Good Bye fun Christmas time!!
Since I just posted an extensive blog about the last 3 months nothing exciting to report – it was more a “sobering” week than exciting. The Seahawks lost against the Dallas Cowboys – unnecessary in my humble opinion; we “de-holidized” the house and took all the lights down, put the decorations away and tossed the tree and last but not least now the “tough season” starts with no upcoming holidays, no vacations, icky weather, 10 pounds heavier and back to 10 hour workdays – ugh January is no fun!
Looking at this photo though makes me immediately smile..Mr. Happy Happy and Mrs. I could give a crap about you trying to dress me up…this picture couldn’t describe more to the point their characters. I will cherish the quiet moments I finally had after a wildly busy year and will post several recipes over the next weeks that I could test out during the holidays.
But first a couple quite moments to remember… I also remember fondly December 23rd and Mike putting his artsy touch onto the Raclette board
This Recipe – The Fragrant Duck – was on my list for a long time to re-create. I have never made duck before and wasn’t sure if it would be complicated but don’t fear making duck, its pretty much like cooking a chicken just opposite to chicken, you want to drain all the fat from the duck where with a chicken you always want to keep it moist (and that translates into a lower baking temperature and longer baking time for the duck).
If you live in the Seattle area you have maybe heard of a restaurant called Wild Ginger; they serve a duck appetizer that is so good that turned me from not eating duck to now even making this dish on my own. It takes a little bit of planning since duck usually comes in frozen form and it takes a day or two to defrost and once you have prepared and seasoned the duck you want to let it rest for 1-2 days in the fridge to “air dry”. You also would want to check out an Asian Supermarket for Bao Buns, Plum Sauce, Pickled Radish (or Cucumbers or both) and Thai Basil.
Personally I think duck is too rich to eat as a main course and honestly there is not that much meat on a duck that it makes for a much better appetizer than main course. You can prep the bird, the buns and the toppings that go with it ahead of time for a party and then reheat it when your guests arrive, that way you can enjoy the party with your guests and are not standing in the kitchen.
Fragrant Duck with Plum Sauce on Bao Buns
For the paste
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1 Peking Duck (approx. 6 pounds)
- 10 Bao Buns or Chinese pancakes
- Thai Basil (or cilantro)
- Pickled Radish and/or cucumbers
- Spring Onions
- Plum Sauce
- In a mortar or spice grinder mix all the ingredients to a paste and set aside
- Rinse the duck well and take out all the giblets, neck etc. and trim excessive skin and fat. Pat dry and cut 20-30 slits all over the duck – don’t cut to deep, you don’t want to cut into the meat, just the fat so that it can render out – and rub 2/3rd of the paste inside the duck and the rest outside onto the skin. Set duck on a rack and let it air dry for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees (or 300 degrees if you have a convection oven) and set the duck on a roasting rack on top of a fat pan with the breast down and roast for 1 1/4 hours. Then turn over the duck and roast for another hour. The internal temperature should be 175 degrees. (You can roast the duck 1 day ahead and then the next day just continue with step #4.)
- Take the duck out of the oven and crank up the oven to 500 degrees, roast the duck for another 5-10 minutes or until the skin is brown and crispy.
- Let the duck rest for 10 minutes and carve the breast and legs into small pieces.
- Serve the duck with bao buns (steam for 10 minutes in a bamboo steamer), Plum Sauce, Thai basil/Cilantro, pickled radish and/or cucumbers.