roast duck with orange glaze and pan gravy reduction

Every once in a while I cave and buy a duck from my local health food store.  It’s usually this time of year when the air is a little crisper, and I start to crave warming, hearty meals.

The reason I say that I “cave” is because what I really wish is to either go hunting, or to benefit from my used-to-go-hunting relatives by encouraging them to start anew.  If I got my way, they would bring me ducks and pheasants.  Or better yet: take me with them and teach me how!

But if I can’t get out to hunt my own duck, a storebought pastured wild duck is the way to go.  It crisps up beautifully, and the duck fat from the pan dripping is perfect for sauteing potatoes, making gravy, or making this amazing pan sauce to spoon over the duck slices.  I went to savory heaven again today.

Duck is a fattier bird when compared to turkey or chicken, which lends itself to beautiful color and flavor.  However, I do tend to prefer poultry less often than my grass-fed red meats, mostly because of the tendency for poultry fats to lean into the omega 6 fatty acid side of the omega 3:6 ratio.  But I don’t worry about it too much.  I just listen to my body.  Novel idea, huh?

This duck is probably the best one I have ever made.  I have try a cherry sauce, and I have done the basic butter, herbs, salt, and pepper route.  They were delicious, but not as delicious as this version.

The citrus flavor cuts through the richness of the duck, and melds beautifully with the Asian flavors of naturally fermented soy sauce and whole cane sugar.  And did I mention the color?  Gorgeous!

Equipment Needed:

  • roasting pan, kitchen twine, good knife
  • large saucepan, pastry brush
  • cast iron skillet, whisk, ladle

Roast Duck with Orange Glaze and Pan Gravy

one whole duck
2 sweet onions, cut in half
butter, for rubbing on the duck
salt and pepper, to taste (buy organic spices here)

Orange Glaze and Pan Reduction Sauce:
3 cups orange juice
1/2 cup whole cane sugar OR 1/3 cup honey (buy whole cane sugar here, raw honey here)
1/4 cup soy sauce, preferably naturally fermented (buy raw, unpasteurized soy sauce here)
2 tablespoons reserved duck fat
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
2 tablespoons sprouted flour OR arrowroot powder (buy sprouted flour here, how to make sprouted flour, buy arrowroot powder here)
2 tablespoons dark orange liqueur (how to make orange liqueur)
2 tablespoons butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity of the duck.  Set aside.  Use them to make stock or gravy.
  3. Rinse the the duck thoroughly inside and out, then pat dry completely with a kitchen towel.  Place on the roasting pan.
  4. Stuff the duck cavity with the onions.  Score the duck in a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife.  Tuck the wings under the duck so they don’t stick out and get too brown.  Skewer the cavity closed with a toothpick or bamboo pick.  Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  5. Rub the duck with butter, and season with salt and pepper.  Place the duck in the oven to roast for 3 hours.
  6. In the meantime make the orange glaze: In a saucepan, bring the orange juice, sugar, and soy sauce to a boil over medium high heat.  Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.  Set aside and cover.
  7. During the last hour of roasting, remove a few tablespoons of the reduction sauce from the pan you set aside, and in a separate bowl, use it to brush the orange glaze over the breast of the duck, repeating 2-3 times during the time.
  8. Then raise the temperature to 375 degrees, and roast for an additional 30 minutes or until the skin is browned and crispy.
  9. Remove from the oven place the duck onto a cutting board.  Brush with a little more orange glaze.  Let the duck rest for 20 minutes so the juices don’t run out of the bird when you cut into it.  Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a bowl so the fat can separate.
  10. While the duck is resting, make the pan reduction sauce: Skim two tablespoons duck fat from the bowl of roasting juices and pour into a skillet heated to medium high heat.  Saute the garlic and ginger in the duck fat until browned, about 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, whisking to combine. Continue stirring and cook the flour for about 2 minutes. Then add the remaining orange glaze, whisking constantly, scraping up any browned bits as you go.  Reduce the pan sauce until it reaches the desired consistency, thick and glossy.  Turn off the heat, and add the orange liqueur and butter, stirring until the butter melts completely.
  11. Carve the duck and serve with the pan reduction sauce spooned over the slices.