Canard à l’orange is a classic French dish that most people would know about even if they have never tried it. There are countless versions of this recipe and why there should be another one could be considered pointless. But this version is one that can be cooked and served in half an hour and promises to be full of citrus flavour.
Like other red meat, you can cook duck breast anywhere between rare to well done. I like mine rare, but the cooking times I have written here will give you a medium rare to medium result. You can add or deduct time to suit your taste.
I highly recommend scoring the skin to allow the rich fat to render away in the cooking which will give you a crispy skin. For this reason alone, never season the breast with oil or add it to the recipe. I also turn the breasts each time so that the skin is facing upward at the end of the cooking and so that the juices keep making their way into the centre of the meat rather than out into the pan.
2 duck breasts with skin on
1 orange, juice and zest
100ml chicken stock
100ml white wine
Sea salt and pepper
Pre heat the oven to 200°C.
Gently score each breast across the width on the skin side, about 1cm apart. Place an ovenproof pan on a high heat for a few minutes. Place each duck breast skin side down and sear in the pan for about 3-4 minutes until the skin is brown and crispy.
Turn the breasts over and continue cooking for a further minute. Turn the breasts again so the skin is facing downward. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the breasts over again so that the skin side is facing upward, and continue to cook for another 4 minutes. Remove the duck from the oven and pan. Wrap them in aluminum foil and place in a warm spot to rest before serving.
If there is too much fat remaining in the pan, remove some and then place the pan on a medium heat and deglaze with the white wine. Add the chicken stock and orange juice and allow it to come to a boil. When the sauce has reduced to about a third (approximately 4 minutes) add the butter and stir to ensure a smooth consistency. Season with sea salt and pepper. Taste the sauce to ensure it is balanced, seasoning further if required.
Place the each breast on the serving plate and spoon the sauce across each one.
In this recipe, the duck has been served with pumpkin and polenta mash and blanched sugar snap peas. To make the pumpkin and polenta mash: boil 250g pumpkin until it is soft, then mash and set aside. In a clean saucepan, bring 500ml of water to the boil. Slowly poor a thin stream of 150g polenta into the water, whisking continuously. Don’t add the polenta all at once or it will become lumpy. Continue to whisk over a medium heat until the grains have softened and it reaches a smooth consistency (approximately 10 minutes). When the polenta is ready, add about 25g of butter, a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves and the mashed pumpkin. Continue to whisk unit it is smooth and well combined. Season with sea salt and pepper.