar
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
zest of 2 oranges
1 tbsp tapioca starch
3 tbsp cold water
3 tbsp duck fat (or butter)
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
pinch black pepper
  1. Combine sugar and vinegar in a small pot over medium-high heat and let melt.
  2. When fully melted, cook, without stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the broth and orange juice along with the zest and stir vigorously to deglaze.
  4. Bring to a brisk boil and cook 3 minutes. 
  5. Whisk together the tapioca starch and cold water and whisk into the sauce until thickened.
  6. Remove from the heat and whisk in the duck fat, salt and pepper until smooth.
  7. Pour into a jar or serving vessel and store in the fridge. Warm before using.