Roast Duckling à l’Orange


U.S. Metric Ingredients
2 2 Ducklings, about 5 lb (2.3 kg) each
to taste to taste Salt
to taste to taste Pepper
pt 720 mL Demi-glace
3 3 Oranges
fl oz 45 mL Lemon juice
3 oz 90 g Sugar
2 fl oz 60 mL Wine vinegar, red or white
2 fl oz 60 mL Orange liqueur, such as Curaçao (optional)
4 fl oz 120 mL Chicken stock or white wine
as desired as desired peeled orange sections (optional)



  1. Make sure the ducklings are well cleaned. Use the neck, gizzard, and heart in preparing the sauce (step 5); save the liver for another use.
  2. Season the cavities with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the ducks breast-up on a rack in a roasting pan. (Caution: Do not use baking sheets or shallow pans. The pans must be deep enough to hold the large quantity of fat from the ducks.)
  4. Place the pan in an oven heated to 450°F (230°C). After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375°F (190°C) and continue roasting until the ducks are done, about 1½ hours in all. (See discussion of roasting temperatures.)
  5. While the duck is roasting, prepare the sauce. Add the duck neck and giblets (except liver) to the demi-glace and simmer slowly about 1 hour, or until reduced to 1 pt (500 mL). Strain. Keep the sauce hot.
  6. Peel the zest from the oranges in long strips. Cut them into julienne (or use a zester). Blanch the zests in boiling water 5 minutes. Drain and cool in ice water. Drain again and reserve the zest.
  7. Squeeze enough juice from the oranges to measure 4 fl oz (120 mL). Add to the lemon juice and set aside.
  8. Make a gastrique: Heat the sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until it melts. As soon as it turns a golden caramel color, remove from the heat, cool briefly, and add the vinegar and fruit juices. Simmer until the caramel is dissolved and the liquid is reduced by half.
  9. Add the demi-glace and bring to a simmer.
  10. If the sauce is too thin, adjust the consistency by adding a Little more demi-glace and reducing. The sauce should be just thick enough to coat lightly. It should not be heavy.
  11. If desired, add the liqueur and simmer a few minutes.
  12. When the ducklings are done, remove them from the pan. (Check to be sure they are done by pouring the juices in the cavity into a pan. There should be no trace of pink in the juices.)
  13. Drain off all the fat from the roasting pan.
  14. Deglaze the pan with the stock or wine, stirring to dissolve all the brown drippings.
  15. Reduce the liquid by half. Degrease and strain into the sauce.
  16. Cut the ducklings into 8 pieces each.
  17. To serve, place 1 breast piece and 1 leg piece on each plate, garnish the top with some of the blanched orange peels, and ladle on 2 fl oz (60 mL) sauce. Garnish the plate with orange sections, if desired.

Per serving: Calories, 900; Protein, 46 g; Fat, 71 g (71% cal.); Cholesterol, 215 mg; Carbohydrates, 20 g; Fiber, 1 g; Sodium, 200 mg.


Ducklings may be roasted following steps 1–4 of the basic recipe and served without a sauce, with a pre-prepared Bigarade Sauce, or simply with applesauce. Special seasonings create different products, such as the following recipe:

Roast Duckling, Bohemian Style

Season the cavity of each duckling with salt, pepper, and about ½ tsp (2 mL) caraway seeds. Place on rack in roasting pan and season the breast with salt, pepper, and another ½ tsp (2 mL) caraway. Roast as in the basic recipe. Serve without sauce, but with Sauerkraut or Braised Red Cabbage and Potato Dumplings or Spaetzle.

Roast Goose

Roast goose at a continuous low temperature of 350°F (175°C). Because goose is much larger than duckling, the roasting time is long enough for the skin to crisp and brown at a low roasting temperature. Plan 20–25 minutes per pound for roasting time, but determine doneness by minimum internal cooking temperature of 165°F (74°C).