Friday, December 19, 2008

More Fun Playing With Fresh Duck

We are certainly enjoying our Kathy Breychak duck parts! Here is a photo of the second night we enjoyed China Moon Duck Soup:

To get a nicer presentation, Bob warmed the vegetables in the microwave and held them out of the soup bowls until after the duck, noodles and soup went in. It tasted as good as it looks.

Having now used up all of the breast meat, we moved on to the legs. Bob confited two of them (photos of that will come in a later post). This left two for us to eat. After rummaging through a bunch of cookbooks, we settled on this amazing recipe from The Chinese Gourment by William Mark: Chuen Mai Ngarp (Braised Duck Leg Sichuan-Style).

This is a beautiful cookbook (which I believe is now out of print, but available on the internet), filled with intricate and sometimes impractical recipes. One frustrating thing is that the photo of the finished dish reflects different preparation than the recipe describes. But it is still a great Chinese cookbook.

In this case, the duck meat was clearly still on the bone in the photo of the finished dish. Neverthless, Bob followed the printed directions in the recipe and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. The meat was then marinated in light and dark soy sauce, sugar, Chinese rice wine, and cornstarch.

While the rice cooker hummed, we drained the marinade from the duck and seared the meat in a pan. The meat was then set aside so ginger, garlic, and shallot could be sauteed. Then, hot bean paste, sugar, and ground Sichuan Peppercorn were added. When all was hot, the duck was returned to the pan, and covered with some of Bob's amazing duck stock.

A bit of cider vinegar also went in, and the dish simmered for a half hour. After adding the final touches - a bit of Xiao Shing Wine and chopped cilantro - we enjoyed a meal that actually surpassed the Duck Soup we'd enjoyed a couple of night previously in flavor and complexity. This was due in large part to the exquisitely fresh Sichuan Peppercorn I'd gotten at Heather's Heat & Flavor. Sichuan Peppercorn is not really a peppercorn at all, but a flower bud. In addition to adding flavor, very fresh Sichuan Peppercorn will impart a pleasant numbness to the tongue (I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but trust me, it is a fabulous culinary sensation).

We decided that the product was a little too soupy - so we added some finely chopped cabbage (which also added to the "eat . . . mostly plants" factor). It was a perfect enhancement to a marvelous recipe.

I think that the next time we make this, I'd like to use whole legs.

Yes, we are having way too much fun playing with our ducky parts - and we're not finished yet!


  1. Nancy -- that dish looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love the gelatinous stock and the "mostly vegetables." There's never enough duck.