Duck à l’Orange is probably one of the most classic, yet sadly most bastardized dishes of all of French cuisine. Done right, it’s incredible; crunchy skin with incredibly juicy meat offset by a semi-sweet orange sauce. Done wrong, you’ll end up eating fatty rubbery skin, tough meat drowned in an overly sweet sauce.
Versions of duck à l’orange have been around forever. Just this morning I was reading a cookbook written by Louis Eustache Ude in the early 1800s. His version featured roasting a duck with a small bitter orange variety known as ‘bigarade’ in France, or marmalade oranges. The idea was to keep a sweet and sour balance to the sauce. This trend continued in the 1940s and 50s in France. But somewhere during the 1970s and 80s duck à l’orange became known as duck cooked in any method buried under an overly sweet sticky sauce. And then disappeared into the lost annals of great cuisine.
My easy version is a return to the classics. Click here to watch my video recipe.