When my wife signed up for Hello Fresh my hope was we would try new and interesting recipes. Mix things up a little. This week’s order included Duck A L’Orange and I will say this is my favorite recipe I’ve had from Hello Fresh so far.
We’ll start with preparation. It was easy to put together. Mashed potatoes? Straight forward. Mixing the sauce? Easy. Baking the duck? Except for their time estimates being wrong, easy. The recipe asks to crisp the skin of the duck which meant putting it on a non-stick skillet for 15-20 minutes. This was spot on and it was indeed crispy. But their recommendation to cook the chicken for 3-5 minutes until cooked through was way short. The skin acts as a barrier for the meat so it took very little heat during the 20 minutes it was crisping. Hello Fresh recommends cooking to 165 and I cooked to about 140. Assuming I don’t get sick, I was very pleased with how it turned out at 140. Unfortunately, it still took probably 10+ minutes to get to temperature, not 3-5. Bonus of crisping the skin is you collect the duck fat and can use it later. The salad dressing has many components to it which need to be prepared. Next time I make this I will do a better job of keeping the potatoes and duck going in parallel since they’re both low touch, allowing me to prepare the dressing.
If I were to summarize the dish, it’s crispy duck breasts with mashed potatoes and an arugula salad. On its own it sounds good but that doesn’t do it justice. There were a variety of flavors and textures in almost every bite. Duck had a crispy skin so tender meat with crispy skin introduced contrasting textures. The duck sauce was apricot jam so it introduced sweetness to the duck. This combination, if I were to simplify it, was smooth. The salad on the other hand was peppery arugula and an orange so it had a citrus bite to it. Throw in the red wine vinegar based dressing and it contrasted with everything else on the plate. Sliced almonds gave a crunch to the salad. Mashed potatoes were mashed potatoes, but still gave a heavier, more simple component to the meal.
I’d make this one on my own in a heartbeat. Next time I may sous vide the duck if I have time. But this was my favorite meal from Hello Fresh so far.