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Roast Duck with Port Reduction Sauce

Roast Duck with Port Reduction Sauce

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Serves 4 to 6.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a recipe found in a restaurant trade journal.

This is one of the best dishes I have ever made. Savory with a delicious sauce that is a little sweet with a hint of citrus. The duck is slow roasted until the meat almost melts off the bone. This is one of my top ten recipes. The roasting time, however, is four hours; so start early.

Ingredients:

1 whole duck, about 4½ pounds (2kg)
Frozen orange juice concentrate; thawed if frozen
For the Port Reduction Sauce
1 tablespoon clarified butter (whole butter okay)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots; sliced
½ cup (118ml) port wine
1 cup (237ml) chicken stock (or duck stock, if you can find it)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup (28g) dried cranberries
3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur such as Cointreau, Triple Sec, or curaçao

Directions:

Start by slow roasting the duck. Heat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Clean the duck and remove the neck, liver, and gizzards from the cavity. You can save the neck and gizzards for making stock later. Trim off the excess neck skin, if present. (I simply roast the duck with the neck, gizzards, and neck skin (not the liver) inside the cavity, hoping they might add some moisture.) Lightly salt the inside of the cavity and truss the bird (see below). Pierce the skin all over the duck with the point of a small knife or a skewer. Place on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Roast 1 hour breast side up. Turn back side up and roast another hour. Turn again and roast 1 hour. Turn one last time and roast one more hour. Remove from the oven and raise the oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush the entire surface of the duck skin with orange juice concentrate. Return to the oven and roast 10 to 15 minutes to brown. Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes.

During the last hour of roasting, prepare the port reduction sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until the flour darkens to a golden brown color. (This is a brown roux.) Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the sliced shallots over medium-low heat until caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the port and simmer to reduce volume by about half. Add the stock and reduce by half. Add 1 tablespoon of the brown roux, bring to a boil, and check for texture. For a thicker sauce, add a teaspoon of roux and boil the sauce to thicken. Taste for salt and pepper. Add the orange-flavored liqueur and dried cranberries. Cook another minute or two and then remove from heat. Cover and set aside.

Separate the roasted duck into portions, arrange on a platter, and spoon the reduction sauce over the top, saving some of the sauce for garnish at the table. Alternatively the duck can be plated whole, garnished, and then carved at the table.