My Mother receives numerous requests for this recipe every year. She makes this recipe for Christmas Eve. It is a sure hit and will keep your guests coming back for more. As always buy as many organic ingredients as possible for optimum flavor.
2 organic ducklings 3 to 4 lbs each, thawed if frozen
1 small onion quartered
1 small orange quartered
1 celery stalk cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small carrot cut in 1 inch pieces
salt and fresh ground pepper
2 small poultry bags, one for each duck
plastic latex disposable gloves found in any super market by the box
1 organic orange
1 tablespoon Cointreau
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon of salt
2/3 cup water divided
1/2 cup white wine (a sauterne perhaps)
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Preheat oven temperature to 200 degrees F.
Rinse the duck under cold running water; drain well and pat dry with paper towel. Prick the skin all over with a fork. Stuff cavity with celery, onion, carrots and orange quarters and truss each bird.
Rub each duck breast with olive oil (this will keep the bird from sticking to the bag. However, don't worry if the skin does stick because whatever skin sticks to the bag will merely minimize the effort expended in removing the skin before serving.)
Insert a bird in each bag and close according to the instructions on the poultry bag box. Pierce bag with small holes to let steam escape as it cooks. Place the ducks in a roasting pan and put in the oven. Slow roast the duck for about 3-4 hours depending on the size of the ducks. No basting is needed with the poultry bags. You will know the ducks are done when the leg begins to pull away from the breast. When birds are done, remove the birds from the oven.
While the ducks are cooking make the sauce. Peel half of the orange with a vegetable peeler being careful not to remove the pith. Cut the peel into thin slivers. Squeeze juice from orange and set aside. Whisk Cointreau, cornstarch, salt and pepper together. Set aside.
When you have determined the birds are ready, put on your plastic gloves, cut open the poultry bags and have a warmed serving platter ready. Remove the skin and gently pull away a whole breast from each side of the center bone placing each on the platter in an attractive arrangement. Arrange the legs and thighs neatly around the edge of the platter and cover.
Degrease duck drippings using a fat separator or pour all the juices from the pan into a bowl and let it settle for 5 minutes. The fat will separate and rise to the top. Cover the fat with ice cubes which solidifies the fat and remove ice cubes complete with the fat attached to them. Repeat as necessary until all the fat is removed.
Pour the juices back into the roasting pan and place the pan over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup water, wine and sherry. Bring to a boil scraping up brown bits in pan. Cook until reduced to 3/4 cup. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan over low heat cook sugar without stirring until melted and is light ca ramel color - about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup of water, orange juice, lemon juice and vinegar. (Sugar will harden but continue stirring until completely dissolved.) Add orange peel, reduced pan juices and cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until mixture boils; boil 1 minute.
Makes 4 servings.
For larger dinner parties, you can make the sauce a day before by roasting one or two ducks, so it's completed before the party starts. You can then extend the sauce with the juices from the roasted ducks the day of the party. It's a rich sauce and goes fast, so make plenty.
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