It’s been cold, I WANT SOUP!
I wanna make something I’ve never made before, LET’S ROAST A DUCK!
And that’s exactly what I did…
My cousin just got married and of course had a Chinese banquet style meal like every Chinese newlywed does. What usually comes in these banquet dinners is honey walnut prawns, long egg noodles (which represents long life), and peking duck that comes with crispy skin and steamed buns to create a peking duck sandwich. The duck and bread is so delish when made fresh to eat!
I went to Costco and was browsing the meat section when something different caught my eye (I’m a frequent visitor to Costco). It looked too small and long to be a chicken but too large to be a cornish hen. Turns out it was a duck! Weird thing was, I had mentioned to my mom a couple of weeks before that I wanted to try making peking duck. PERFECT!
I started doing some crazy research on how to even prepare a duck as I was totally clueless. Turns out the most important thing for crispy skin is to make sure the skin is as dry as can be and seperated from the meat. I read about some interesting techniques on how to dry the skin, such as hanging the entire duck from the ceiling in front of a fan or hanging it outside of your doorway after dunking the duck in a liquid mixture a couple of times. What a funny sight that would be to be taking a walk and seeing a featherless bird hanging from a rope! I didn’t want to do all that so I just placed my duck on a vertical roasting pan and let it sit out in the kitchen for two hours after patting it dry with paper towels and pumping air between the skin and meat using a turkey baster.
After looking at a few online recipes, I realized there weren’t many ingredients to make peking duck. I noticed that 5 spice powder was included in all of the recipes so it was time to dig that 5 spice powder out of the back corner of the spice rack! As Fall aproaches, the days in San Francisco have been getting colder and more gloomy. Originally I wanted to make the steamed buns but I got too lazy and decided to make soup since the weather was so ugly.
By all means you can go to your local Chinese butcher and purchase a roasted duck!
1-5 lb. duck (with neck)
1 Tbsp. 5 spice powder
1 medium onion
3 sprigs green onions
Rinse and pat dry your duck. With a turkey baster, pump air under the skin. I did this by inserting the needle under the skin from the bottom side (near the opening) of the duck. Once air is pumped under the skin, you should see an air bubble immediately form. If not, you may be inserting the needle into the meat. After doing this silly thing, rub salt onto the skin, a little under the skin, and generously in the cavity of the duck. Now rub the 5 spice powder all over the duck making it look like you just gave it a tan.
Place the duck on a vertical roaster (along with the neck). If you don’t have one, place a heavy cup on a plate and plate the opening on the duck over the cup so that it’s sitting up. Let it dry for about 4 hours. If you want to, you can place it in front of the fan.
When you feel the duck is dry enough, preheat the oven to 350F. Place the onions into the cavity of the duck and place it back onto the vertical roaster and bake for about two hours. If you’re not using the vertical roaster, sew the duck up with twine to keep the onions from falling out. Place on a roaster (rack inside of a pan). Using a fork, poke holes all over the skin.
Poking holes into the skin is a step you MUST NOT skip! During baking, the duck fat seeps out of the holes (AKA rendering duck fat) and helps make the skin crispier as it bakes.
When juices run clear, the duck is cooked. Set aside to cool. Cut into chunks when cooled.
2 Tbsp. oil
1 inch fresh ginger, skin removed
1 garlic bulb, cloves smashed and skins removed
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 star anise
1 Tbsp. black peppercorn (about 10 peppercorns)
1 stick cinnamon
1 onion, cut in half and sliced into crescents
neck and half of the bones from roasted duck
5 C. water
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 packages ho fun (flat rice noodles) or 10 sheets of rice noodles, sliced
vegetables such as bok choy or mustard greens
hot sauce like siracha
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, and cinnamon and cook until frangrant. Add the onions and coat with the spiced up oil and cook for about a minute. Add the duck neck and bones. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the water and sugar and bring to a boil. When the water comes up to a rolling boil, turn the heat down and simmer. Simmer for 1.5-2 hours.
Taste the soup. At this point, if you feel that the soup has a strong enough base flavor, add the fish and soy sauces. If not, simmer until desired taste.
In a seperate pot, cook your veggies. Heat the noodles in the soup then transfer to your bowls. Top the noodles with veggies and duck and finish it with the soup.
I like to add siracha and fried garlic. SO YUM! Happy eating! Teehee