Julia Child’s Roast Duck with Orange Sauce

This recipe has been flagged for review. It may not be accurate or complete. I’ll review it when I get a chance. Sorry for any issues.

Caneton â l’orange or Roast Duck with Orange Sauce is probably one of the most popular duck dishes presented by Julia Child. Roast duck is decorated with fresh segments of orange and is served with orange-flavored brown sauce. The most important element of this recipe is its sauce – a meaty, rich, strong, sauce with duck essence that is darkened using caramel. The sauce is flavored with orange peel and wine. You are highly recommended to prepare your sauce well ahead of time, since it will give you enough room for roasting your duck and serving it immediately.


  • Navel oranges: 4 (brightly colored)
  • Ready-to-cook duckling: 1 (5½-lb)
  • Salt: ½ teaspoon
  • Pepper: a pinch
  • Red wine vinegar: ¼ cup
  • Granulated sugar: 3 Tablespoon
  • Strong, brown duck stock: 2 cups
  • Oranges: 4 (skinned)
  • Arrowroot: 2 Tablespoon (blend it with 3 tablespoon of Madeira)
  • Port or Madeira: ½ cup
  • Orange liqueur: 2 or 3 Tablespoon
  • Orange bitters or lemon juice: a few drops
  • Softened butter: 2 Tablespoon


1. Blanching the orange peel

Remove the orange skin with the help of a vegetable peeler. Cut the skin into julienne – 1/16 inch wide and 1/2 inch long strips. Take a pot and pour a quart of water into it. Simmer the orange peel for about 15 minutest to remove the bitterness. Drain and pat dry.

2. Roasting the duck

Take your duck and season it with salt and pepper. Next, put 1/3 of the prepared orange peel and tie the duck. Take a decent sized roasting pan and place the duck breast up in it. Strew all the vegetables around the duck and set the pan in the middle level of your oven. Let it cook for about 15 minutes until the duck is slightly browned.

Reduce the oven to precisely 350 F, and turn the duck slowly to its sides. Make sure that the fat is not burning. Regulate the heat carefully. Remove the accumulated fat once in a while. After 30 minutes of cooking, turn the duck slowly to its other side.

About 15 minutes before your take the duck out, salt it according to your taste and turn it breast side up. If the juices are turned pale yellow, your duck is cooked.

The sauce

While your duck is roasting in the oven, you need to make a sweet and sour caramel coloring. Take a pan and pour vinegar into it. Add the sugar and heat cook it over medium heat until the mixture turns into brown-colored syrup. Remove the mixture from heat immediately and pout in half-cup duck stock.

Let the mixture simmer for a minute or two. Don’t forget to stir it continuously in order to dissolve the caramel. Add the rest of the duck stock into the mixture and beat in the arrowroot mixture. Put the orange peel into the mixture and let everything simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes. When the sauce is limped, clear and lightly thickened, it is ready. Season it to taste and set aside.

The orange segments

Take the oranges and cut them into skinless, neat segment. Take a serving platter and place the oranges on it.

Final assembly of the dish

Discard the tying strings once the duck is cooked. Set it on the serving platter. Place it in your turned-off oven. Don’t forget to leave the door of the oven ajar.

Next, remove the fat from roasting pan, add wine and boil the mixture rapidly. Simmer it until it is reduced to just two to three tablespoons of liquid

Pour the wine reduction into the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two. Pour orange liquor and taste. The sauce must have a delicious orange flavor. Make sure that it is not too sweet. Add a few drops of orange juice to the sauce at the end.

Swirl the butter enrichment just before serving. Pour the delicious orange sauce into a sauceboat. Place the orange segment over the duck and sides of the platter. Spoon some sauce over the duck, and serve!


  1. I assume that 1/3 of orange peel is put into duck cavity? Perhaps, sprinkled over duck? How can I reduce the oven temperature when it does not tell you the temp to start with? If duck stock not available, what can be substituted? Or how to make? At what point is the butter incorporated to make the butter enrichment? And, what’s with drops of oj at the end seriously, drops? Augh.

  2. a lot is missing here. it says to remove strings, but never that you should truss the duck. what’s the initial temp of the oven, for the first 15 mins, and before you turn it down to 350? What vegetables? too many things left out for this recipe to be trusted.

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  4. So – just *how* long do you actually cook the duck for? 30 mins on each side, or just one? Stating “fifteen minutes before you take the duck out” is not exactly a useful measurement when you don’t know how long to leave the duck in in the first place. Is that 15 mins to start, 30 mins side 1, 30 mins side 2, 15 mins at end? i.e. 1 1/2 hours in total? Or does side 2 take less time because it has already been in the oven for 45 mins to start with? How long do you rest the duck for before starting to carve? (important for knowing for the prep of other vegetables)

    And – quite bluntly, have you ever tried balancing any form of poultry “on its side” without it falling over and splashing hot fat everywhere? Recipe for disaster!

    It’s a shame – on the surface, it looks like a lovely recipe, but the way it has been written out means that it is impossible to actually do (and I’m not likely to actually try it and risk it going wrong, given how expensive duck is…)

    • Yeah I’ve had other complaints about this recipe too. I’ll proof read it when I get a chance and clean it up. Sorry about the issues.

  5. Andrew Hunter says:

    My wife and I are going to give this recipe a shot tomorrow. I see in the directions it says to add the vegetables but in the ingredients I’m not seeing any vegetables listed. Also I’m thinking I may have trouble finding duck stock so would chicken stock be a suitable replacement? And one more thing. Is orange bitters and orange juice the same thing? Any help to making this a success would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    Andrew Hunter

  6. Why wasn’t this proofread?
    “Next, put 1/3 of the prepared orange peel and tie the duck.” Put the orange peel where?
    “Take a decent sized roasting pan and place the duck breast up in it. ” Oh, I’ll put the duck breast ALL up in it!
    “When the sauce is limped,” Limped?
    “While your duck is roasting in the oven, you need to make a sweet and sour caramel coloring. ” Like draw a picture or make food coloring?
    “Take the oranges and cut them into skinless, neat segment. ” Just the one?

    I’ve seen a lot of poorly written recipes, but this takes the cake.

    • Ugh, I let a guy write a few recipes because he wanted to contribute and the first few were decent, so I gave him publishing rights. I’ll have to go review all of his posts now.


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