Julia Child's Duck a l'Orange


4 brightly colored navel oranges
5 1/2 pounds ready-to-cook duckling
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups strong, brown duck stock
2 tablespoons arrowroot blended with
3 tablespoons port or Madeira
2 tablespoons or 3 orange liquor
Orange bitters or lemon juice
2 tablespoons soften butter


Remove the orange part of the orange skin using a vegetable peeler. Cut these strips into julienne, (small strips 1/16 inch wide and 1 1/12 inches long). Simmer for 15 minutes in a quart of water. Drain. Pat dry in paper towels.
Season the duck cavity with salt and pepper, add a third of the prepared orange peel, and truss the duck. (Roast according to the master recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking p. 274)
While duck is roasting, make a sweet and sour caramel coloring as follows: Boil the sugar and vinegar over moderately high heat for several minutes until the mixture has turned into a mahogany-brown syrup. Immediately remove from heat and pour in 1/2 cup of the duck stock. Simmer for a minute, stirring to dissolve caramel. Then add the rest of the stock, beat in the arrowroot micture, and stir in the orange peel. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sauce is clear, limpid, and lightly thickened. Correct seasoning and set aside.
Cut the 4 oranges into neat, skinless segments (or supremes) and place in a covered dish.
When the duck is done, discard trussing strings, and set it on a platter. Place it in the turned-off hot oven, leaving the door ajar.
Remove as much fat as you can from the roasting pan. Add the wine and boil it down rapidly, scraping up coagulated roasting juices and reducing the liquid to 2 or 3 tablespoons.
Strain the wine reduction into the sauce base and bring to the simmer. Stir in the orange liqueur by spoonfuls, tasting. The sauce should have a pleasant orange flavor but not be too sweet. Add drops of orange bitters or lemon juice as a corrective.
Just before serving, and off heat, swirl in the butter and pour the sauce into a warmed sauce boat.
Place a line of orange segments over the length of the duck and heap the rest at the two ends of the platter. Spoon a bit of sauce with peel over the duck, and serve.


Dudas's picture

You shouldn't reference a hardback book in an online recipe... " (Roast according to the master recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking p. 274)... This recipe is then useless...

Ricardo's picture

What an unfortunate comment - the book is a fantastic reference and the experience will not be duplicated with on-line reference. But then again, Julia Child will never work for the myopic and simple-minded.

Brian's picture

Ricardo. Sorry, I will assume something else got you down before you read my comment, as it was no detractor to Ms. Child's amazing talents, or her cookbook, merely to state that only placing half a recipe on a website is a waste of time for someone looking for a recipe. If I bought a book and it referred me to another book, I would feel the same way.
Having said that, thanks for at least putting this up so we know the resource is out there. And I disagree, Ms. Child IS so good that she will work for the myopic and simple-minded, should they choose so. Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and that your outlook improves. :)


Cooking duck seems like such an extravagant task, but roasting a duck is really no more challenging than roasting a chicken (it just costs a bit more!). This dish of succulent duck smothered in a rich orange sauce is well worth the extravagance! This recipe is from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Other Names:

Canard a l'Orange, Roast Duck With Orange Sauce


5 to 6 people


Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 4:02pm


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