Seville Orange Recipes

Seville Orange Posset

 

First – some quick ideas for varying the bitterness of your dish: The aromatic oil is contained in the pitted zest of bitter oranges making this is the most prized part.  Because of this, Seville Oranges are sold without waxing; this does however mean that they will keep fresh for less time. The oil is quite volatile, so the thicker it is cut the fewer oil glands will have been ruptured.  The white pith is purely bitter without adding flavour and so can either be discarded or blanched to reduce the bitterness (see below). The juice is both sour and bitter.  If you wish to reduce the bitterness, blend it with a proportion of sweet orange juice.

Drying: To concentrate and also preserve the skin, dry strips on a tray placed in the airing cupboard or the warming drawer of the stove.  When completely dry the strips can be stored in a jar or tin and added to casseroles throughout the year. 

Blanching: on the other hand, if you want to use the whole peel without adding too much bitterness, blanch it in boiling water for a couple of minutes.

Candied Peel

Any blanched citrus peel can be candied to use as a decoration or in confectionary but bitter orange peel is particularly aromatic.  Remove the peel from the orange by scoring into quarters, there is no need to remove the pith.  Cover the peel with plenty of cold water, bring to the boil and cook until tender.  Drain off the water and cover with fresh, then boil again for 20 minutes.   Meanwhile make a sugar syrup by dissolving 10 oz of sugar in ¼ pint of water (this quantity will be sufficient for 4 oranges).

Cut the blanched peel into strips and simmer in the syrup until nearly all has been absorbed.  Spread the peel onto greaseproof paper laid over a cooling rack and leave in a warm dry place (an airing cupboard is ideal) for 3 day, turning the pieces each day.  Now shake in a bag containing caster sugar to coat before storing in an airtight tin until needed.

Marmalade

I’m going to leave this to the expert – Vivien Lloyd was the 2008 winner of the World Marmalade Championship (www.marmaladeawards.com ).  Her website www.vivienlloydpreserves.com contains more advice on making marmalade together with details of her DVD demonstrating the process.  Vivien told me that in her experience the quality of Seville oranges is not what it once was:

When I started making marmalade 20+ years ago the Sevilles were large with very pitted skins and full of pips and juice.  The aroma of them cooking filled the kitchen. Now they are smaller (unless you hunt out the large ones) have smoother skins, less pips and juice, and the aroma stays in the pan. All this change seems to affect the pectin content, which means having to cook them down more and doing pectin tests before adding sugar.

Seville Orange Posset

Serves 6

1 pint double cream

6 oz caster sugar

100 ml Seville orange juice

grated rind of 3 Seville oranges

Put the cream, sugar, juice and rind into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes.

Leave to cool slightly then pour into 6 small glasses (it is quite rich).

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving decorated with strips of candied peel.

Seville Orange Treacle Tart with Marmalade Ice Cream

I usually make this at this time of year, using up last year’s marmalade in the ice cream and fresh juice and zest in the tart.  It occurs to me however that outside of the Seville season you could probably substitute some of the golden syrup with a tablespoon or so of marmalade for a similar effect.

For a 9″ treacle tart:

8 oz/225g shortcrust pastry

fresh breadcrumbs made from 3-4 slices of white bread

 rind and juice of 1 Seville orange

approx. 10 tbsps/150ml golden syrup

Line a 9″ flan tin with the shortcrust pastry.  Grate, or pare and finely chop, the rind of the Seville orange and mix with the breadcrumbs.  Half fill the pastry case with the breadcrumbs and then dampen with the juice of the orange.  Warm the tin of golden syrup to help it pour more easily then spoon over sufficient to cover the breadcrumbs.  Bake at 190C/Gas Mark 5 for 25 – 30 minutes.

For the Ice Cream:

16 fl oz/450 ml double cream

11 oz/310 good marmalade (preferably thick cut)

1 oz/25g caster sugar

2 tsp/10 ml Seville orange juice

The ingredients can be simply combined in a food processor but use the plastic blade to avoid chopping the peel further.   If you have an ice cream maker then use that to churn the mixture, otherwise freeze it until the edges are beginning to harder and then blitz it in the food processor again.  You can repeat this process again to further improve the texture of the ice cream.

Bigarade Sauce

This is a bitter orange sauce for serving with savoury dishes, it originates from the south of France where bitter oranges are known as Bigarade oranges.  Its most famous pairing is with duck and it illustrates perfectly the qualities of the bitter orange.  However, over the years the dish was more often made with sweet oranges and the result was sickly.  When looking at old cookery books (pre 19th century) if a recipe just says oranges it would usually have meant the bitter orange.

Classic recipes for Bigarade sauce usually contain flour making them too thick and heavy for today’s tastes.  Instead I make a simplified version by reducing equal quantities of Seville orange juice and the appropriate stock (which should in itself already be well reduced).  The sauce is then finished by whisking in a couple of knobs of cold, unsalted, butter which will give the sauce a good sheen and additional body.  As well as serving Bigarade Sauce with wild duck I also like it with flat white fish so I cover the variations below:

  1. Wild Duck with Bigarade Sauce

You do not require a large quantity of sauce with this, just enough for a couple of tablespoonfuls to spoonn over each breast.  I also like strips of zest in it.

Season the duck and place two cut halves of Seville orange inside.  Cover the bird with buttered paper and roast for 30-40 minutes in a hot oven, removing the paper for the last 5 minutes.

Whilst the duck(s) are roasting reduce some good game stock then add an equal quantity of Seville orange juice together with strips of zest.  When the ducks are cooked, remove them to a warm place to rest whilst you complete the sauce in the pan in which they have roasted. 

Squeeze the juices from the oranges that have been inside the duck to deglaze the pan of any meat juices.  Pour in the stock and juice and boil rapidly over a high heat to reduce by half.  Taste and adjust the seasoning – if the sauce is too sharp for your liking add a teaspoonful of redcurrant jelly.  Whisk in just a knob or two of butter to finish.

2. Megrim Sole with Bigarade Sauce

The fish needs a larger quantity of sauce than the duck and I prefer it without any zest.

You could use any flat white fish but I have suggested Megrim Sole as a more sustainable and affordable option than the classic Turbot or Sole.  Dabs are another option.  Baking a whole fish on the bone gives the most flavour and keeps the flesh moist, but if you are cooking fillets cut from a larger fish try covering the top of each fillet with a mixture of fine breadcrumbs, herbs and grated orange zest.

Lay the fish in a buttered roasting pan and brush a little melted butter over the top of the fish also before seasoning with salt and pepper.  Add a thin layer of fish stock to the pan, most of which will evaporate during cooking but it will add steam to the oven and produce an excellent base for your sauce.

Cook at 200˚C for 10 minutes (this assumes a fish of reasonable thickness – say enough to serve 2).  If the fish is whole check, with the tip of a knife inserted beside the bone at the thickest point, that the flesh is coming cleanly away from the bone.

Remove the fish from the pan and add the juice of 4 large Seville oranges with a teaspoonful of sugar, which gives a pleasant sweet-sour note.  Boil rapidly to reduce.  A generous amount of butter can then be incorporated, in small lumps, to finish this dish.

Cook at 200˚C for 10 minutes (this assumes a fish of reasonable thickness – say enough to serve 2).  If the fish is whole check, with the tip of a knife inserted beside the bone at the thickest point, that the flesh is coming cleanly away from the bone.

Remove the fish from the pan and add the juice of 4 large Seville oranges with a teaspoonful of sugar, which gives a pleasant sweet-sour note.  Boil rapidly to reduce.  A generous amount of butter can then be incorporated, in small lumps, to finish this dish.

See related article in Food Culture.

2 thoughts on “Seville Orange Recipes

  1. What good ideas. Next time I have access to Sevilles, thanks to how your piece has made me re-think, I’m going to macerate them in some kind of booze, brandy or rum, for a DIY triple sec.
    BTW, what a great blog. I’ve never visited this site before and article after article is terrific.

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