Canard a l’orange with five spice

This past weekend, while browsing at the supermarket, I found duck – a whole duck – giblets and all. And I was reminded of a meal I had while I was in Paris at Place de la Madeleine. It was a gorgeous Duck a l’orange, and it was exquisite. But duck also reminded me of the chinese restaurants back in Kuala Lumpur with its famous Peking Duck, and its crispy skin that you roll in pancakes and plum sauce. So I thought, lets marry the 2 together, and see how it goes? (It went well!) Also, I didn’t have hoi sin (plum) sauce at all and it was the weekend, but I had oranges… so… adapt!
I marinated the duck overnight in the fridge, so this is another one of those ‘prepare one day in advance’ recipes that I love to make. Also, try to find good oranges – sweet ones are better. I found ‘juicing’ oranges and they make the sauce taste great.


1 whole duck, approx. 2 kg

The zest from 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 star anise
Salt and pepper

Star Anise

Juice the orange and the lemon (from the stuffing).
2 heaped tsp of Chinese Five Spice
1 tbsp of honey
Salt and pepper

1 orange: juice, and julienne the zest
1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of honey
1/2 glass of red wine
(Plus the juices after you have roasted the duck)

What you will need:
A roasting pan with a wire rack
2 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes (or if you know how to sew/truss, a kitchen needle and thread and string)


1. Prepare the duck. Clean it, remove the extremely fatty parts/excess flaps. If you have bought it from the butchers, you can get him to prepare it for you.
2. Make sure the duck skin is dry and not slippery to the touch. Place the duck in a bowl that is big enough to hold it (and one that you can cover). Make zigzag cuts on the skin, especially at the top and the breast of the duck so as to let the fat sizzle out when it cooks. Don’t pierce into the meat, just lightly score to the fatty layer of the skin. Season generously on the inside (cavity) and the outside of the duck.
3. With a wooden skewer, close the gap at the neck end of the duck, and trim off the edges. (Or sew it if you know how to.)

4. Stuffing: Slice the zest into chunks (not too small) and insert into the duck cavity with the star anise. I also saved the leftover fruit of half an orange after I juiced it. I used it as a ‘cork/stopper’ of the cavity. With the other wooden skewer, close the gap of the cavity as best as you can (again, sew if you know how to). This is the important part that I couldn’t do because I don’t know how to, and I don’t have kitchen string. Truss the duck (bind the legs and wings together and tie them up). But I didn’t and it turned out ok.

5. Marinade: Rub the 5 spice mix all over the duck, concentrating on the zig zag cuts you just made earlier. Set aside.
6. In a saucepan, reduce the orange and lemon juice with the honey until it becomes syrupy in texture. Season the marinade. Leave to cool. Then rub the marinade all over the duck.
7. Cover, and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight (at least 12 hours but no more than 24.)

The Next Day

1. Take the duck out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before roasting to let it get to room temperature. This is also the time for you to rub the sticky marinade all over the duck from the bottom of the bowl.
2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
3. Prepare the roasting pan. Have the wire rack ready and make sure you have about 1 cm of water at the bottom of the pan. Put the duck breast side up.
4. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes. Baste the duck with the fat that has melted at the bottom of the pan.
5. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C, and continue roasting for another hour, basting frequently.
6. Then kick up the heat to 200 degrees C again, and roast for another 15 minutes until golden brown (and to make the skin crispier)
7. Remove from the oven, and remove the wire rack and the duck onto a plate to rest. Remove the skewers/thread/string and remove the stuffing from the cavity.
8. The Sauce: See all that lovely fatty juices at the bottom of the roasting pan? Remove the oozy fat from the top (skim it off). The trick is to tilt the pan sideways and scoop out as much fat off the pan. Once you have done that, scrape the lovely crunchy bits of the roasting pan with your spatula. On medium heat, heat up the roasting pan and add the red wine, all the while stirring and scraping with your spatula. Once it has become thick and gravy like, set aside.
9. In a saucepan, on low heat, add the honey and the Worcestershire sauce and mix. Immediately add the orange juice and cook until it becomes a syrup.
10. Add the sauce from the roasting pan into the saucepan, and stir. Continue stirring and cooking until it has thickened. Add 1 tsp of the julienne zest, stir, and take off the heat.
11. If you want your sauce to be smoother, pass the sauce through a fine mesh sieve.

To serve:

Carve the duck. Arrange on a plate with the sauce at the side and garnish with the julienne orange zest. Serve it with mashed potatoes, or fries or roast potatoes if you like.

We still had plenty of duck leftover from the day before, so I shredded the duck breast meat and we had them Peking Duck style (I used rice dumpling wrappers here) with matchstick spring onions and cucumbers. I also grilled some mushrooms and used the leftover sauce as an alternative to ‘hoi sin’.

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