The Perfect Dinner

Duck Confit a l'Orange

Article by Jose Espinoza - Executive Chef and owner of Trestles

Photography by Nate Scott

Originally published in Castle Rock Lifestyle

For confit duck: (can be done 2-4 days ahead)


·       4 Duck (leg & thigh) skin on

·       ½ cup kosher salt

·       ¼ cup brown sugar

·       2 star anise

·       6 juniper berries

·       2 allspice berries

·       1 Tbsp whole peppercorn

·       4 cloves garlic (minced)

·       4-6 cups duck fat


Grind dry spices into coarse mixture using a spice grinder.  Mix with salt, sugar, and garlic. Coat duck legs with mixture and massage, wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.  After 24 hours, rinse duck under gentle water and pat dry with paper towel. Place skin side down in oven proof baking dish in one snug layer.  Heat duck fat just until liquid and pour over duck to completely cover.  Place wax paper and a small oven proof plate on top to weigh down duck so that it does not rise above fat while cooking.  Cover with lid or foil, bake in a 190 degree preheated oven for 3-4 hours. Duck should be tender enough to fall off bone. Remove from oven and cool. Keeping duck in fat, cover and refrigerate until day of service.

For Spiced Orange Sake Sauce: (can be done 2-4 day ahead)


·       4 cups Sake

·       1/4 cup peeled sliced garlic

·       1/4 cup peeled sliced fresh ginger

·       3 cups orange marmalade

·       1/4 cup & 2 Tbsp Lime Juice

·       1/4 cup Hoisin sauce

·       1/4 cup & 2 Tbsp Thai Chili sauce

·       3/4 Tbsp 7 Spice


In saucepan combine garlic, ginger and sake.  On low heat cook off alcohol reducing by ¼.  When garlic turns very soft (about 15) strain out garlic & ginger and puree in food processor until fine.  Add puree back to Sake along with all other ingredients.  Simmer 5 minutes then thicken with cornstarch slurry. 

For Orange Maple Grits cakes: (can be done 2 days ahead)


·       1 cup water

·       1 Lg orange (zested & juiced)

·       1 cup additional orange juice

·       1/3 cup quick grits

·       1 tsp salt

·       1 tsp 7 spice 

·       3 Tbsp brown sugar

·       5 Tbsp maple syrup

·       1/2 Tbsp sour cream

·       2 ½ Tbsp butter


Set aside sour cream, butter and grits. In a saucepan bring all other ingredients to a boil.  Slowly add grits, cooking for 5 minutes on low heat whisking regularly so as not to lump.  Add butter until smooth and incorporated then add sour cream.  Add 1 tsp slurry and cook for 1 minute.  Prepare a 9X9 baking pan with pan spray and wax paper.  Pour grits in, smooth out, cool & refrigerate until day of service.

For Brussels in Thai Balsamic Orange glaze: (sauce can be done 2-4 day ahead, Brussels must be done day of meal)


·       1 cup Spiced Orange Sake Sauce

·       1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

·       1/2 cup Thai chili sauce

·       1/4 cup lime juice

·       1 lb Brussel sprouts (trimmed & cut in half)

·       Canola oil & Kosher salt to taste


Whisk together all liquid ingredients until well incorporated.  Toss Brussels in light canola oil and kosher salt, roast in a 425 preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown.  Remove from oven and toss with sauce and place back in oven for 2-5 minutes.  

For Charred Shishito Peppers: (must be done day of meal)


·       ½ Lb Shishito peppers (rinsed & dried)

·       1 Tbsp lemon pepper

·       1 Tbsp canola oil


Toss Shishitos in olive oil and lemon pepper, roast in a 425 preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Shishitos should be dark charred but still firm.

Dinner Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Start with Brussels in oven according to previous instructions. When they are halfway done, place duck skin side up with a little duck fat in baking dish. In separate oven dish place the Shishito peppers in oven at same time as duck.  Cut grits into desired cake portions and sauté grits in a non-stick sauté pan until crisp, flipping so that both sides are crispy brown and heated through.  In a saucepan heat orange sake sauce.  Finish Brussels with sauce and return to oven checking the duck and Shishitos.  Arrange grits on plates, with Brussels on a corner and duck in center.  Glaze duck with sauce and garnish with Shishitos. Enjoy!!

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