Saturday, March 25, 2006

Quack, Quack

I don't know why, but I got it in my head to make duck this weekend. To all of you out there who say, "ewww, duck is greasy!" I say, "Shaddup." Duck is *not* greasy; it is fatty. If you remove the fat, then the duck is succulent and flavorful.

I've had duck breast that I could have sworn was filet mignon. In fact, I almost sent some back to the kitchen because I was sure the waitress had gotten my order wrong.

You say, "I like Peking duck in Chinese restaurants, but roasting a duck at home seems like so much trouble!"

Nonsense. It's not any more difficult than roasting a chicken. In fact, it's easier, since you don't have to worry as much about drying out the breast meat. Ok, so maybe it's a tad more time-consuming....

I like Sally Schneider's recipe from A New Way to Cook:
Roast Duck

1 duck
3 garlic cloves
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300F.

Rinse duck inside and out with cold water and pat dry. Cut off any extra fat and skin flaps, and remove the wing tips. Using a sharp pointy knife, prick many holes through the skin of the duck, being careful not to pierce the flesh underneath. Crush garlic cloves and rub inside; salt and pepper inside as well. Place bird, breast side up, in a foil-lined baking pan, and roast, uncovered, at 300F for one hour. At the end of the hour, remove pan from oven and, carefully holding duck down with a fork, pour the fat out into a glass bowl or measuring cup. Turn duck over, prick skin a few more times, and put back into the oven for another hour. Repeat every hour for the next three hours (four hours total).

After the fourth hour, turn oven temperature up to 350F and roast the bird breast side up. Remove from oven after one hour and let rest for 20 minutes. The skin will be crisp and fat-free, and the meat will be extremely soft.

Remove skin and set aside. Cut off legs and wings and place on a plate. Slice remaining meat off carcass (it's so soft, you can use a spoon to do this!) and place alongside legs. Put skin on top of all.
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I like to make mock Peking duck with this recipe. This time, I decided on Peking Duck a l'Orange, just for the hell of it. To the usual Hoisin sauce, I added a few teaspoons of sweet orange marmalade and a glug of Grand Marnier. Low-carb flour tortillas (they are much more pliable than normal supermarket tortillas), "raspberry" orange segments, and julienned scallion completed the dish.

So what to do with the giblets and stuff that came in the duck?
I tossed the bag of "orange sauce" into the trash. You may choose to heat it up and use it, but, meh. The liver and heart I tossed into a saucepan with the neck and a bit of water, removing the liver after about 6 minutes and cooking the other goodies a little longer. After letting them cool a bit, I chopped everything up into tiny pieces for use in...Fusion Dirty Rice.

1 small onion, diced
2-3 ribs of celery heart, including the tender leaves (the yellow part of the celery), diced
1 scallion, including part of the dark green area, finely chopped
Pre-cooked giblets from one duck (usually the liver and heart), finely chopped
1/2 lop chang (Chinese sweet sausage), sliced
1 tablespoon duck fat
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons coconut milk powder

Heat the duck fat in a saute pan and add the sausage, celery, and onion. Cook on high heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and the stock, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until stock is absorbed. Add the giblets and warm through. Stir in the coconut powder and the scallions.

Serves 4-6
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For our vegetable, I made Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce:

Wash broccoli thoroughly to remove any pesky sand, removing leaves from stems. Heat a pot of water to boiling, then blanch the broccoli, first the stems for about 4 minutes, then the leaves for about 1 minute. Remove all veg to bowls of ice water to stop the cooking process and retain the bright green color.

Heat a saute pan on high heat and add a dribble of oil. When hot, add the broccoli and toss in the oil. Squirt on some Chinese oyster sauce (I like Lee Kum Kee brand) and heat through. That's it!



I'm pleased to say that everything turned out fabulously. The "raspberry" oranges (like blood oranges, but not quite as red. We got 'em at Wegman's) and the addition of marmalade to the sauce worked quite well. The rice dish was familiar and unusual at the same time, and would have been better with even more giblets (I like my dirty rice extremely dirty). With sticky short-grain rice rather than long (I used basmati), it would be a close cousin to the dim sum dish sticky rice in lotus leaf.

There's still plenty of duck left over. Tomorrow - duck raviolo. Later in the week - duck gumbo. Stay tuned!