Saturday, April 14, 2007

Roast Duck


Last summer when I went to Beijing, I ate Peking duck almost every other day. Being a Shanghai native, my taste buds could not adjust to Beijing cuisine, with the exception of Peking roast duck. I wanted to make Peking duck at home but after reading a few recipes, I was frightened... very frightened. Strange and foreign equipment that do not belong in a kitchen such as a bicycle pump was required. I'm sorry but my bicycle pump is covered in cobwebs in the garage and I’m not venturing into the unknown any time soon to inflate my duck. The next step was to ladle boiling liquid onto the duck with one hand while skillfully suspending the duck over the pot of boiling liquid with another. Pot of boiling water, slippery duck, and clumsy me? That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Then I had to hang the duck for a day to dry out the skin, some people even hang their duck in the bathroom. Can you imagine walking into your bathroom and seeing a duck dangling from the shower rod? That would be quite the sight. Basically "authentic" Peking duck was out of the question. The next best thing was duck with Peking-style flavors that could be done in a day.

The main problem with duck is that it is really fatty so all the fat needs to be rendered out for the skin to be crispy. I wanted a duck with beautifully bronzed crispy skin with succulent meat without devoting my entire weekend to it. This duck was done in about 2 hours. The flavors were really excellent but the skin was not as crispy as I would have liked. Next time I will try Saveur’s 5 hour roast duck recipe.

Roast Duck
Adapted from Tyler Florence’s Chinatown Steamed and Roasted Duck

1 duck
4 green onions
3 (1/4 in) slices of ginger
2 star anise
peel of one orange
2 tsp salt
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp dark soy sauce (light soy can be substituted)

Steaming the duck helps render out some fat. Remove the giblets and cut off excess skin and fat. Stuff the duck with the aromatics: green onion, orange peels, ginger, and star anise. Steam the duck for 30 minutes. I used a large Dutch oven with a steamer insert on the bottom to prop up the duck. You can also use a roasting pan and a v rack, and tightly seal the pan by wrapping it with foil.

Using a fork, bamboo skewer, toothpick, any pointy object, poke holes all over the duck skin but do not pierce the meat. Be sure to poke plenty of holes in the "armpit region" of the duck where there are a lot of fat deposits. Make the dry mix, combine the salt, five spice, and pepper in a bowl. Remove and reserve the stuffing and rub the dry mix all over the inside and outside of the duck. You can steam the duck early in the day and at this point you can let the duck dry in the fridge to roast later.

Stuff the duck with the aromatics again. Baste the duck with the honey soy sauce mixture. Prop up the duck on a rack set on a roasting pan or tray and roast at 375ºF for 30 minutes, breast side down. Flip the duck breast side up and roast for another 30 minutes. Pour off fat from the tray if too much accumulates. Tent the parts that are getting too dark with foil.

Serve with hoisin sauce. Remember to keep the bones to make duck stock.

16 comments:

Sig said...

Wow Amy, that duck looks delicious! Where did you buy fresh duck from?

Passionate Eater said...

I saw previously saw Tyler Florence's recipe, and was very interested in how it would turn out. Thanks for giving your opinion on it and sharing the results with us.

And I know what you mean about the "pumping the skin" and that other, labor-intensive stuff for the perfect duck meat. A little too much for me!

Bettina said...

whoa, people use a bike pump? weird. mmm, i miss roast duck. that's sooo cool!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Amy,
I'm soooo impressed. Awesome!

My mom makes it every once in a while but I can't remember what she did to make it crispy. Wish I paid attention!

Amy said...

Sig,
I bought my duck from Ranch 99 and the duck was frozen ($1.59/lb). They probably also sell them in Chinatown but I'm not sure where you would get fresh ducks.

PE,
I did a few tweaking of the ingredients but the flavor was really good. I was a bit dissappointed with the skin but it wasn't bad for a 2 hour duck (and my first attempt). And it didn't involve any bike pumps which was a definitely plus in my book. :D

Bettina,
Yeah they use the bike pump to separate the skin from the body of the duck. Actually in the old days they used straws and blew into the duck. Now that's dedication. :P

WC,
Aww thanks, I've always wanted to make duck at least once. I'll have to make it again to get the skin right (Steven is happy since that means he gets more duck).

tigerfish said...

*applause applause*
I think I'll not be game even for the 2-hr recipe. Only can eat out or at your dining table?;p

Amy said...

Tigerfish,
Thanks! I love dinner guests. :D

Mae said...

The duck looks awesome! Makes me crave for some aromatic duck.

I don't think i have a big enough steamer for a whole duck.

I did crispy leg of duck last year which came out pretty good. I was going to do it again for posting but completely forgot.

Anh said...

Amy, your duch was perfectly roasted!! I love duck, and yours is so delicious!

Regarding your question about taro, I think the purple one is called purple yam here (I know the English name is confusing!). But in terms of texture, I think the purple one will do well in my recipe, just have to adjust the amount of flour so the filling is not too wet. :)

sher said...

Wow! I've always wanted to try making Peking Duck. Good for you! And how I envy you eating it every other day when you were in China.

Amy said...

Mae,
Thanks! I didn't have a roasting pan (I really want one though) but my dutch oven was big enough. Another possibility is to cut up the duck then steam and roast but for a shorter time.

Anh,
Thank you and thanks for getting back to me. I wasn't sure if my taro bubble tea is really taro or purple yam. I also want to make taro ice cream but I wasn't sure which root to use. Taro doesn't seem very purple but the bubble tea and ice creams that I see are extremely purple, maybe it's food coloring.

Sher,
As much as I love Peking duck, I got a little (just a little) sick of it after a while. ;D

Melting Wok said...

oh my god, Amy !! *salute*hands double down* full house !! :)) I wouldn't have the courage to prepare duck esp. Peking style wow..so succulent, juicy looking..argh..1/2 a duck plz..order !! hehe :)

Melting Wok said...

oops, forgot to mention, you might wanna try rubbing maltose/sugar syrup/honey to the skin, let it dry for 2 hours b4 cooking, you'll get some crispylicious skin there :) oh..speaking of taro, there's this dusted wheat flour duck, deep fried w/taro pieces served at most Cantonese restaurants, damn good, you might wanna try tt next time too, cheers !:)

Amy said...

MW,
Thanks for the tips, I'll try that next time I make duck, though I'll probably just use honey since I don't have any maltose. Letting it dry for a while will definitely help. Mm I love deep fried taro. Especially the things at dimsum places that has some stuff mixed in.

Steamy Kitchen said...

I made this same recipe a few months back - I couldn't get the skin super crispy either!

Amy said...

Steamy Kitchen,
I hear the Saveur 5 hour duck recipe yields better results, but it sounds like it takes a looong time I don't know when I'll have time to make it.

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