Christmas dinner: canard à l’orange with red cabbage and roasted potatoes

Christmas dinner preparations were chaotic this year. I hadn’t really planned the recipes when I went shopping. Fortunately, christmas dinner was for me and Iris only so there was no pressure of feeding a large group of people. However, even when I started cooking, I still did not know exactly what I was going to do. All I knew is that I wanted to make canard à l’orange but I didn’t even know what it is exactly. Eventually, I got some help from Gordon Ramsay and I decided to cook the duck his way and serve it with orange sauce. It turned out wonderful! The duck was perfect and the sauce more orangey than oranges. The red cabbage has all christmas spices and the roasted potatoes are comforting and delicious.

Ingredients:
For the duck:
2 duck breasts
salt & pepper

For the orange sauce:
zest of 2 oranges (use a speed peeler)
juice of 2 oranges
25 ml grand marnier cordon rouge
duck fat from 2 baked breasts

For the red cabbage:
1/2 red cabbage
2 apples
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/10th ground nutmeg
1/4th teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8th teaspoon ground cloves
1/4th teaspoon ground ginger
1/4th teaspoon ground anise seeds

For the roast potatoes:
500g potatoes
salt
knob of butter

Start with making the red cabbage because it requires the longest cooking time. Finely slice the cabbage. Peel the apples and dice them. Put them in a pot with the other ingredients, put a lid on and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Stir every now and then. If all moisture evaporates, add some water.

For the roast potatoes, peel and dice the potatoes. Cook them for 7-8 minutes. Pre-heat the oven at 200 C. Drain the potatoes and let them steam dry. Meanwhile, put some butter in the pan you used for cooking the potatoes. After a minute or so, put the potatoes with some salt into the pan with butter. Put the lid on and shake the pan about. The goal is to roughen up the potatoes so that they’ll have more crispy bits when baked and to coat the potatoes with butter.

While cooking the potatoes, you can start making the orange sauce. Put the zest in 100 ml cold water, bring it to the boil, drain it and repeat once. Now put the zest, juice and grand marnier in a blender and whiz it. Set aside until the duck breasts are resting before carving. Pour the fat from the pan into the mixture and whiz it for half a minute to create a creamy, orange sauce.

Cook the duck the way Gordon Ramsay does it: season the duck breasts and place them, skin side down, in a cold frying pan. Gently turn up the heat to render out the fat. Once the skin is crispy, turn the breasts over and sear them for a minute. Turn them around and place them in an oven pre-heated at 200 C for 7 minutes. Rest the duck breasts a few minutes before serving. Meanwhile, use the fat for the orange sauce.

Serve on a pre-heated plate. Slice the duck and pour the orange sauce over it.

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