t Free range duck Free range duck

Utterly Delicious Free Range Duck a l’Orange with Watercress

November 8, 2013 in Everything Else

Duck a l'orange LR

Getting bored of turkey? If you are after something a little bit different this Christmas why not try a free range duck with the Freedom Food symbol?

Freedom Food is an RSPCA scheme that governs the highest level of welfare for farming animals. This means that when you buy your Christmas duck you will be guaranteed it had good living conditions and had access to bathing water, something all ducks need but rarely get when intensively farmed. Key standards must be met for when rearing an animal for it to attain the Freedom Food symbol.

The ducks should have Freedom from:

  • Hunger and thirst- They must have access to fresh water and food.
  • Discomfort- They must have an appropriate environment, including shelter and a resting area.
  • Pain, injury or disease- By prevention, rapid diagnosis or treatment.
  • Freedom to express normal behavior- They must have sufficient space, proper facilities and the company of its own kind.
  • Fear and distress- by ensuring conditions and care which avoid mental suffering.

Look out for Freedom Food labelled duck  in one of your local supermarkets, or ask you supermarket to stock it. All Sainsbury’s own-label duck meat and Tesco’s own label whole duck is Freedom Food labelled.

This Freedom Food Duck a l’orange is a great recipe for Christmas lunch or supper.

SERVES 4                 

PREP TIME: 20 minutes                 

COOK TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes 


  •  1 medium size Freedom Food labelled fatty duck
  • A little sunflower oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • Rind of 1 medium orange and juice of 3 oranges
  • Black pepper
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 double sized thumb of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 dsp good quality dark runny honey
  • 50g fridge cold butter, chopped into small squares
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C / fan oven 200°C / Gas Mark 7.
  2. Put the duck on a rack in a roasting tray (or straight into the bottom of it) and rub all over with a little sunflower oil. Season very generously with salt and plenty of dried rosemary.
  3. Roast in the oven for half an hour or so before checking. The skin should be nice and brown.
  4. Pour off any excess fat into a bowl. NOTE: The fat may need pouring off a few times during the cooking so as to prevent it burning. Keep it for frying eggs, roasting potatoes and the like.
  5. Turn down the heat to 180°C / fan oven 160°C / Gas Mark 4 and roast the duck for another hour or so. If not ready, continue to cook for increments of 15 minutes. The duck, in this instance should not be pink near the breast bone but cooked through. The legs should be very tender.
  6. While the duck cooks, cut the ends off one of the four oranges. Stand it on a board and cut the rind off in strips vertically, all the way round, taking care to cut only the rind and not the white pith. Stack the slices and slice them lengthways as thinly as you possibly can.
  7. Put the rind in a small saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and tip away the water. Cover again and re-boil for 4 minutes. Drain and leave to one side.
  8. Now squeeze all four oranges. Reserve the pip free juice for later.
  9. When the duck is ready, remove to a carving board to rest, covered with a loose bit of foil and a tea towel.
  10. Pour as much of the excess fat from the roasting tray as possible and put the tray back over a medium heat. Stir the wine into the sticky duck juices in the bottom of the tray followed by the orange juice. Squeeze the juice too from the grated ginger. Bring to a very rapid simmer and reduce the gravy until it is barely less than syrupy (reduced by about two thirds). Stir in the honey and rind from the oranges.
  11. Whisk in the knobs of butter until the sauce is glossy, creamy looking and thickened, then immediately transfer to a warm jug or bowl.
  12. Carve the duck and serve with the sauce.
  13. Make sure any running juices are whisked back into the sauce.
  14. Arrange the duck in the middle of plates and spoon around the sauce. Some sautéed potatoes are a fine accompaniment. Serve with the watercress dressed with a little walnut oil, red wine vinegar or lemon juice and some salt.

about the author

Alison Jane Reid

Alison Jane Reid - Journalist, Editor & Emerald Princess of Slow, Sustainable Luxury Living - 18 year track record interviewing real icons for: The Times, The Lady, You, The Mirror and Country Life. Now leading her alluring fairtrade, emerald revolution - Don’t Miss Out - Have you joined The Ethical Hedonist set?

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