Braised Duck with Orange

Duck and orange are a match made in heaven, and the long cooking will ensure a sweet and tender result. The use of maryland pieces (drumstick and thigh) means there is no last minute carving, it is perfectly portioned and is less intimidating for those that have not much experience cooking duck. Pinot Noir is a perfect wine match for this delicious dish.

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 duck maryland pieces (drumstick and thigh attached)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (eg. Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Heat a large lidded flame-proof sauté pan or casserole over a medium-high heat on the stove.
3. Season the duck pieces with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place skin-side down in the heated casserole (no need to add oil) and cook for 3-4 minutes or until brown. Turn over and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
4. Pour off most of the duck fat (save this to make the best roasted potatoes!), add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the wine, increase the heat and bring to the boil. Add the orange zest, orange juice, chicken stock, orange liqueur and thyme and return to the boil.
6. Return the duck pieces to the casserole, cover and cook for 1 hour in the pre-heated oven, turning once halfway through cooking.
7. Remove the lid from the pan and ensure the duck pieces are skin-side up. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C and cook a further 15 minutes or until the skin is crispy.
8. Serve each duck piece on a bed of mashed potatoes with the sauce spooned over the top.

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