With plenty of leftover cranberries and oranges, I’ve decided to put some into good use, in the form of a sauce for a duck dish.
Cranberries and oranges go so well together, and the acidity and mild sweetness is just perfect for a duck dish. The result was wonderful.
The dish is tasty and festive, perfect for the season. I served it with polenta, but mashed potatoes is also a wonderful option. Try it and enjoy.
* Keeping the dish in the fridge overnight does wonders to the flavor of the sauce and I highly recommend not skipping this stage.
* I’ve used homemade lightly salted chicken stock. If using store bought, look for low sodium one.
* 4 pepper mix is made of black, green, white and pink pepper. If you can’t find it, freshly ground black pepper will do.
* Extra sauce will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. It is great with any chicken or turkey dishes.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 2½ hours
Waiting time: overnight
3 duck legs (about 1.5 lb, 750 grams), preferably fresh, at room temperature
(If using frozen, thaw slowly in the fridge overnight)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground 4 pepper mix
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly cut
3 celery stalks, roughly cut
Zest from 1 large orange
4-5 bay leaves
4-5 dries sage leaves
2 cups fresh cranberries, or frozen, thawed
¼ cup flour
2 Tbs honey
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup fresh orange juice (from 1 large orange)
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground 4 pepper mix
½ tsp sweet paprika
¼ tsp hot paprika
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1. With a sharp knife, make a few superficial cuts in the duck’s skin (this will help release the fat). Season with salt and pepper. Place a medium size wide pot over medium-high heat and add the duck, skin side down. Fry the duck in its own rendered fat, for about 5 minutes, until the skin is golden. Turn and fry for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pot, drain most of the fat (keep it, it’s great for roasted potatoes!), keeping about 2 Tbs in.
2. Add the onion, celery and carrot, mix and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onion softens. Add the orange zest, bay leaves, sage and cranberries. Mix and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the flour and mix well. Add the honey, chicken stock, orange juice and spices. Mix and bring to the boil. Add the duck and cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200F (95C). Place the covered pot in the oven and braise for 1 hour. Uncover the pot and place back in the oven for 1 hour. Take out and bring to room temperature before placing in the fridge overnight.
5. The next day, remove most of the fat layer. Take the duck out and keep in a bowl at room temperature.
Discard the bay leaves and blend the sauce with a hand blender. Strain through a fine strainer. Place back in the pot and reheat over medium-low heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cook for about 10 minutes, mixing occasionally, until the sauce reduces and its color deepens. Keep in a warm place until serving.
6. For a crispy skin serving option: reheat the duck in the oven, and broil for the last 3-4 minutes, to crisp the skin. Serve with the sauce on the side. Another option is to reheat the duck in the reduced sauce and serve.