Duck à l’Orange

Wild Muscovy Duck

By Cat, July 2020 photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons

I have not made this classic French dish for years, not since the late ’90s in Portland. My housemate at the time also loved to cook, so we took turns every Sunday, making a special dinner. It had become a sort of “contest;” but that ended the last time I made this dish. I put my all into it, and it was so worth it, when he declared I was the winner, as we  ate our last bites.

The recipe requires a fair amount of detail and time, but so worth it.

See also: 1. Poultry, Fowl Main-Course Menu; 2. Brining Poultry; 3. Dressings Menu (to choose a vinaigrette for a side salad)

Duck à l’Orange


(photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

This recipe is from the McCall’s Cooking School cookbook (1,2), which was a gift from my Mom. I have not made any changes, other than to site my healthful preferences for some of the ingredients, and to encourage brining the duck to help it retain moisture while roasting.

The original recipe recommends serving with white rice combined with sautéed sliced mushrooms. I also recommend serving with a vegetable of your choice, such as braised kale and/or green beans; and a greens salad with a homemade vinaigrette (see Dressings Menu in Vinaigrette section for suggestions).

Serves 4 or more.

Ingredients and Equipment

  • Duckling:
  • 5-lb ready-to-cook duckling (if frozen, thaw completely); alternately, use 2 each 5-lb ducklings, but leave sauce recipe as-is
  • 1 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic (or 2 if small), peeled
  • 3 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 unpeeled Organic oranges, quartered (NOTE: a total of 2 – 4 oranges are needed for duck and sauce)
  • ½ cup Burgundy (wine)
  • Orange Sauce:
  • 3 Tbsp real butter
  • Liver from the duckling
  • 3 Tbsp brandy
  • 2 Tbsp grated orange peel (from Organic orange)
  • ¾ tsp chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp catsup
  • 1 chicken-bouillon cube
  • dash pepper
  • 1¼ cups broth from giblets (chicken giblets will work if the duck’s giblets are not available); instructions for making the broth in included in Method, below
  • ⅓ cup Burgundy (wine)
  • ¼ cup orange marmalade (you can use my recipe or a commercial Organic product) (NOTE: a total of ¾ cup marmalade is needed for sauce and glazing the duck)
  • ¼ cup orange juice; fresh-squeezed from an Organic orange is best
  • 1 cup orange sections (flesh) from an Organic orange is best
  • Equipment:
  • Shallow roasting pan with rack
  • poultry pins and cotton twine
  • 2 small saucepans (for giblet broth, and for igniting brandy)
  • cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet (for sauce)
  • Serving platter
  • Sauce/gravy boat for serving the orange sauce


  1. Remove giblets and neck from duckling and reserve (to make giblet broth).
  2. Brine: I recommend brining the duckling as it helps the meat to retain moisture, leaving it in brine (in refrigerator) about 5 hours (1 hour per pound of bird), or more  if using 2 birds
  3. Remove bird from brine and pat dry (do not rinse).
  4. If you don’t brine the duckling, rinse it well and pat dry with cotton dishcloths or paper towels.
  5. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  6. Stuff duckling: Chop garlic, peel onion, and cut oranges (peel-on) into quarters, and set aside separately.
  7. Turn breast-side down; using sharp scissors and knife, carefully cut out wishbone from breast for easier carving (wishbone is below the neck).
  8. Sprinkle inside with salt (if you didn’t brine the bird).
  9. Tuck onion inside neck; bring skin of neck over back and fasten with poultry pins.
  10. Stuff body cavity with chopped garlic, black peppercorns, and quartered oranges.
  11. Close cavity with poultry pins.
  12. Roast duckling: Place on rack in roasting pan, breast-side up. Pour ½ cup Burgundy over duckling.
  13. Roast, uncovered, 30-minutes.
  14. Reduce heat to 375°F; roast another 1½ hours, while you prepare the giblet broth and sauce.
  15. Giblet broth: Meanwhile, bring giblets to boiling in 2 cups filtered water and ½ tsp salt; reduce heat; simmer, covered, 1 hour, then strain. Save the liver for the sauce.
  16. Sauce: Grate orange peel, and cut up the flesh and peel of the oranges; be sure to remove any seeds. Set the grated peel and cut-up orange aside, separately.
  17. Using a heavy-bottomed (cast iron is preferred) skillet, brown the saved liver in 2 Tbsp butter. Remove from heat.
  18. In separate small saucepan, heat brandy slightly, then ignite. Pour over liver.
  19. Remove liver; chop.
  20. Sauté grated orange peel and garlic for 3 minutes in same skillet. Stir in flour, catsup, bouillon cube and pepper.
  21. Gradually add giblet broth, Burgundy, marmalade and orange juice; mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring, 15 minutes.
  22. Add chopped liver and orange sections; heat.
  23. Spread duckling (still in roasting pan) with ½ cup marmalade and roast 10 minutes longer.
  24. Remove pins and twine from bird. Place it on heated platter.
  25. Using sharp knife, cut each side of breast into diagonal slices, ½-inch wide, starting at leg. Then run knife down center of breast to separate the two sides; run knife around outer edge to cut skin.
  26. Serve, passing the sauce.


  1. McCall’s Cooking School
    1. Cookbook; see Amazon ISBN 0394408985 to view/purchase the book.
    2. Duckling à l’orange recipe card: see Amazon ASIN B00582J66Y

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