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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 34

I kind of can’t believe I’m posting this. I can sum up this Duck a’Orange in two words: learning experience. It wasn’t a total fail but it definitely wasn’t smooth sailing. First, I decided to tackle this on a weeknight – over two hours in the kitchen on a weeknight – maybe not the best decision. Second, it might have been helpful for me to have studied up on the anatomy of a duck. I roasted it upside down! And third, the picture is terrible because I was pretty over it by picture taking time. I just wanted to eat the thing and call it a night.

All that said, the flavor of this was actually really good. My l’Orange sauce was a TOTAL success. I was really happy about that because it’s one of the hardest sauces that I’ve ever made. And I feel very confident that the  next time I roast a whole duck, I’ll have much better results.

This recipe was originally published in Gourmet in 1943! I thought it would be downright wrong of me not to attempt such a classic dish during 68 Days of Gourmet. I’m really glad that I made this but I think it’s a lot of work for such a small amount of edible meat. I think I’ll definitely make the l’Orange sauce again with roasted chicken. The flavor of the sauce was incredible! Or maybe I’ll just make Duck a l’Orange breast instead of a whole duck!

It’s been a pretty calm week so far. Monday was my first time teaching 6 a.m. BodyPump. Overall, the class was great. It’s definitely going to take me some time to get used to the 5 a.m. wake up time on Mondays though. Even though I was tired from my early morning, I went to a power mixed yoga class after work. So glad I did, it was just what I needed. The class was really fun and I got to play around with some positions that were a little outside of my comfort zone. Tonight I went to a hot vinyasa class and the room was SO HOT! Apparently, they’ve made some adjustments to the room to allow it to heat more efficiently. Whatever they did, it worked. Whew! Chugging water tonight! I’m attempting to practice every day this week. We’ll see how that goes! I’ll keep you guys posted.

It’s been a great week so far on the nutrition front. My usual bowl of oats for breakfast, peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch and healthy dinners. Nice to be back in my routine. Feeling good and strong.

So here is the duck recipe. I seriously recommend trying this if you’re looking for a culinary challenge! :)

My poor upside down duck!

Duck a l’Orange
(Recipe source Gourmet, January 2006, originally printed in 1943)

Ingredients:

FOR THE DUCK
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 (5- to 6-lb) Long Island duck (also called Pekin)
1 juice orange, halved
4 fresh thyme sprigs
4 fresh marjoram sprigs
2 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 small onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup duck stock, duck and veal stock, chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 carrot
1/2 celery rib

FOR THE SAUCE
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 to 2 oranges)
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons duck or chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fine julienne of fresh orange zest, removed with a vegetable peeler

Directions:

FOR THE DUCK
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Make sure rack is positioned in the center of the oven.

Mix together salt, coriander, cumin and pepper. Pat duck dry and sprinkle inside and out with spice mixture. Cut 1 half of orange into quarters and place in duck cavity with thyme, marjoram, parsley and 4 onion wedges.

Squeeze juice from remaining half of orange and stir together with wine and stock. Set aside.

Spread remaining 4 onion wedges in a 13 x 9 roasting pan with carrot and celery, then place duck (breast side up!) on top of vegetables and roast 30 minutes.

Pour wine mixture into roasting pan and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue roasting duck until thermometer inserted into a thigh (close to but not touching bone) registers 170 degrees, about 60 to 75 more minutes. Turn on broiler and broil duck 3 to 4 inches from heat until top is golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Tilt duck to drain juices from cavity into pan and transfer duck to a cutting board, reserving juices in pan. Let duck stand 15 minutes.

FOR THE SAUCE
While the duck roasts, cook sugar in a dry 1-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts and turns a golden caramel color. Reduce heat to low and add orange juice, vinegar and salt. Caution – the mixture will bubble and steam vigorously and the sugar may seize (don’t give up on it!). Continue to simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel is dissolved. Remove syrup from heat.

Discard vegetables from roasting pan and pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart glass container or bowl. Skim off and discard fat.  Add enough stock to pan juices to total 1 cup liquid.

Stir together butter and flour to form a beurre manié. Bring pan juices to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan, then add beurre manié, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add orange syrup and zest and simmer, whisking occasionally, until sauce is thickened slightly and zest is tender, about 5 minutes. Serve with duck.

Yield: 4 servings (only 2 for us because we only ate the breast)

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