dimanche 11 novembre 2007

Canard à l'orange

When I think of duck, the classic French dish ‘canard à l’orange’ comes to mind first or more its anglicized name ‘duck à l’orange’. In Canada, I made roast duck with one of the ‘President’s Choice Memories of’ sauces – a tangy blend of red fruit if I remember correctly. Shortly after they changed the marketing names and flavours and I couldn’t find it again. The tiny recipe card that came with it explained the secret of crispy skin – pour boiling water over the duck before roasting.

In France, duck is rarely roasted whole but is prepared as either ‘magret de canard’ or ‘confit de canard’. ‘Magret de canard’ is the lean duck breast and ‘confit de canard’ is cooked then preserved in fat. Duck is one of the favourite Bistro dishes and is generally served with potatoes – fries for the confit and purée with the magret. Duck breast is also sliced and served in a variety of salads. A version of Sheppard’s pie replaces beef with ‘confit de canard’. Many restaurants in Paris specialize in cuisine from the south-western region of France, especially duck and fois gras dishes.

Duck marries perfectly with all kinds of fruit - apples, peaches, cherries, grapes, mangoes, oranges, limes, grapefruit, and pineapple. It can be seasoned with many different spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, curry, cumin and ginger. It is also complemented with almonds, walnuts, red wine, honey and mustard.

The version in the photo, used duck wings and replaced the orange with lime.

Cuisses de canard à l'orange
Serves 4-6

6 duck legs
1 carrot, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 oranges
1 lemon
200 mL (3/4 cup) chicken stock
75 mL (1/3 cup) oil
30 mL (2 Tbsp) white wine or sherry vinegar
30mL (2 Tbsp) Cointreau or Grande Marnier
15 mL (1 Tbsp) cornstarch or arrowroot
15 mL (1 Tbsp) orange marmalade
35 g (1 oz) sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Cut the rind and pith off one orange; cut between the membranes to remove the orange segments. From the other orange, cut off the zest (removing as little of the white pith as possible) and cut into fine strips. Juice the orange and lemon and set aside.

Score the duck skin with a sharp knife. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium-low heat; season the duck with salt and pepper, and place in pan skin side down to brown for 15 minutes. Add carrot and onion and continue to sauté for 10 minutes. Place in the oven and roast the duck for 15 minutes on each side. Pour off fat from pan. Add chicken stock and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the sugar in a small pot over low heat until golden in colour. Add orange and lemon zests and juice. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Turn off the oven; remove duck to a heated serving platter and return to oven for 10 minutes.
Add vinegar to the sugar sauce; remove from heat and stir for 1 minute then add the Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Mix cornstarch with a small amount of cold water and add to sauce. Reheat the sauce and add the orange marmalade to melt. Set aside.
Garnish the duck with the orange segments and serve with the sauce.

Wine suggestions: a red Bandol or Côte de Brouilly

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