The Body Retreat

The Body Retreat

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Healthy Duck a l’Orange

Can there really be a healthy Duck a l’Orange?

French cooking is often associated with feasting.  Dishes are laden with butter, oil, wine, heavy creams…on the face if it doesn’t sound like a healthy way of eating.  But of course healthy eating is all about balance and moderation and so no whole foods should ever be permanently off the menu.

Eaten without the skin, duck breasts are as lean as white meat chicken or turkey. They also contain more iron per serving than most other poultry and even some cuts of beef.

If you want to avoid the extra fat, just remove the skin before serving. The fat is in the skin, not in the duck meat.

By the way, here’s something counterintuitive but true — duck fat has properties similar to olive oil, with a good combination of poly- and monounsaturated fats. Duck contains some saturated fat as well, so you don’t want to go duck fat wild.

There’s also the ease. Duck breasts are as easy to cook as steak and can be prepared in just 15 to 20 minutes.

This dish has been given a Conscious Cooking clean up so making it a great balance between indulgence and healthy eating. The result is a healthy Duck a l’Orange.

Serves 4
  • 4 duck breasts
  • 2 oranges (extra to garnish)
  • 50 ml red wine
  • 100 ml orange juice
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbps sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp black pepper




To make this healthy Duck a l’orange.
Using a zester or grater, zest the oranges.

Remove the remaining peel and pithe and break the orange into segments – set both the zest and the segment aside

Pat the skin of the duck breasts to ensure thy are dry, then score the skin with a very sharp knife and then season with pepper.

Thoroughly heat a large, heavy frying pan (one for which you have a lid). Place the duck breasts in the pan, skin-side down, and cook for 3 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and crisp. Drain off any residual fat that you have in the bottom of the pan at this point.  Turn and cook the other side for 3 minutes, then remove the duck from the pan and keep in a warm place.

Use the same pan to make the sauce

Remove most of the duck fat and then add the red wine, sherry orange juice, honey, stock, spices, orange segments and the orange peel to the pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring often.

Return the duck breasts to the pan and stir to coat them in the sauce. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 7 minutes.

To serve, carve the duck and serve it with the orange sauce, some boiled new potatoes and baby carrots or a big green salad.


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