2 whole Brome Lake ducks, ready to cook, weight approximately 2.5-3 kg (5.5 -6 lbs)
Salt and pepper
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
Advance preparation: 2 days for the sauce
Minimum wait time: 24 hours
Remove the giblets from each duck’s cavity and then rinse ducks under cold water. Cut off any excess skin and fat from the edges of the ducks and dry as well as possible. Place the ducks in a large, shallow roasting pan and refrigerate for 1-2 days, uncovered, to allow the skin to dry out (to achieve a crispier skin).
Remove the ducks from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 165° C (325° F). Generously season the ducks with salt and pepper and place the roasting pan on the centre rack of the oven. Cook the ducks for about 2.5 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 82° C (180° F). The ducks are ready when the thighs can be easily removed and, after cutting into the joint, the juices run clear.
Remove the ducks from the oven and then take them out of the roasting pan, setting them aside for 15 minutes on a work surface, loosely covered with a large sheet of aluminum foil.
In the meantime, remove as much fat as possible from the stock in the roasting pan, then bring it to a boil over medium heat, while scraping the pan drippings and browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Add a small amount of water and reduce until there is about 250 ml (1 cup) of liquid left. Turn off the heat and strain the stock. Keep the stock to make the Suzette Sauce.
Cut the ducks in pieces and place on a large serving platter. Decorate the platter with orange quarters and serve immediately directly to the table with the Suzette Sauce. Serve accompanied with mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts.
45 ml (3 tablespoons) butter
45 ml (3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
80 ml (1/3 cup) Triple Sec or Cointreau
180 ml (1 cup) duck stock (either from deglazing the dripping pan where the ducks cooked or a packaged duck stock)
160 ml (2/3 cup) Grand Marnier
Juice and finely grated zest of 2 organic oranges (or well-washed oranges), medium size and seedless
15 ml (1 tablespoon) cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of water
In a shallow pan, melt the sugar with the butter over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly once the sugar begins to melt.
Add the Triple Sec, the stock or packaged duck broth, half the Grand Marnier and the juice of two oranges, then bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and reduce it by one-third.
Add the orange zest and diluted cornstarch, then season to taste with salt. Boil for 1 minute and turn off the heat. Add the remaining Grand Marnier and take the pan off the element. Flambé the sauce immediately, taking all necessary precautions.
Use the sauce immediately and serve with poultry or let cool before pouring into an airtight container and refrigerating. Serve hot.
Recipe developed by Nicolas Vallée, professional chef
Tips and tricks
If you prepare the sauce in advance, you won’t be able to use the cooking liquids from the duck. However, if you use a true duck stock, you will achieve nearly the same result.