Monday, August 22, 2011

Fragrant Crispy Duck (Page 394)

RECIPE #1275

  • Date: Saturday, July 23, 2011 -- 5pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-

My special gentleman and I both love duck, so I would have made this recipe sooner, but it had a pretty intimidating look about it. The Ingredients list was short, but the Special Equipment list was long, and the recipe took up two pages. This recipe involved first marinating the duck, then steaming the duck in a wok, then blow-drying the duck with a fan, then deep-frying the duck (twice!). Madness! One Saturday in July, though, I decided it was time for a cooking extravaganza. I cooked all day, making this duck and finishing off the canning I had left to do for the project. It was fun! To make this duck I started by making the Toasted Sichuan Peppercorn Salt, which I had already made once before as a component for a different dish. Then I broke the breastbone of the duck (Truth be told, my special gentleman broke the breastbone. I tried and failed. I don't have a lot of upper body strength.). I heated the Sichuan peppercorn salt with some Chinese five spice powder. I reserved some of the spice mixture, and rubbed the rest on the inside and outside of the duck. I marinated the duck in the spice rub, refrigerated, overnight. I then put the duck in a glass pie plate and rubbed it with rice wine. I put ginger and scallions in the cavity and on the duck, then steamed the duck for 2 hours in a covered wok by putting the pie plate on a metal rack in the wok with boiling water below it. While it was steaming, I siphoned off the fat with a turkey baster every 30 minutes, and replenished the water below the rack as necessary. I then slid the duck onto a wire rack to cool, setting it in front of a fan to blow dry for two hours:

Once the duck was very dry, I brushed it with mushroom soy sauce, then dusted it with flour. I very, very carefully deep-fried it, turning once, in a wok full of oil. I increased the temperature of the oil, then deep-fried it again. I served the duck with the reserved spiced salt.

This recipe was definitely fussy, but the result may have been worth it. This duck was DELICIOUS. The meat was tender, moist, and incredibly flavorful, while the skin was crispy and seasoned perfectly. My special gentleman declared it the best duck he had ever eaten, and I couldn't really argue. It was incredibly tasty. I would have liked it even better with a sauce to accompany it, but it was pretty fantastic as it was. However, I doubt I will be making this recipe again soon -- it was a lot of hassle for a recipe which serves only a few people and is basically impossible to double (without another wok at least). But it was very, very tasty, so if you have an afternoon set aside for cooking and are looking for something to try, I would recommend this one.

The recipe is here.

Only 18 recipes left to go!

What a crazy week! We returned from Denmark a little over a week ago now. After a long 22 hours of travel to get from Aarhus, Denmark back to East Lansing, Michigan, we were pretty happy to be home. We arrived home late Saturday night, and enjoyed a couple days at home, catching up on work and sleep. On Wednesday, it was time to leave for another trip! We started by driving to Chicago to meet our adorable niece Hannah. Unfortunately we got a flat tire somewhere outside of Michigan City, Indiana, and ended up spending a decent chunk of our day at Wal-Mart getting a new one. Eventually we made it though, and Hannah is super cute! We spent the afternoon with Brad, Deniz, and Hannah, and the evening with our friends PJ and Georgia who also live in Chicago. We stayed the night in Chicago, and after a swim in Lake Michigan Thursday morning we hit the road again. Next stop: Upstate New York! We drove the 14+ hours to New York over two days, stopping for the night in the middle of a crazy storm near Ashtabula, Ohio. We arrived in Lake George, New York on Friday afternoon. The trip to Lake George was to attend our friends Mike and Tim's wedding. On Friday evening we went to a pre-wedding cocktail party before the Saturday wedding.

The wedding wasn't until Saturday evening, so on Saturday morning we went to visit our friends Paps and Katie, who happen to own a vacation home about 20 minutes from where we were staying. They just had a baby, and it was great to get a chance to meet little Peter. Later in the day we met up with Vero and Philippe (also in town for the wedding) for some lunch and shuffleboard. It was a beautiful day, and definitely one of the most vacation-like days I have had all summer. The wedding was Saturday evening. It was held right on Lake George and the setting was unbelievably beautiful. I have known Mike for almost a decade now and Tim for only slightly less. They are such a fantastic couple, and it was a great privilege to celebrate with them on their special day. The wedding was black tie, which was fun, and they served barbeque, which was delicious! There was plenty of drinking and dancing. It was a good time!

We couldn't stick around long in Lake George because I had to be back at work for a retreat on Monday. So Sunday we drove straight back home. We went through Canada on the way back, and it ended up being about a 12 hour drive. It was long, but definitely worth it for such a special weekend. Now we are home! My special gentleman announced with excitement this morning that he isn't traveling again for another two and a half weeks. Two and a half weeks at home!! He was so excited. It is exciting to be home. The semester starts soon, and I have a lot to do before I will feel ready. I should get to it! I can't believe summer is over.

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