James Schneider swaps his rifle for a shotgun and makes the most of the Capreolus Club Driven Bird Day by preparing a Canard à l'Orange. Here’s how he did it.

Capreolus Club Driven Day 555

A crisp autumn morning with brilliant sunshine and a hard frost greeted fellow Capreolus Club members for our annual Driven Shoot day at the magnificent Newington Hall in Oxfordshire. As Stalkers who Shoot rather than shooters who stalk, the Club is traditionally more focused on the larger species, however nothing can compare to a glorious October day in the field with like-minded friends! 

Capreolus Club Driven Day enhanced Group

(Above: Members of the Capreolus Club line up before the off) 

The expertly reared driven duck were the highlight of the day. Exciting and explosive drive after drive, they came from nowhere and everywhere offering a fantastic challenge interspersed with many a high pheasant and speedy partridge. To cap off the excellent shooting and outstanding hospitality, Club members had the pleasure of watching a newly established pair of Chinese Water Deer run through the beating line of guns, much to everyone’s enjoyment. 

Keen to celebrate the success of the day, I dutifully hung my brace of duck overnight to cool in the sharp, clear air and set to plucking them by hand the following morning for a special Sunday family roast. The result, a magnificent canard à l'orange! And here’s how I did it: 

Prepping the Ducks 

Pre duck 300After meticulously finishing the ducks and ensuring the carcasses were thoroughly washed and patted dry, I cut up several Granny Smith apples into small chunks and stuffed the cavities full. You can stuff with oranges as well, but Granny Smiths have a special tartness that evaporates nicely during the cooking process and can make a kitchen smell amazing. I then thoroughly seasoned the outside of the ducks with sea salt and ground pepper.  

Preheated oven at 180 degrees fan for 1 hour and then about 20 min at 200 to crisp the skin at the end. Removed and set aside to rest uncovered for 20 minutes and Bob’s your Uncle! 

The Sauce 

There are many different methods and recipes for creating a l’orange sauce, and one can almost hear the sniffing from one’s Continental copains as this is written. However, I defaulted to the basics with this simple combination that was quick, effective and delicious!  

After draining a 298g tin of mandarins into a sauce pan I removed the slices and then combined the juice with 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup of fresh orange juice, 1/3 cup white wine vinegar, ¼ cup water and strong dash of soy sauce. Heat to quick boil while whisking then reduce to simmer and slowly add in a tablespoon of corn flour to thicken. Add the mandarin slices, stir and let simmer until the consistency firms up and comes together. Remove from heat, let it set then slowly warm up again before serving. 

The Grain 

Duck a la Orange 300My favourite accompaniment for all things fowl is Canadian Wild Rice. Rich and nutty, this grain compliments the combination of duck or goose with a sweet/sour sauce like no other. Cook according to instructions on the packaging, and any remaining rice goes great with left-overs in the frying pan the day after. 

(Left: The mouth-watering finished article)

The Veg 

Butternut squash thickly sliced, covered in wild honey and roasted at 180 degrees fan until soft, a minimum of 45 minutes. I turned the squash in the melted honey after 30 minutes to fully cover and then turned again after 15 minutes further. 

Steamed broccoli with a touch of butter. One of your five a day! 

The Wine 

Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015 Louis Latour decanted 45 min before serving. A very nice and affordable table wine at about £15, buy an extra bottle to enjoy with some sharp cheese. 

Newington House I cannot think of a better way to compliment a well-run shoot than to honour the quarry with a true celebratory feast. A special thanks to Head Keeper James and everyone involved with the shoot at Newington Hall, I am looking forward to returning with the club next year!

(Left: James Schneider and his son Mass' who was on hand to assist with the beating, enjoy a well earned lunch at the glorious Newington House) 

James Schneider is a regular contributor to County Deer Stalking and founding member of the Capreolus Club. To read more from James follow this link: young-guns



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