Roast Duck with Orange Grand Marnier Sauce

“Finally we have our power back, so we can send our recipe for duck a l'orange,” says Dolores Baills, co-owner and hostess of Chef’s Table in Franklin Lakes. “This is a classic French dish in which time and effort really pay off. The origin is unknown, but this recipe has been around a long time, and was most popular in the 1960s and 1970s, when my husband, Claude, was just getting started as a chef.”

Chef's Table in Franklin Lakes
Roast duck in Grand Marnier sauce.
Photo by Laura Moss.

Serves: 4


2 ducks about 4 to 5 lbs. each 2 tbl white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt 1 ¾ cups sugar
small pinch cayenne 1 tbl cornstarch or arrowroot
½ cup dry white wine 2/3 cups grand marnier
12 small naval oranges

1 carrot, diced 1 quart of salted water
1 onion, diced several sprigs of fresh parsley
1 celery stick, diced 1 bay leaf
2 tbl olive oil 2 sprigs fresh thyme


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove giblet. Cut wings at the joint then firmly chop the bony section of the wing and the 2 necks. Put wings and necks in a ovenproof dish together with carrot, onions and celery. Stir in olive oil. Roast in a very hot oven for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Transfer the above to a saucepan and cover with water and salt. Lightly add parsley, bayleaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and let simmer uncovered over medium heat 1 hour. Skim foam if needed. Strain through a fine sieve and reserve this stock as a base for the sauce.

Preheat oven again to 350 degrees. Truss the ducks and place on a rack in a heat proof roasting pan. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Roast in a moderate oven 1 ½ hours to 2 hours. Turn and baste until they are well roasted and crusty. Place ducks on a plate and keep warm. Pour off all grease in the roasting pan and add the wine and the reserved stock. Place on top of stove and boil, scraping up any particles in the pan. Strain pan juices and set aside.

Remove the orange part of the center skin (the zest) from 6 of the oranges and cut into julienne strips with a sharp pairing knife. Extract the juice from the oranges and put in a small sauce pan. Add vinegar, and 1 ¼ cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until you have reduced the juice to a golden caramel with a honey-like consistency. Put the julienne orange skin in another sauce pan and barely cover with water. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes then stir cornstarch or arrowroot into orange peel mixture. Add the caramel, the roasting pan juices and the grand marnier and season with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Peel the remaining oranges. Cut into skinless neat sections. Cut the ducks into four pieces and place the leg and breast on the serving plate. Place section of oranges on top and spoon the sauce over the duck. Serve immediately.

Roast duck goes well with string beans cooked in butter and maple syrup sweet potatoes.

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