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Golden Girls

Blanche’s Duck a L’Orange

By Khalil Hymore
While not much of a cook herself, Blanche knew how to order the best foods in the finest restaurants Miami had to offer. While preparing to date her younger gym instructor, Blanche “turned back the hands of time” with a strict diet and exercise regime. On their first date, Dirk told Blanche she reminded him of his mother. Blanche immediately grabs the waiter, ditches the watercress salad she ordered, and replaces it with duck a l’orange and a stiff drink.

Makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large oranges
  • 2 boneless duck breasts, about 1 pound each
  • kosher or sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

1. Combine the sugar with ¼ cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until the syrup turns amber colored, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar, orange juice, and shallots. Be careful, the mixture will bubble forcefully. Boil the mixture until reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Add the broth and reduce again by half. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Score the skin of the duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the duck breasts skin side down. Cook until the skin is crisp, about 6 minutes. Flip the duck breasts and cook until medium-rare, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest, about 5 minutes.

3. Bring the sauce back to a simmer. Using small knife, slice off the peel and white pith from the oranges. Working over a bowl to catch the juice, slice in between the membranes to release the orange segments. Add the segments, their juice, and the orange zest to the sauce.

4. Thinly slice the duck breasts and arrange on a platter. Spoon the orange segments and sauce over the duck, and serve.