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Duck Bigarade Recipe

This recipe, made with bitter Seville oranges, has to be made in late January and February, when these oranges are available. This sauce compliments duck far better than normal duck with orange sauce as it combats the inherent richness of the bird. The duck can be roasted well ahead of time, if you prefer. The roasting timing given will give you a slightly underdone duck - so you finish the cooking just before serving.

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For 4 helpings:

1 large free-range Aylesbury-type Duck – about 1.9 kilos/4 lbs oven-ready
90g/ 3 oz Butter – at room temperature, so it's spreadable

For the Bigarade Sauce -

250ml/ 9 fl oz White Wine Vinegar
250g/ ½ lb Granulated Sugar
6 Seville Oranges
2 Lemons
500cl/ 1 pint Dry White Wine
1 litre/2 pints Dark Chicken Stock or Stock made with the Duck carcase – see below (or use a Chicken stock cube)
Salt & freshly-ground Black Pepper – to taste
1 teaspoon/5 ml Cornflour, dissolved in a little cold water.


1. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
2. Put the duck in a roasting dish, and rub it all over with the butter.
3. Roast the duck, uncovered for 40 minutes.
4. Allow the duck to cool until it's manageable to handle, then cut off each leg at the point where it joins the body – giving you two leg & thigh pieces.
5. Remove each breast in one piece, keeping as close to the rib frame as you can. This will give you four serving helpings.

You can prepare ahead up to this point, refrigerate the duck – and finish later.

6. Put the carcase in a plastic carrier bag (or something similar), and flatten it with a rolling pin. You can use this to make you sauce.
7. Put the vinegar and sugar in a big non-reactive saucepan (so stainless steel or glass, not aluminium).
8. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar over a low heat, until you have a syrup.
9. Remove as much zest from the oranges and lemons as possible – using a sharp potato peeler or knife. Cut these pieces into thin (julienne) matchstick pieces.
10. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, and blanch these strips of zest for 5 minutes. Drain, and refresh the zest under very cold water – this will set their colour.
11. Add these strips to the syrup mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove these from the syrup and set aside.
12. Carefully remove the white pith, then – using a sharp knife – remove each fruit section into individual pieces.
13. Add these to the the syrup mixture with the white wine, stock and crushed duck carcase.
14. Add a little water, if the carcase isn't covered.
15. Bring to boiling point, then simmer – very gently – for 1 hour.
16. Remove the fruit segments and set aside, then sieve the sauce and discard any carcase solids.
17. Add salt & pepper to taste, then add the dissolved cornflour and heat until the sauce slightly thickens.
18. When ready to serve heat the duck in a moderate oven for about 10 minutes.
19. Heat the sauce with the fruit segments and julienne peel strips and serve – perhaps with a little sauce poured over each duck helping and the remainder in a jug.

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