Roast Duck with sour oranges and pearl onion jus

Want to make a Christmas dinner like one of Ottawa's top chefs would make for their family? Try these recipes from Fauna and Bar Laurel's chef and owner Jon Svazas.
By / Photography By Amy Zambonin | December 17, 2016


Roasted Ducks Serves 8 to 10

2 fresh, young ducks (4 to 5 pounds each)
1 cup olive oil
½ cup coarse sea salt
4 sour oranges, halved
½ bunch of rosemary
4 fresh bay leaves
black pepper

Remove neck and giblets from the cavity and rinse clean, pat dry and allow to air dry, covered in cloth, for one day in the refrigerator. Remove the ducks from the fridge and allow to rest, coming to room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 250F. Perforate the skin of the ducks with a tenderizer being careful not to tear the skin. Season inside the cavities with salt and pepper and stuff with the oranges, bay leaves and rosemary.

Truss the ducks with twine by wrapping it around the breasts and wings, going beneath the bird and then looping around the ankles and tighten the legs together to close the cavity by tying a knot. Next, rub the ducks with the olive oil and season generously and evenly with the coarse salt.

Place the birds on an elevated rack in a large roasting pan and place in the preheated oven. Roast at 250F for approximately 1½ to 2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 140F. When the ducks reach this temperature, lift the roasting rack out of the pan and keep safely on a sheet pan. Heat the oven to 450F and turn on the convection, if available.

At this time, add your carrots and potatoes (see next page) to the roasting pan, season them with salt and pepper and place the ducks on top of the vegetables and put the roasting pan back into the oven until the temperature of the duck reaches 150F to 155F and the skin is golden brown and crispy. This should take about 30 to 40 minutes. Keep the oven light on and a close eye on the ducks to prevent burning. If the skin is not crispy enough, turn the broiler on and, under close supervision, crisp the skin.

Remove the duck from the oven and let rest for about a half hour. If the skin has become soggy, it can be re-crisped under the broiler just before serving.

Pearl onion jus

2 pounds pearl onions, peeled
24 cups fortified chicken stock (available at butcher stores), skimmed of fat
3 cups medium-bodied red wine
½ bunch of thyme, tied in cheesecloth
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon of butter

In a large pot, heat butter on medium heat until foaming. Add pearl onions and cook over medium-low heat until translucent. Add red wine and reduce the liquid by three quarters. Add chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme sachet and reduce until it has the consistency of maple syrup.

Charred kale

3 bunches of black kale, washed and stems removed
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt to taste

Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to the boil. Add kale to boiling salted water for about 30 seconds. Then place kale in an ice bath. Remove from ice bath and squeeze out excess water. Reserve until needed in the refrigerator.

While the ducks are resting, take the blanched kale and loosen it up before charring. Heat a large cast-iron pan and add olive oil and butter. When the butter starts to foam, add the kale and cook until it begins the char and blacken. Once desired char is reached add garlic, fresh butter and season to taste just before serving.

Roasted carrots

3 bunches of small to medium rainbow heirloom carrots
1 tablespoon butter
½ bunch of tarragon, stripped, washed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Cut cleaned carrots in half lengthwise and roast under ducks for the final 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the roasting pan and toss in a large bowl with cider vinegar, butter and tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted potatoes

2 pounds purple fingerling potatoes (any colour is fine), scrubbed clean
salt to taste

Bring the clean potatoes to a boil in a large pot of cold, heavily salted water until tender, but still a little firm. Strain and allow the steam to dissipate in the colander for about 10 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise. Place the potatoes flesh side down in the roasting pan during the last 30 to 40 minutes of cooking the duck, to crisp in the duck fat. Remove from pan, pat the excess fat with paper towel and season with salt to taste.


2 heads of romanesco cauliflower, broken into medium-sized florets
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup of sultana raisins, coarsely chopped
½ cup capers, coarsely chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add cauliflower. Cook until caramelized evenly (about 40 minutes) while stirring intermittently. Once caramelized, add in the garlic, raisins and capers, salt and pepper and cook another 10 minutes. Place in a large serving bowl.

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