Duck à l'orange

Sumptuous and fragrant, here is duck à l'orange for your Christmas dinner with the family. Get yourself a nice duck and some citrus fruits: the duck you can order from your local butcher, and as for the citrus fruit, during the festive period you won’t have any trouble finding some of excellent quality. Despite being a festive dish, duck à l'orange is not elaborate. The bulk of the work, as far as cooking the duck goes, is done by the oven; on the other hand, you'll need to be a little more proficient in making the orange sauce which gives the essential flavour, colour and aroma to the dish. It only remains for you to serve your duck à l'orange elegantly, taking care to position the beautiful orange slices all around the dish. If you particularly like this recipe and want to make it again as part of your everyday family menu, you can adapt it for other poultry meats, such as chicken or turkey.


30 minutes Total time
180 minutes Active time
Serves 4 persons
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Clean and prepare the duck. Cut three oranges into slices. Take the salt-preserved lime, lemon and clementine and cut into pieces together with half an onion. Fill the duck with the preserved citrus fruit and onion. Fry a clove of garlic in a large casserole with the herbs. Add the onion and oranges and a dash of white wine. Add the duck to this pan with the fried onion etc, and brown it on all sides for about five minutes. Remove the duck from the heat, put it in a baking tray with the gravy, and pour over a ladle of stock. Cook it for three hours at 180°C. Every half hour, add another ladle of stock. Once cooked, remove from the heat, take the cooking juices and blitz them with an electric hand blender, along with the juice of three oranges and a tablespoon of sugar. With the sauce thus obtained, brush the duck and serve. Put the remaining sauce in a small bowl on the table.

If you want to prepare your duck à l'orange for Christmas lunch, but don’t want to spend a huge amount, you should buy your duck a week or two in advance, and freeze it. The resulting dish will be equally good, and you will have saved some money: it is well known that in the days leading up to Christmas, ducks, turkeys and guinea fowl are more expensive.
The first people to farm and eat ducks seem to have been the Chinese. It appears they may have "invented" this recipe, which then made its way to Italy. It could thus be described as an "ethnic" recipe, whose diffusion around Italy started from Medicean Florence. In the court of Catherine of the Medici, duck à l'orange was cooked and eaten under the name of "papero alla melarancia". From Florence it first spread throughout Italy and then to France, thanks to Henry II of Valois, husband of De Medici.

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