Roast duck with bitter orange sauce

Roast duck with bitter orange sauce

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1 oven-ready duck, about 1.8 kg
2 seville oranges
60g granulated sugar
75ml water
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
150ml Chicken and veal stock
1 tablespoon brandy
2-3 teaspoons arrowroot, (if needed)
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Wipe the duck clean inside and out with kitchen paper. Season inside the cavity with salt and pepper. Quarter one of the oranges and stuff into the cavity. Prick the duck all over with a fork, pushing the prongs in wherever you can feel a fat deposit around the legs. Sprinkle lightly with salt and place breast side down on a wire rack set over a roasting tin. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then turn it breast side up and roast for a further 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the zest from the remaining orange using a swivel peeler, and cut it into fine strips or julienne. Juice the orange and set aside. Place 30 g of the sugar in a small saucepan with the water. Dissolve the sugar over a low heat, then increase the heat to a simmer and add the orange zest. Simmer for 3–4 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, remove the zest with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving the syrup in the pan.
  4. Remove the duck from the oven and set it aside to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before transferring to a board and jointing it into 6 pieces. Put the leg/thigh pieces skin side up into a clean roasting tin, saving the roasting juices for the sauce.
  5. Return the duck to the oven and continue to roast until cooked through and the skin is crisp, up to 20 minutes. The breast pieces should be pink.
  6. Put the remaining sugar and the wine vinegar into a clean saucepan and dissolve the sugar over a low heat. Increase the heat and boil until the vinegar sugar syrup caramelises and turns a deep mahogany colour; tilt the pan gently to encourage even browning. Remove from the heat and immediately add the stock, taking care as it will spit. Stir to melt the caramel, then stir in the orange juice to taste, the zest julienne and the brandy. Skim any fat off the reserved roasting juices and add the juices to the sauce. Simmer until reduced to the required concentration of flavour, adding more juice or reserved orange syrup for tartness or sweetness as required. If necessary thicken the sauce by slaking in a little arrowroot.
  7. Serve the duck with the orange sauce.


  • When preparing the duck for roasting, the parson’s nose can be removed if required; this encourages more fat from the bird to be released during roasting.


  • This recipe also works well with ordinary oranges when Seville oranges are not available, with the finished dish tasting a little sweeter.
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