Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chinese Roast Duck (with Chinese pickled vegetables, sesame pancakes, and special duck sauce)

Chinese pickled veggies, sesame pancakes, special sauce, roast duck. Impossible to overstate the deliciousness of this meal. 
Homemade Roast Duck! 
Duck pancake, about to be rolled up and devoured. 

I've been making this dinner for a few years now, and it is absolutely fabulous. Totally one of the dinners in our "pantheon" of best things I make. I can't imagine a better dinner at home. It's not  a quick dinner to make--you might want to save this for a Sunday when you'd be kitchen-putzing anyway. But so incredibly worth the time. This is perfect special occasion eating--what I'd make if we were having Christmas or New Years just the two of us.
The first time I made this was a couple weeks after Adam and I moved in together. It was a weeknight in our Cap Hill apartment and we ate it at the kitchen counter. And it was insanely delicious. That's the whole story.
I LOVE duck, and have tried making it a million ways--confit, seared breasts, Euro-styled roasted (with a wine salt rub), etc--but no duck preparation has ever compared to this recipe. The only way to get better duck is to head to Federal for the real stuff.

This dinner has four recipes in one--the duck, the pancakes, the pickled veggies, and the sauce. So, bear with me! Here comes all the information you need for the best dinner you've ever made.

Start the day before, by marinating the duck.

Roasted Duck Ingredients
1 whole defrosted duck (make sure to take the liver, other organs, and neck out of the cavity. Sometimes there is a bag of "orange sauce" in there too--just get rid of it)

a 2 inch, chubby piece of ginger
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used extra-dark)
1/4 cup sherry or Chinese cooking wine
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey or sugar
1.5 tablespoons Chinese 5 spice powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1 tablespoon chile oil)

What to do
Place all of the marinade ingredients in the blender and blitz them into a smooth puree. 
Place the duck into a roasting pan (Or a bowl, or a large bag if it will fit). Pour the marinade over the duck and rub it in. 
Place the duck in the fridge to marinate. Every so often, rotate the duck or scoop the marinade up and pour it back over the duck. Make sure to get some marinade into the cavity--you want every surface of the duck soaked. Marinate overnight or for at least five hours. 
Time to roast the duck!
Preheat the oven to 430 degrees. 
Brush off any chunky bits of marinade clinging to the outside of the duck. 
Poke the duck all over with a fork. Pierce the skin but not the meat. Pierce about 50 times overall, in the breast, legs, back--everywhere. 
Place a roasting rack in a roasting pan. 
Truss the duck (tie the legs together) and tuck the wings under the breast. 
Roast breast-side up for 40 minutes (at 430)
Roast breast-side down for 40 minutes( at 430) 
Crank the oven up to 525 and roast breast-side up for 25 more minutes. The skin should be crispy and have a deep brown color. 
Take the duck out and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. 
Reserve the duck fat for future culinary perversions (and put some in the special sauce!) 
Serve with sesame pancakes, pickled vegetables, and special sauce. 
Hacked up

Sesame Pancakes 

Ingredients 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 to 1 cup boiling water, as needed
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, or as needed
What to do 
In a large bowl, add the boiling water to the flour and begin stirring it in immediately. Knead the warm dough until you have a smooth dough. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Turn the rested dough out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll each half out until it is 1/4-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or the bottom of a water glass to cut out 3-inch circles of dough.

Use a pastry brush to brush 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil over the top of 2 dough circles. Lay one pancake on top of each other, so that the oiled sides are together. (Don't worry if one of the edges hangs over the other). Roll out the pancakes to form a 6-inch circle. Continue with the remainder of the pancakes. Use a damp towel to cover the prepared pancakes and keep them from drying out while making the remainder.

Heat a heavy frying pan over low heat. Add one of the pancake pairs and cook until browned on both sides (about 3 minutes altogether; the second side will cook more quickly than the first side). Remove the paired pancakes from the pan and place into tin foil to keep warm. Continue with the remainder of the pancakes. Serve with duck! (If you did a really good job making these you might be able to pull them apart into even thinner pancakes--works for me about half the time). 

Rolling out the dough. 
Painting Sesame Oil onto the circles of dough. 
A (somewhat misshapen) pancake cooking. 


Chinese Pickled Vegetables 
Slice 1 bunch scallions, half a red onion, and one carrot into thin strips. Place into a bowl or a tupperware. 
Add:
1 cup rice vinegar (or Chinese black vinegar--or any light-colored vinegar) 
3/4 cup water 
1/4 cup soy sauce 
2 tablespoons sugar 
2 tablespoons sesame oil 

Allow to sit in the pickling liquid at least 20 minutes before serving--several hours is also fine, and these will keep well for a few days in the fridge. 




Special Duck Sauce 
In a small bowl, blend: 
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce 
juice of 1 lime 
a dash of some spicy element (chile oil or sriracha or some cayenne pepper) 
2 or 3 tablespoons of the hot duck fat from the bottom on the roasting pan 

Dribble this over the duck before eating! 



Enjoy!!!

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