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Roast Duck with Orange and Herb Butter

May 15, 2010

Some of you may recall that I had a ridiculous amount of herbs left over after an Experimental Wednesday session and decided to turn it into a bunch of flavoured butters. You’ll remember the Café de Paris butter, this is the second and there are 2 more to go – when I find the time to write about them!

I love butter; it is the nature of richness itself. Be it mounting a sauce, basting a fried egg (slash chunk of meat!), or lending itself to bakery – it’s most versatile and one of the most useful ingredients I know. And, frankly, there is nothing better to do with it than add a bunch of herbs to it and let it melt over some fried or grilled meat.

This is the very basis of the recipe below; it follows in the footsteps of the Café de Paris sauce, but is gently tailored for duck. Aniseed and Orange: does anything go better with duck? Now, I made this with a roasted leg portion, but I think it would work really well with a pan-roast breast – which is how I’ve written the recipe. In fact, I think you could take a whole bird, season it inside and out, and then rub this butter over the skin and inside the cavity for a really nice roast.

The butter itself can freeze and you can happily keep it for 3 months in the freezer, ready for a quick meal. I even use my herb butters to make quick sauces for pasta, which I’ll write about in a future post.

Serves 2.


  • Parsley, small handful, chopped
  • Orange, zest & juice of half
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 Star Anise, crushed
  • 50g Butter
  • 2 Duck breasts

Get Cooking

It’s really easy! First; combine the softened butter with everything but the duck breast. I tend to do this in a blender and you’ll find that it starts to expand and go a bit fluffy, stop at that point.

Now, score the skin of your duck. Heat a pan on a medium-high flame and start the duck skin side down – duck *has* to have a crispy skin and a pink middle. Fact. Turn them over once the skin is browned, turn the heat down and let them be for about 3 or 4 minutes.

As a bit of an aside, you can do this with leg portions, but I would recommend browning them, then finishing them in the oven. It may just be me but I don’t like pink meat clinging on to a bone.

Once it’s out, slice the breast and place a small knob or two of butter to melt over the meat.

You can serve this up as a starter with salad leaves, or as a main. I served this with stir fried sesame broccoli and a quick little rosti – I’ll post both these recipes in due course. Thanks for reading!

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 15, 2010 2:41 pm

    I love duck and I think this recipe is one perfect way of cooking duck. It look easy. I can’t wait to try it.

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