My Father’s favorite restaurant in New York City was La Grenouille. He and my Mother always got their table in the front where they could fully enjoy the magnificent flowers that are one of the trademarks of this particular restaurant. The other trademark being, of course, the food. From a relatively early age, my brother and I would be treated to the experience of fine dining at La Grenouille and many other amazing French restaurants that have not survived but are fondly remembered.
Often Dad would order Quenelles as a first course. He used to say that they were a much lighter French version of gefilte fish. Frankly, I would vote for the Quenelles every time. Dad’s entree of choice was usually a toss up between Filet of Sole Veronique or Canard a L’Orange. The duck would usually win as he had already had fish for his appetizer. Duck served in a restaurant of this caliber- well, there is just no way to describe it properly. The skin was completely crisp and delicious and the breast was sliced beautifully. The orange sauce was a perfect mixture of piquant and sweet with candied orange zest sprinkled through it along with perfect orange sections. Dad always ordered Pommes Souffles with the duck and we loved picking them out of the napkin lined holder and biting into them- the perfect combination of crispy outside and airy inside. Never a man to skip dessert, Dad would then order Poire Belle Helene-and say it’s just fruit; or a Grand Marnier Souffle. Of course, he always ordered a fabulous wine to drink with dinner. It’s funny, but as strict as Dad was, he considered drinking and appreciating wine a vital part of our education.
Eating duck in a restaurant like La Grenouille is definitely one of the experiences I missed a great deal after I got married. I was determined to be able to replicate that experience at home. I’m not going to say that I have equalled La Grenouille; but I will say that I often served this duck to my Father and he loved it. In the last years of his life, he and Mom definitely ate Canard a L’Orange more at my house surrounded by their children, grandchildren and great grand children than they did at La Grenouille. I have a feeling the company more than made up for any mistakes I might have made with the duck.
Prep time: It takes a long time to clean ducks properly even if you ask your butcher to pre clean and singe them. To save time and work, you can order pre-cooked unseasoned ducks from your butcher and then procede with the rest of the recipe.
Roast Duck in Orange Sauce
By December 17, 2013Published:
- 8 Servings
- 2 Ducklings
- 36 Ounces Frozen Orange Juice No Pulp
- 12 Ounces Water
- 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar Tightly Packed
- 1 Tablespoon Bouquet Garni
- Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste
- 1 Large Lemon
- 2 Large Navel Oranges Pitted and Sliced
- 2 Large Roasting Pans
- 2 Non-Stick Roasting Racks
- Long Handled Fork
- Preheat oven to: 375° F.
- Clean ducks thoroughly. Rinse inside and out with cold water. Cut one lemon in half and rub the skin of the ducks with the lemon halves. Place ducks, breast side up, on the roasting rack in the roasting pan. Place pan in the oven and roast 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, begin to prick the duck all over with a long handled fork. Be careful not to get spattered with fat. Remove some of the melted fat with a baster if it begins to crackle too much in the pan. Continue to prick ducks every 15 minutes until they are browned. Ducks need about 15 minutes per pound to properly cook. When the breasts have browned, I like to flip the ducks over so that their backs can brown as well. Prepare the sauce while the ducks are roasting.
- Defrost orange juice and mix with water, sugar and herbs. Pour over quartered ducks.
- Preheat oven to: 350° F.
- Bake duck quarters 45-60 minutes, basting them every 15 minutes- or until quarters are beautifully glazed and the sauce has thickened.
- Place an orange slice on each piece of duck. Scatter remaining orange slices over all. Bake another 15 minutes. Serve hot with steamed rice and a green vegetable.