Thursday, May 3, 2012

Soy Braised Duck

I had purchased a whole fresh duck yesterday when I bought the duck fat.  I was tempted to make duck confit having the fat on hand already from making the fries, but then thought better of it.  Part sanity, part laziness.  Instead, I decided to go this slightly less artery clogging route and make another one of my favorite Chinese duck recipes.  My best memory of this dish is actually of its second use as a leftover.  My grandfather would use the leftover sauce and bits of meat and make what he called beggar's rice.  It was a porridge or congee made up of the duck and whatever else might be leftover in the fridge.  I loved it.


1 Whole duck, trimmed of excess fat
6-10 Garlic cloves, depending on how large they are
3" Piece of ginger, cut into thick slices
1/2 Onion, sliced
4 Cups water
1/2 Cup dark soy sauce
1/3 Cup rice wine
1/8 Cup sugar
2 Bunches scallions, trimmed of roots, and left whole


Rinse and dry the duck with paper towel.  Lightly score the fat on the breast side of the duck.   Heat oven to 500f.  I used the Aero Broil function on my oven as it conducts the heat from the top of the oven thereby aiding in searing the duck.  Convection would work as well.  Place the duck onto a baking pan and roast the duck in the oven 20 minutes, until the skin is lightly browned.
Meanwhile, prepare the braising sauce.
In a large dutch oven or heavy cast iron pot, heat 1 tbsp of oil.  Saute the garlic, ginger and onion until fragrant.  Then add the soy, wine, sugar and water and bring everything to a simmer.
Add the duck to the sauce, breast side down first, return to a simmer and cover the pot.  Turn heat down to medium low/low and continue to simmer the duck.  Baste the duck from time to time so that the back side, which is out of the sauce, does not dry out. Simmer for a total of 1 hour.
Turn the duck over to back side down, cover and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. 
Add the scallions, turn heat up a little, cover and continue to simmer for another 45 minutes total.  During that time, once the scallions have softened, push them down into the sauce and use a ladle or large spoon to spoon the sauce over the duck.  
Using a large metal spatula and tongs, very carefully remove the duck from the pot onto a large deep platter.  It will be fall apart tender. Cover with foil while you reduce the sauce.
Turn the heat up to high and using the tongs, remove the ginger pieces from the pot.  Keep the sauce at a rolling boil for about 7-10 minutes.  Turn heat off and skim off fat from the top.
Spoon the sauce over the duck and lay the scallions around the sides.
Serve with rice and wok fried greens, like baby bok choy.
Delicious duck and I look forward to my beggar's rice.

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