Canard à l’Orange is a French classic that I hadn’t cooked in a while. It can be prepared either with a whole duck or with duck breast, as I did here. Duck breast is called magret de canard (magret because it is, relatively speaking, the lean (magre) part of the duck). The orange sauce is made with freshly squeezed orange juice, white wine, duck stock (or chicken stock), caramelized sugar, Grand Marnier, orange zest, and vinegar, and has a great depth of flavor with all five flavor components present (sour, sweet, bitter, salt, and umami). It is important for this recipe to obtain a good balance between these five flavors. The meat and sauce pair very well with steamed broccoli or broccoli or broccolini. If you like you can add orange supremes to the sauce, but here I omitted them. For best results cook the duck breast sous-vide, but by finishing it in the oven you can also get excellent results. Here’s what I did…
1 whole duck breast, about 400 grams (.9 lbs), skin on
250 ml (1 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice
grated zest of 1/2 orange
orange supremes (optional)
75 grams (6 Tbsp) sugar
80 ml (1/3 cup) white wine
30 ml (2 Tbsp) white wine vinegar
30 ml (2 Tbsp) Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
50 grams chopped carrot (1/2 cup)
50 grams chopped onion (1/2 cup)
50 grams chopped celery (1/2 cup)
1 bay leaf
some sprigs fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp corn starch
400 grams (.9 lbs) broccoli or broccolini
When cooking in the oven, insert a meat thermometer and cook in the oven at 120ºC/250ºF until an instant read meat thermometer inserted with the tip in the center reads 55ºC/131ºF (because the core temperature will continue to increase once you take the meat out of the oven).
Cook over high heat until you obtain a caramel. Make sure you have the vinegar and orange juice handy once the caramel starts to turn amber, because it goes from amber to black much more quickly than from transparent to amber.
Add part of the reduced orange juice to the reduced stock. Do not add everything at once, but taste to find the right balance. If you add too much, the sauce may become too sweet. You may also need to add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Although duck breast is red meat and usually served with a red wine, in this case because of the sauce an usual but great choice is a late-harvest (Vendanges Tardives) Gewurztraminer from Alsace. The sweet, sour, and bitter of the wine are a great pairing with the sauce. Dry reds or whites would not work with the sauce.
All the recipes I could find for lobster risotto did not use the lobster shells to make lobster stock to use for the risotto. They were simply a plain risotto with a lobster served on top. And so I decided to create my own recipe for lobster risotto and it turned out spectacular! This risotto is served with the lobster tail on top, delicious lobster meat mixed in with the rice that has a wonderful lobster flavor from the stock, as well as peas, tomato, and yellow bell pepper for lovely colors. This dish has a nice contrast between the creamy rice and crunchy vegetables.