Duck a l’Orange

This classic restaurant dish from the 1970’s has all but disappeared from our menus now, as the food trend has moved from sauces poured onto food to food served on sauces (or with foams).

In the past the emphasis was weighted towards the sauce … which led to heavy sauces, unbalanced flavours and the duck skulking somewhere in the background. With a couple of tricks, the meal can be re-balanced, letting the duck shine through once again.

An impressive meal to serve to guests, or enjoy as a family, we present duck a l’orange.

Duck a l’Orange

15 mins preparation
2h 15mins cooking
4 servings
Wine match
Red Burgundy
New World Pinot Noir


  • 2 roasting dishes
  • 1 roasting rack
  • Fat separator
  • Large saucepan
  • Wooden skewer
  • Meat/poultry lifters (optional)
  • Potato peeler
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Small bowl
  • Carving knife and fork


  • 1 whole large duck, giblets removed
  • 1.5 kg potatoes for roasting
  • ½ red onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • Small orange, rind removed
  • 5cm piece of thick ginger
  • Sea salt, black and red pepper
  • 2 star anise
  • 300 ml fresh orange juice
  • 85 ml red wine
  • 60 ml Cointreau
  • 3 tbsp thin cut marmalade
  • Rind from an orange
  • 1 tsp cornflour/potato flour and water
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
Sealing the duck with a wooden skewer
Add potatoes to roasting tray then coat with duck fat
Carve the duck and remove everything from the inside


For best results, cook the duck in a fan oven and the potatoes in a non-fan oven. A double oven is perfect for this. If this is being cooked using a single oven, put the duck on a lower shelf and potatoes on a higher shelf.

Duck and Potatoes

  1. Pre-heat a fan oven to 180°C/350°F (200°C/390°F non-fan).
  2. Meanwhile, put the onion wedges, bay leaves, peeled orange, ginger and star anise inside the duck’s cavity. Prick the duck’s skin all over with a skewer. Seal duck cavity with a skewer. Season skin with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the duck on a rack over and roasting tray. Place it in the oven and cook the duck for 60 minutes.
  4. At the 45 minute point
    • Turn on second oven and pre-heat to 180°C/350°F (200°C/390°F non-fan, preferred), adding roasting dish to warm
    • Peel and boil potatoes, then leave them to cool.
  5. At the 60 minute point, remove duck from oven and roasting dish from second oven. Pour some fat into the dish from the second oven and add potatoes to roast.
  6. Return both oven dishes to their ovens and lower the temperature of the oven with the duck in it by 20°C/70°F. Roast the duck and potatoes for an hour.
  7. Remove duck from the oven and turn the oven off, cover the duck and rest it. Leave potatoes roasting unless they are ready.

Sauce and Serve

  1. Put some vegetables on to boil.
  2. Add the thinly sliced onion, Cointreau and red wine into a saucepan, heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the orange juice, marmalade and thinly sliced orange skin into the saucepan, heat for 3 minutes. Thicken with cornflour or potato flour if needed.
  4. Filter sauce into a fat separator.
  5. Carve duck, serve with potatoes, vegetables and sauce.
Duck a l'orange served with roast potatoes and vegetables

Hints, Tips and Pictures

  1. There is a lot of activity during the last ten minutes of this dish. Do most of the preparation in advance whilst the duck is roasting.
  2. Leave the peeled orange whole and uncut. This stops the juice from dripping into the fat. That is used later to roast the potatoes.
  3. The duck will render a lot of fat. The potatoes need at most 3 tbsp. Excess fat can be stored for future use, e.g. triple cooked duck fat chips.
  4. It’s easy to boil potatoes for too long so they fall apart. If it looks as though they might be ready, they probably are.
  5. Use a pair of meat lifters to move the duck. Moving the duck with meat lifters

4 thoughts on “Duck a l’Orange

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