It’s been a while since I put up a recipe. A site restructure is in the works, and I’ve been so busy running up and down the East Coast that I haven’t had much time for blogging. In fact, I’ve had little time for anything, including hanging out with Sean. So this time, during Sean’s visit, we promised that we’d spend a lot of alone time doing nothing but cooking and canoodling. So off we ran to Union Square’s GreenMarket where we purchased, ground ostrich, tons of produce, and a whole heritage duck. Yup a whole duck, all 6 lb of it. I debated for a long time whether we should purchase the duck, but the challenge of preparing a whole duck (and not for Christmas!) was too much for me to pass up. And so, we bought it.
We were told that our free-range duck was a cross between a Peking duck and a Barbary duck which excited me because I had never made Peking duck before, and I had the fortune of having it at Quanjude, one of the original Peking Duck establishments in Beijing.
I plotted for hours how to prepare our duck, and came upon a recipe that took less than 24 hour to prep (true Peking duck is quite labor intensive). I made my own fragrant Chinese Five Spice seasoning blend, and I performed quite a few amputations on our duck. But in true Chinese fashion, I let nothing go to waste. (Warning the following is not for vegetarians or the faint of heart):
I used the feet, head and neck for stock, and I rendered the fat for cooking.
And finally I salted my duck and coated it with the Five Spice. And while cooking I decided to make my own sticky, honey plum basting syrup, just to add a little kick to my duck. The result? Sean took one bite of the succulent, crispy duck and said earnestly, “This is so good, you’re going to get laid.” Yup. The duck is so good, it’ll increase desire in all who eat it. So be very careful who you feed this to!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes if you have a clean pretty duck, 20 minutes if you have remove fat, feet, and it’s head.
- Inactive Time: 24 hours rest time, plus 4-8 hours so that the duck can soak up the fragrant five spice seasoning
- Cook Time: About 2 hours
- spice/coffee grinder, or a mortar and pestle if you like extra work
- oven – preheat 325° F /170° C
- roasting pan with a draining
- small sauce pan
- hand blender or food processor
- wooden spoon
- basting spoon or turkey baster
1 Duck (fresh, with excess fat removed)
1 tsp of salt
5 Spice Seasoning (to coat):
1 tbsp of fresh ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp of fresh ground cinnamon
1 tbsp of fresh ground star anise
1 tsp of Szechuan peppers
1/8 tsp of ground cloves
1 plum (peeled and pitted)
3 tbsp honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
- Take one duck cleaned of excess fat and skin, and pat it dry using a paper towel.
- Let the duck sit open in a refrigerator for 24 hours resting on a platter covered with paper towels.
- Coat the duck inside and out with 1 tsp of salt and freshly ground 5 spice seasoning.
- Place the duck on a tray and cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 4 – 8 hours.
- When you’re ready to cook the duck preheat oven to 325° F /170° C, remove duck from the refrigerator, and place the duck on a roasting pan with a cooking rack.
- Roast duck for about 1 hour ( 2 hours total cook time).
- While duck is roasting during the first hour, place 1 plum (peeled and pitted), 3 tbsp of honey, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar, and 1/4 cup water into a small sauce pot, and bring to a slow boil to make plum sauce.
- Reduce heat and blend plum sauce until it’s smooth.
- After duck has roasted for an hour, remove duck from oven, and baste in plum sauce.
- Return duck to oven, and cook for an additional 1/2 hour.
- Remove duck again and baste it once more, and then roast duck for an additional 1/2 hour or until the duck’s internal temperature reaches 165° F /170° C.
- If you want to serve the duck with the plum sauce, return plum sauce to heat, add 1 tsp of corn starch, and stir until thick.
- Eat the best duck you’ve ever tasted.
(Photo Credit: Sean.)