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


Duck and Potatoes

  • 1 whole large duck, giblets removed
  • 1.5 kg Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes
  • 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

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 (200°C non-fan).
  2. Put the onion wedges, bay leaves, peeled orange, ginger and star anise inside the duck’s cavity.
  3. Prick the duck’s skin all over with a skewer.
  4. Seal duck cavity with a skewer.
  5. Season skin with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast duck for 55 minutes.
  7. At the 40 minute point
    • Turn on second oven and pre-heat to 180°C (200°C non-fan, preferred), adding roasting dish to warm
    • Peel and boil potatoes, then leave them to cool.
  8. At the 55 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.
  9. Return both oven dishes to their ovens, roast for an hour.
  10. Remove duck from the oven and turn the oven off. 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.

Method (Descriptions and pictures)

Duck and Potatoes

Pre-heat a fan oven to 180°C (200°C non-fan). Wash the duck under cold water, and then pat the skin dry with kitchen towel. Pierce the duck’s skin with a skewer so that the fat will render more easily when it is roasting. Make sure to pierce the skin around the legs as well as the breast. Remove the rind from the orange, setting the rind aside for later. Place the peeled orange, onion wedges, star anise, bay leaves and ginger into the duck.

Seal the duck cavity by folding over the fat and securing with a wooden skewer. Season the skin with salt and pepper. Roast on a rack over a roasting tray for 55 minutes in the centre of the oven. Whilst this is roasting, peel the potatoes and put them in a saucepan filled with cold water. Thinly slice the rind from the orange and set aside. Slice the other half of the onion into thin strips, put it in the fat separator with the wine and Cointreau. Set aside for later.

When the duck has been in the oven for 40 minutes, place a roasting tray for the potatoes in a second oven to warm up. Heat the second oven to 180°C (200°C non-fan). Non-fan settings make for better potatoes. Boil the potatoes in a saucepan using fresh water. Take them off the heat when the outer layer is soft (6-10 minutes) and leave to cool.

After the duck has been in the oven for 55 minutes remove it. Some blood may have come out of the duck (pictured above), discard this from the roasting dish. Pour some of the fat from the duck into the potato roasting tray, then add the potatoes (pictured below). Move the potatoes around the roasting tray so that they are covered with the duck fat. Return the duck and its tray to the first oven and continue to roast. Place the potato roasting tray in the second oven. Cook both for an hour.

When the hour is up, remove the duck from the oven. Pour off  the fat through a sieve for future meals, reserving a little to make the sauce in the next step. Rest the duck by placing it on a roasting rack in the oven after it has been turned off.

Sauce and Serve

Place a small amount of the remaining fat and scrapings from the roasting dish into a small saucepan. Add the onion, Cointreau and wine from the fat separator to the saucepan. Clean the fat separator.

Heat the saucepan for 2 minutes to burn off some of the alcohol.  Then add the orange juice, sliced orange rind and marmalade and stir. If the sauce needs to be thickened (be careful not to over-thicken), mix the cornflour with 1 tsp of water and stir into the sauce. Heat the sauce for a further 2-3 minutes then strain the mixture into a fat separator. Pour into a gravy boat for serving at the table.

Remove the skewer from the duck. Cut the duck down the middle and remove all of the ingredients from the inside.

Carve the duck for serving, this can either be left as halves for two people or separating the breasts and legs for four people. Pour over the sauce. Serve with the roast poatotoes and some vegetables, e.g. broccoli and cauliflower or red cabbage.

Duck a l'orange served with roast potatoes and vegetables

4 thoughts on “Duck a l’Orange

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