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My Heritage

Peking Duck

When I cook I’m constantly challenging myself, If I can top the last meal. Can I duplicate a dish that has been made for thousands of years in the 21st century in my kitchen. I always want to pay respect to tradition since my mama never followed a recipe. When I asked her how much she would put into what, she’d look at me perplexed. I gave up the notepad, quickly catching on, a hands on approach is the only way learn. Without abandon I dove into Peking Duck, yes a dish made for royalty. For anyone attempting it too, be prepared to dedicate time, as there’s no cutting corners, Any recipe who make such claims, move on.

First, you don’t have to break the bank purchasing a whole duck. An asian market do stock, as I bought mine locally at 99 Ranch Market for $20. When we travelled to Hong Kong, our bucket list was to experience a Peking Duck dinner from the oldest and famous of the craft. Establish in 1864, the original Quanjude (name means perfection without flaw) has been crafting Peking Duck for 155 years located in the Kowloon LG south Sea Center. Avoid Sunday as they don’t get a fresh shipment till Tuesday, The ducks turn out faster and fresher Wednesday through Saturday.

Second, is to make the brine to immerse the duck. There is no need to invest in fancy gadgets to separate the skin from the flesh, it can be done carefully by hand. This is to allow the skin to develop it’s classic crispy exterior. Once the brine comes to a boil, dip the duck 3 time times, it will quickly plump the skin. Prepare a foil lined baking sheet., and lie the duck directly on to it and cover the duck inside and out with the marinade. Do not cover it as drying out the skin in the refrigerator is going to promote a leathery skin as you baset the duck daily for a week. The day of the roast , the duck is placed upright to evenly bake the exterior and drain fat. The roasting is slow and basting along the course of its time in the oven. Please allow the duck to rest when removed from the oven to reseal its juices. If I went through all this process, I had to take it a step further and make handmade pancakes. Call it OCD, I call it paying homage to timeless heritage.

 

RECIPE
BRINE:
1 star anise
5 peppercorns
2 cloves
2 whole allspice
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp sugar
1 garlic clove
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup Shoaxing (chinese cooking wine)

MARINADE:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Shoaxing
2 tbsp hoisen sauce
2 tbsp Black bean sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
¼ cup dark brown sugar or honey
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp chinese five spice
1 garlic grated clove
1 tbsp grated sweet onion
1 tbsp sesame oil

MANDARIN PANCAKES:
2 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sesame oil
⅔ cup boiling water

PLUM SAUCE:
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar
4 black plums pitted
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp Chinese chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp hoisen

SERVE:
6 green onions sliced lengthwise
1 small cucumber seeded, cut into 4 long matchsticks
Plum sauce
Mandarin pancakes

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all the brine ingredients into a large pot with 3 qts of water
Bring to a boil
Separate the skin from it’s flesh by hand without tearing the skin away from the duck
Dip the duck 3 times in the hot brine
Discard brine and prepare a foil lined baking sheet
Combine all marinade ingredients and massage it inside and out of the duck
Place the duck uncovered in the refrigerator and bast the duck everyday for 6 days breast side up
Preheat oven 350 with the rack adjusted to the lowest
The day of the roast, remove the duck from the refrigerator and place it up right on a clean foil lined baking sheet on a chicken roaster or an empty tall beer can
Save the marinade to baste the duck every 30 minutes
Roast until internal temperature reads 130-140
While roasting make the plum sauce or can be made a day ahead
Prepare the pancake dough, set aside.
Prep the the green onions and the cucumber
Remove duck and allow to rest 15 minutes
In the meantime make the pancakes

For the Pancakes: Combine flour and boiling water in medium bowl and stir with wooden spoon until shaggy dough forms. Turn out on floured countertop and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cut dough into 24 even pieces about 1 tablespoon each. Cover with damp towel.

On floured surface, roll one piece of dough into three-inch circle. Repeat with second ball. Using pastry brush, coat top of first ball with thin film of sesame oil. Place second ball on top of first. Roll balls together into 8 to 10-inch circle (the thinner the better). Preheat heavy-bottomed 12-inch cast iron or non-stick griddle pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Place pancakes on griddle and cook until lightly browned in spots on first side, about 1 minute. Flip and repeat on second sides, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer to plate lined with clean kitchen towel and carefully peel pancakes apart. Fold towel over cooked pancakes to keep warm and repeat with remaining dough balls.

On floured surface, roll one piece of dough into three-inch circle. Repeat with second ball. Using pastry brush, coat top of first ball with thin film of sesame oil. Place second ball on top of first. Roll balls together into 8 to 10-inch circle (the thinner the better). Preheat heavy-bottomed 12-inch cast iron or non-stick griddle pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Place pancakes on griddle and cook until lightly browned in spots on first side, about 1 minute. Flip and repeat on second sides, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer to plate lined with clean kitchen towel and carefully peel pancakes apart. Fold towel over cooked pancakes to keep warm and repeat with remaining dough balls.

For the Plum Sauce: combine sugar with 1 tablespoon water in heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepot. Melt over high heat and continue to cook, gently swirling pan, until sugar is deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add all of vinegar in one go (sugar will bubble rapidly) and cook until sugar redissolves, about 1 minute.add plums, soy sauce, ginger, and chili garlic sauce, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, mashing plums with back of wooden spoon until plums are completely broken down, about 10 minutes. Blend sauce with immersion blender or in standing blender until smooth. Transfer to small bowl to serve.

To Serve: Carve duck, making sure to remove all skin, including skin on the back and legs. Spread one pancake with sauce, top with cucumber and scallion, and add duck meat and skin sparingly, arranging all ingredients in a vertical line through center of pancake. Fold up bottom quarter of pancake to center, then roll pancake, enclosing ingredients. Eat immediately.

 

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