Niall McKenna's Duck a l'orange


(Serves 4)

  • 4 duck legs
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the sauce
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 tbsp orange liqueur, e.g. Cointreau
  • 75ml red wine
  • 150ml orange juice (approx. 2 large oranges)
  • 3 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 2 tsp cornflour


Begin by preheating your oven to 200C.

Remove any excess fat from the duck and pierce the skin with a sharp knife or skewer. Then place the duck into a large bowl, covering with boiling water. Once a minute has passed, turn the duck over, letting it stand for another minute.

Remove the duck from the water and drain and pat dry with kitchen paper. Peel the orange and slice the peel into julienne strips, setting aside for later. Cut the rest of the orange into slices, placing the duck on top of the orange slices, onion, rosemary and bay leaves and seasoning with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray.

Place into the preheated oven and roast for 45-55 minutes until cooked. Once cooked, transfer the duck to a resting plate, leaving to rest for at least 15 minutes.

While the duck is resting, it’s time to make the sauce which should begin by taking one tablespoon of duck fat from the roasting tray and placing it into a saucepan over a medium heat. Then add in the sliced onion and gently fry for approximately five minutes until golden and softened.

Add in the orange liqueur and red wine, allowing it to bubble for a few seconds. Then add the orange juice along with 150ml of cold water and let it simmer for two minutes.

Next, add the julienne strips of orange peel and marmalade, and again, bring it to a simmer.

Mix the cornflour with one tablespoon of cold water in a small bowl, mixing until smooth. Stir this paste into the orange sauce and cook for one-two minutes, stirring continuously until the sauce has thickened. Then pour any juices from the rest of the duck into the sauce and let it simmer for another few seconds.

On a warm plate, serve the duck on top of the roasted orange and onion from the baking tray before pouring on some of the warmed sauce.

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