Snow here for the third day in a row. Lovely. Especially now it's sunny. Light has such a cheering quality: Monday was Candlemas, we're more than half way to the equinox, every day there's more light, and suddenly I have more energy.
This was the dinner Lettice cooked last night when her friend Lucy came to stay. Tomorrow Lettice is off to South Africa, the next day Lucy's off to Central America.
Duck and orange
4 duck breasts (with skin)
1/2 mug fresh orange juice (2-3 oranges)
1/4 mug soy sauce
2 glugs of oil
2 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
zest of an orange (do this BEFORE you juice the orange)
Score the duck skin both ways so that you have a diamond pattern. Whisk everything together in a large bowl, then add the duck. Leave as long as possible - up to 24 hrs, although ours was fine after 2-3 hours.
Shake the duck dry, then fry vigorously skin side down for five minutes (watch carefully at this point, because the skin burns very easily). Drain off the fat (do NOT pour this down the sink, because it will block your drains). Cook skin side down for another five minutes or so, but at a lower heat. Drain again, then turn the meat and turn the heat right down. They need 15-20 minutes in total (it's hard to say exactly, it will depend on size, heat, and whether they were at room temperature when you began). Rest on a hot plate while you make the sauce.
Drain any fat from the pan. Put the pan back on the heat and de-glaze with some wine, a little stock, water if you don't have anything else. Add the marinade, bring to the boil, then keep it bubbling for a good five minutes.
Slice the meat across the grain. Strain the sauce into a jug (this is easy only if you have a small conical sieve; if you don't, and most people don't, then try not to mind about any stray bits at the bottom, they're probably delicious anyway).
PS this is based on Keith Abel's recipe in Cooking Outside the Box
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