Duck a l’Orange

This is my easy version of a classic Duck a l’Orange. It’s inspired by Pierre Koffmann’s recipe for wild duck in orange sauce in Memories of Gascony and is simpler than most because it doesn’t require stock, just fresh orange juice.

An old-fashioned citrus zester is preferable to a microplane for this recipe, as the long thin strands of zest are best in the sauce. A simple green salad is a great accompaniment.

If you love duck, join me for a duck & pinot walk this Sunday – details here.

Serves: 2


  • 2 x 200g duck breast fillets, skin on (or 1 x 350g fillet)
  • 1 large orange (or 1 1/2 smaller oranges)
  • salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or vermouth)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons aged red wine vinegar
  • 20g cold butter, diced
  • crusty bread, for serving


Pat the skin of the duck dry with paper towel then use a very sharp knife to cut fine diagonal score marks through the skin in a criss-cross pattern, without cutting into the meat.

Salt skin generously. Place duck, skin side-down, in a frying pan. Set aside for 30–60 minutes to bring it to room temperature.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 100°C.

Zest orange then segment it (see how here), squeezing the membrane well to extract as much juice as possible. You’ll need about a quarter cup of juice, so juice another half the orange if necessary.

Place pan with duck breast over medium-high heat and cook for about seven minutes, pouring off the fat as it melts, until the skin is golden (reserve the fat for making duck fat potatoes).

Turn duck over and cook for a further five to eight minutes depending on thickness. A 200g breast will take about five minutes for medium-rare; a 350g breast about eight minutes. For the most accurate result cook until the internal temperature registers 55-60°C on a digital temperature probe.

Remove duck to a plate, skin side up, and place in the oven. Turn oven off.

Add wine to the pan, increase heat and bring to the boil, stirring to remove any bits stuck to the base of the pan.

When wine has reduced by half, add orange juice and zest, honey and vinegar and boil for a few minutes, until reduced by half.

Taste and add salt and pepper.

Remove from heat, beat in cold butter then stir in orange segments (adding a splash of Cointreau or brandy if you like).

Slice duck, arrange on plates, top with sauce and serve with crusty bread to soak up all the delicious juices.

You’ll find a print-friendly version and step-by-step video of this recipe here.

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Also read: Dinner party classics through the decades

Roberta Muir
Roberta Muir
Roberta Muir loves making it easy for home cooks to explore new cuisines and ingredients and sharing her passion for cooking, eating, drinking and travelling. She’s a recipe writer, cooking teacher, and author of four cookbooks including the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook. Find more of her inspiration at
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