Fancy Duck a l’Orange Sous Vide?

Let’s face it. If you want to make anything sound that bit special, say it in French. A shrimp might be worth scoffing down. But a langoustine is something that has to be eaten with the reverence its embellished title deserves. Pommes Anna evokes crisp cotton tablecloths, silverware, crystal glasses and fine wines. With due deference to my eldest sister, “Anna’s potatoes” really doesn’t do much for the imagination. So when I cogitated preparing some sweetened duck legs in a plastic bag, it really had to be Duck a l’Orange Sous Vide. It may seem like déjà vu as I have done Duck a l’Orange here before.

I was in a bit of a quandary over the number of oranges to show in the ingredients shot. If they are really juicy, two or three would do. However, I had to squeeze eight to get just enough juice.


  • 4 duck legs
  • 3 to 8 oranges
  • Sugar to sweeten the sauce
  • Thyme
  • Salt and pepper

The preparation of this dish is simplicity itself. First thing to do is to cut around the end of the bone on the legs. This allows them to separate while cooking. The end result looks good and also is more easy to cut off the bone. The duck legs need to be seasoned, then they are placed in a vacuum bag with a couple of slices of orange zest and a sprig of thyme.

We get lovely duck legs here in Ireland. “C’est magnifique”, I hear you say.

Once sealed, they get cooked for 24 hours at 64.5°C. This yields up a pretty unappealing looking result. However, one can correct this by placing the legs in a very hot oven for ten minutes or so.

Don’t the leg bones look excellent. De rigueur would cover it.

It would be a faux pas to not have prepared a simple orange sauce. Juice between six and eight oranges. Add some sugar to sweeten the mixture. You could add some star anise or ginger too, if you are feeling risqué (I did).

Taste the oranges and judge the sugar for yourself.

Reduce this to a nice consistency. Serve it over the duck legs. You will have a big hit on your hands. Your guests will call out Bravo, Bravo! Now all you need to do is decide on what you are going to do for an encore.

Bon Appetite.

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Latest comments
  • Have been thinking of doing Duck a l’Orange for what seems like years but somehow have never got round to it; so now that you have shown me the way and without any booze being involved I will delay no longer!

  • They look fabulous! I was thinking of doing some sous-vide and injecting them with Cointreau.

      • Ha ha – I’m glad you liked it. The alcohol should dissipate during cooking, leaving a subtle orange flavour throughout.

  • Conor Bofin for President!!!
    Having done (whole) duck a l’orange before and screwing it (mainly the sauce – too much wine – drinking of course/not cooking) this sounds golden.
    Hate to nitpick Conor, but langoustine is a scampi, not shrimp (crevette). Would love to see your take on Langoustine sous-vide SVP.

  • My trees are filled with green oranges right now. Will have to wait until they’re ripe and then I can try this. 🙂 Do you have any cooking suggestions for those of us who haven’t joined the 21st century and are still sous vide-less? 😉

  • I am sold on this one! I made duck confit many times, but ever since I found out that sous-vide makes it for a completely painless (and odorless) process, and delivers THE most amazingly tender confit in the known universe, I know your version of this French classic will be a winner….

  • Most things do sound tastier in French. But ask yourself if you want to eat Crapaud dans le Trou… or Toad in the Hole. Your duck looks yummy, and the bones do indeed look smart that way – don’t they call scraping down chop bones ‘frenching’?

  • Am scrolling and reading and thinking . . . I don’t ‘do’ that SV stud, but my steamer and I are best friends . . . so what if I used a little out of the Cointreau bottle and just a tad of cognac and what you say and steamed and then finished on the stove Way back in my ‘younger’ years I rather liked that way of cooking duck ! Oh, love the Israeli couscous to go alongside . . .

  • What an easy way to prepare duck and I’m sure the meat is delicious.

  • This looks great. I would add the bag juices to the sauce.

  • Lobster SV would be lovely too. Actually I remember (vaguely) a two stage recipe where you removed the meat from the shell after cooking it briefly in, and then cook it till done.
    Obviously need a decent white when waiting for the beast to cook.

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