First recipe from Divina Cucina's Recipes (http://www.divinacucina.com/), is the duck with the orange sauce on page 99.
Mise En Place
(If you do not know what this means, it is a French culinary term that means "Putting in Place" and it's pronounced "miz a plas")
I ordered the duck a week in advance through my favorite "Butcher" in Redmond. I wanted to be sure that I had the duck for my cook date as it is a very popular item during the holidays in this area as with most areas. I ordered an organic duck that is hormone free, antibiotic free and raised in a natural environment without stress. This particular duck came from a farm in Oregon, since my Butcher was not able to get one from a "local" farm . The duck weighed 4 1/2 pounds and it was about $18.00 in price.
Duck is considered a red meat and not a white flesh poultry. I always use a different color of cutting boards to prevent cross contamination. After studying duck, I learned that the cross contamination of duck is not a big concern as when you are dealing with poultry; the acid level and iron levels in duck flesh are high enough to kill off salmonella. However, always taking caution to work in a clean environment. I highly recommend to use a different color board for your red meats, poultry, fish and vegetables, so that you have no concerns of cross contamination.
PREPARING THE DUCK TO BAKE
Wash the duck well under running cold water and remove the packet inside the duck that contains the neck, liver, heart and kidneys. These can be saved to make a stock for another recipe or for a soup base.
First you start with stuffing the duck with the ingredients mentioned in the recipe book (oranges are the base for this recipe). Once you stuff the duck, you have to "Truss" the duck to keep the duck moist while it bakes and it helps it to cook evenly as well. If you need instructions on how to "truss", you can find many resources on the Internet to assist you. Here is one web site I found that would be helpful for you to learn http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpSPfuJQVOA.
Once you have completed the trussing of the duck, it is ready for baking. Heat the oven at 350*, and bake the duck for the next 1 1/2 hours. During it's baking course, you want to baste your duck as much as possible with its juices from the bottom of the pan and also with some Brandy.
This is what we call "Mirepoix"
Mirepoix is 100% onions, 50% carrots and 50% celery. Mirepoix is used in many recipes around the world and it adds a lot of flavors to your recipe.
I cooked my mirepoix in a little olive oil, until it was nice and brown. When the duck was done, I started the sauce for the duck by using the sauteed mirepoix and added orange zest and other ingredients mentioned in the recipe. Once the sauce was done, I was able to carve the duck and serve.
The duck baked beautifully!
I carved the duck using two different methods for presentation and accompanied this dish with roasted potatoes and petits pois. Delicious!
This recipe is easy to prepare and it tasted absolutely delicious. Chef Judy does mention in her cook book that "we should be spending more time shopping than we do in the kitchen" and sure enough, this was a very easy recipe to follow and very little time cooking. I recommend this recipe for a dinner party!
There is only one thing that I would change in this recipe and that is to reduce the amount of "sugar" that it calls for in the sauce. I would probably opt not to add 2 Tbsp, but perhaps 1 tsp of sugar (if any) to this recipe as the oranges were very sweet.
Grazie Chef Judy Witts Francini!