What Are Good Side Dishes for Duck a l'Orange?

By G.D. Palmer

Duck a l'orange combines roast duck in a sweet and sour citrus sauce. While the name is French, the dish itself has been served for hundreds of years in both France and Italy. Duck a l'orange was extremely popular in North America and England during the 1970s, but fell out of favor later on. This dish is still common in some restaurants and many home kitchens. It can be served with a wide range of starches and vegetable sides, but some accompaniments are traditional.

Duck a l'orange includes a citrus glaze.


Basket of turnips
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Basket of turnips

Roast duck a l'orange goes well with a wide range of braised greens, including cabbage, turnip greens, arugula and others. Prepare these greens by washing them thoroughly and sauteing in butter or rendered fat from the duck. Add seasoning and broth, cooking until wilted. Turnip greens can be served alone, or with their roots. Avoid overcooking greens, since they can become soggy and lose their flavor. Never allow braised greens to come to a boil.


Fresh asparagus.
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Bundle of raw asparagus

Steamed or grilled vegetables also complement duck a l'orange. Their light taste contrasts with the richness of the duck, providing a break from overly-heavy flavors. Rachel Ray recommends serving duck a l'orange with sliced asparagus steamed with rice, almonds, scallions and parsley. The BBC suggests grilled broccoli with a light coating of flavorful olive oil.


Bowl of Uncooked Wild, Basmati and Red Carmague Rice
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Uncooked wild rice in bowl

Both wild and conventional rice make excellent sides for duck a l'orange. Cook white rice in chicken broth to provide a savory pilaf, as Rachel Ray recommends, or accompany this strongly-flavored dish with plain rice. Wild or brown rices provide a deeper, nuttier flavor, as well as healthy whole grains, but can require significantly more time to cook. Brown rice takes up to an hour on the stove, while wild rice can take even longer. Cooks on a time budget can choose parboiled rice for a shorter preparation time.


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Raw potatoes

Potatoes provide a good backdrop for duck a l'orange. When simply steamed, roasted or boiled, their relatively plain flavor offers a contrast to the richness of the duck. Some chefs prefer to include a rich potato dish as well, however. Simon Bryant of ABC Adelaide recommends Dauphinoise potato, a French au gratin dish with plenty of cream, butter and Parmesan cheese.