You probably can't tell from looking at this picture, but the rain is just dripping off the trees outside my tree house. I like the rain. I'm used to it. Everyone born here on the We(s)t Coast of British Columbia is secretly born with duck feet. Oh, yes, we are. This is the rainforest and we have the tallest trees in the world. And we have duck feet.
Speaking of duck, I have been invited out for dinner tomorrow, to a restaurant that specializes in ... ta-da ... duck, one of my favorite dishes. I have a friend whom I have known since we were about 15 years old, and approximately once a decade we get together for a visit. My friend will be in town tomorrow, for one day, and has invited me for dinner. We haven't seen each other in almost eight years, so I wonder if we will recognize each other. Well, I guess all I have to do is start laughing, and I will be completely recognizable.
Duck L'Orange is one of those retro classic comfort foods that everyone loves. I made it one year for Thanksgiving dinner (don't ask me why...) and I was surprised at how good it was. Here's a typical recipe:
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, about 6 oranges, orange rinds reserved
1 (5-pound) duck, cleaned, with innards, wing tips and excess fat removed
2 oranges, zested
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Peychaud Bitters
1 1/2 cups duck or chicken stock
2 tablespoons arrowroot dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Roughly chop the orange rinds and place in the cleaned duck cavity. Place the stuffed duck on a baking rack over a baking sheet with 1/2-inch of water. Bake until skin turns golden brown and lightly crisps, about 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and continue cooking until duck reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees, about 1 hour.
In a medium heavy saucepan combine the orange juice, zest and sugar over medium high heat and reduce to 3/4 cup. Add Peychaud Bitters to orange juice gastrique and set aside. Add hot duck stock to reduced orange gastrique and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes to reduce. Add arrowroot mixture, to thicken.
Remove duck from roasting pan, and discard the fat from pan. Remove orange rinds from duck cavity. Let rest 10 minutes before carving. Add the Grand Marnier to roasting pan and place over 2 burners on medium high heat. Deglaze pan, scraping continuously with a large wooden spoon. Reduce for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the orange sauce in the pan into a gravy boat and serve with carved duck.
I'll be back to visit with everyone soon.