My Grandpa Lloyd was a swell guy. He had one of those brilliant minds – truly a creative genius. In the basement of his house he had a laboratory where kept a workbench filled with metals of all colors, vials, flasks, scales, chemicals and tools. It was dark and dingy, but I made it my business to get down there as many times as possible to see a bit of his inner world in action. He was an inventor and that seemed super cool to me at the time – actually it still does. My left brain has atrophied over the years and mathematics and science seem as foreign as Latin 😉 Anyway… he was less than thrilled about me stalking him into his man cave. He went as far as to say that the boogie man lived in one of the dank cob webbed filled corners. This was not deterrent enough, and I followed him despite the niggling fear that some terrifying monster would pop out and grab me at any moment.
Many of his loves became my hobbies over the years. Photography, dancing and music being just a few of the areas where he influenced the person I am today. Oh how I miss him still. Inexplicably I had a hankering for duck a l’orange this week. One of those odd dishes that remind me of bad restaurants in the 80’s – then it dawned on me! The first meal I had ever had at a “fancy” restaurant was in 1976 with my grandparents and I ordered duck a l’orange. For a little girl of 6 it sounded impossibly exotic. My Grandpa, being who he was, allowed me this indulgence. It remains one of my fondest food memories. Here is my 2013 version of Duck a l’orange. We made it with chicken!
Duck a l’Orange Recipe with Chicken as a Pinch Hitter
Ingredients for the Chicken
1 – 3lb free range chicken
3 large cloves of garlic halved
2 Tbsp salted organic butter
1 Tbsp grape seed oil
a dusting of coriander
1 large organic orange
Ingredients for the Sauce
1/4 c of apple cider vinegar (I used Braggs)
1/4 c organic cane sugar
1/3 c chicken stock
1 large organic orange
1/4 c white wine
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the chicken and thoroughly dry it – ideally you should bring the bird to room temperature. Take a knife and put 6 small slashes in the skin. The breast on either side should have two slashes (one on the upper breast and the other on the lower) and one slash on each thigh. Insert your finger gently under the skin to loosen it. Rub some softened butter under the skin. You want to keep the slashes in the flesh as small as possible – try to avoid ripping the skin. Gently place 1/2 a clove of garlic in each slash and close the skin over the top. Don’t worry of it looks a bit bumpy, the garlic will roast into the flesh of the bird. Use the grape seed oil and gently massage it into the skin. Liberally salt the cavity and the skin and dust with coriander. Slice an orange in half and place it into the cavity. Bind the legs with twine and cook the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes covered with tin foil. Remove the tin foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Flip the bird 😉 and then cook on the other side for an additional 20 minutes. Flip once more (right side up) and cook for the final 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. The will ensure moist meat.
While you are cooking the chicken prepare the sauce. Juice the orange and then with a vegetable peeler strip sections of rind away from the pith (the white spongy part under the colourful rind). Julienne (slice into super fine strips – see picture above). Set aside. Combine the sugar and vinegar over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar turns a warm caramel colour. This should take about 8 minutes. Add the rind and juice. Bring back to a boil – then add the stock. Boil till reduced by about 1/2. When the chicken is done remove it from the pan. Heat the pan juices to medium high and deglaze the pan with white wine — scraping up all the lovely brown bits with the whisk. When the alcohol has burned off quickly add the caramel sauce mixture. Whisk and serve immediately over the chicken.
L’anamour – Serge Gainsbourg (1969)