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Catholic Recipe: Classical Duckling


  • 1 duckling (5 to 6 pounds)
  • salt
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 oranges
  • 3/4 cup sweet vermouth, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice


Serves: 4-5

Prep Time: 3 hours

Difficulty: N/A

Cost: n/a

For Ages:n/a

Origin: USA


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In 1845 the Christian Brothers, a dedicated teaching order, established a monastery in California. About forty years later, they began to make wines for sacramental purposes, in the heart of California's finest wine district. Soon the quality of their wines created public interest, and this led to a highly successful venture into the commercial market. Thus the Brothers carry on a centuries-old tradition and identify with the monks of the Old World, who, in the Middle Ages and even earlier, practiced the art of wine making, never receiving any personal compensation for their labor but using all profits to further their religious work. The Christian Brothers have collected some fine recipes using their wines, and from these we have chosen the following for your pleasure.


Rub duckling with salt inside and out. Truss; roast at 400° for 30 minutes. Remove from pan. Pour off all but about 2 Tablespoons of pan drippings. Add flour to drippings left in pan; stir over heat to form well-browned paste. Add juice from 1 orange plus enough water to measure 1 cup. Cook to a smooth sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the vermouth. Return duck to pan; baste with this sauce; cover. Roast at 350° for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Remove skin from second orange; parboil skin. Scrape out inner white lining; discard. Cut skin into very thin strips; add to sauce in roasting pan shortly before duck is done. Cut orange pulp into sections. To serve: Remove duckling to platter; garnish with orange sections. Add to sauce, still in pan, the remaining 1/4 cup vermouth and lemon juice. Heat gently, stirring to blend; pour small amount over bird; serve remainder in sauce boat. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965