Duck à l'Orange

Chef Ludo Lefebvre updates duck à l’orange with North African flavors, like ras el hanout and orange blossom water. Slideshow:  More Duck Recipes 

Duck a l'Orange
Photo: © Tara Fisher
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 5 tablespoons dark honey, such as buckwheat

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom water

  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout (see Note)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 

  • Kosher salt

  • White pepper

  • 4 confit duck legs

  • Four 8-ounce duck breasts, refrigerated uncovered on a rack overnight 

  • 2 blood oranges or oranges

  • 2 cups amaranth leaves or baby spinach leaves

  • Mint leaves, for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan, bring the honey to a boil over high heat. Add the juice, stock, vinegar, orange blossom water and ras el hanout. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until reduced by half (to about 1 cup), 16 to 18 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in 2 tablespoons of the butter. Season the sauce with salt and pepper; keep warm.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°. Place the duck legs on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast until heated through and browned, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

  3. Using a paring knife, deeply score the skin of each duck breast every 1/2 inch in a crosshatch pattern; season with salt. In a large skillet, arrange the duck breasts skin side down. Place the skillet over moderately low heat and cook, without turning, until some of the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Turn the breasts and cook until medium rare (130º internal temperature), 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest. Drain the fat from the skillet and save for another use; reserve the skillet.

  4. On a cutting board, trim the ends from each blood orange and then slice away all the peel and pith. Cut each orange crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, then halve the slices.

  5. Return the skillet to high heat and melt the remaining butter. Add the amaranth leaves and swirl the skillet until they are wilted and fragrant, 20 seconds. Slice the duck breasts. Arrange the breasts and the amaranth on plates and drizzle with the sauce. Top with the duck legs and orange slices and garnish with mint leaves.

Make Ahead

The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Rewarm before serving.


Ras el hanout is a North African spice mixture that usually includes ginger and anise. It’s available at some grocery stores (McCormick makes a version) and from

Suggested Pairing

Spiced, red-berried southern Rhône red.

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