Duck à l’Orange

From The WI Cookbook, this duck a l'orange recipe makes for a retro addition to a dinner party. The duck is cooked with orange, port and red wine vinegar.

From the book

The WI Cookbook by
The WI Cookbook
100 recipes spanning 100 years of British cooking
Nostalgic family favourites
Reliable British classics


In his television series, Heston’s Feasts, the eponymous chef acknowledged Duck à l’Orange as a Sixties classic. So the WI were right on track when this recipe found its way into The WI Book of Party Recipes (1969). Though some of the more bizarre party dishes deserve to be left in the ‘swinging’ decade, this recipe is well worth serving today.

Serves 3-4
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 h 30 min
Total time: 1 h 45 min


1 duck, about 1.5-1.7kg, rinsed and patted dry with kitchen paper
25g butter
2 large oranges
25g granulated sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
300ml chicken stock, ideally fresh but a cube will do
50ml port
salt, celery salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/gas mark 6. Prick the duck skin all over with a fork. Loosen skin around the neck and push butter up inside. Season and place in a roasting tin. Roast for 1-1½ hours, basting during cooking.

While the duck is cooking, make the sauce. Peel skins off oranges thinly, without pith. A swivel-bladed peeler is the best tool for removing the skin. Cut into thin julienne and blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain, refresh and set aside. Cut the remaining pith off oranges, cut out segments. Squeeze pith to extract juice, and set juice and segments aside. For the caramel, dissolve the sugar in 2-3 tbsp cold water in a small pan over a very low heat, then boil and cook until golden brown. Add vinegar, stock and port and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.

Remove duck from the oven and leave to rest on a warm plate. Drain fat from the tin and add a little sauce, scraping up any juices. Return this to the sauce with the orange strips and juice. Warm orange segments in the oven. Carve the duck and arrange on warm plates. Spoon over segments then spoon over sauce with orange peel. Serve with peas.

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