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Duck Orange à la Ho

Duck a la Orange Recipe


A duet of China's classic five spices and Activated Phenolics redefine France's classic duck à la orange recipe. A culinary jazz riff on Southeast Asians' travels through France at the turn of the 20th century, it's one of the most foolproof duck dishes we know.

Prep and cooking time: 90 minutes (it's worth it). Serves 2.

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  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 cup wine or chicken stock
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp Activated Phenolics
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot, if desired
  • 1 orange, with skin
  • 3/4 cup other orange juice
  • salt
  • pepper


To Cook the Duck

    1. Pat both sides of the duck breasts to dry with a paper towel.
    2. Run hand over the skin for feathers. If found, take a tweezer to pull them out.
    3. Score the skin every ½ centimeter, or further apart if you want fattier duck. Don’t cut the meat, you’re just looking to drain fat, which you can save to make other scrumptious dishes.
    4. Firmly salt and pepper the skin side, lightly salt and pepper the meat side. Most of the cooking will happen on the skin side.
    5. Lay skin side down in the skillet. You need a large enough pan to have space around each duck breast. 
    6. Cook somewhere between medium and low. If the fat rendering from the duck bubbles in the pan, your skin will be crispy. Your pan and stovetop will determine the exact heat to use.
    7. The fat should be rendered in about 12-15 minutes. As the duck cooks, pour off rendered fat. Make sure you wipe any fat the edge of the pan afterward, especially if you’re cooking on a gas top.
    8. When the fat has rendered and the skin is crisp, flip onto the meat side. You want most of the cooking to happen on the skin side, though. Cook until the internal temperature of the duck hits 55C or your desired temperature. Remove duck from pan.

 To Make the Sauce

    1. Pour chicken stock or white wine into the pan and stir up the fond, the good bits left at the bottom of the pan. Reduce by half.
    2. Once reduced, add the orange juice, Activated Phenolics, lime juice, tamarind paste, soy sauce, and five spice powder.
    3. Juice orange, topping up with other orange juice to make 1 cup. Slice orange rind into 6-8 very thin strips. Cut 12 orange segments.
    4. Cook on low until reduced to the consistency you prefer. In the last five minutes, add the orange strips and orange segments. Add arrowroot to speed up the thickening process, if you like a thicker sauce. Taste to adjust flavorings as you cook.
    5. Slice duck onto plates and pour sauce over, garnishing with cooked peel strands and orange segments.