Crispy Duck

I love crispy duck and it has made its way into my kitchen on many occasions; already cooked and procured from one of those places that have ducks, chickens and pork belly hanging in a steamy back-alley window. So delicious, I tell ya.

My first real memory of eating crispy duck was at a very fancy Chinese restaurant in the heart of Kensington, London in the late 90s. They also served a rather expensive shark fin soup and other delicacies that I had only read about in books. At the time, I was convinced it was the most expensive restaurant EVER.
I was a guest of a wealthy business man and his wife, who thankfully,
were adverse to shark fin but loved crispy duck.
And garlic noodles.
Having been down this road before, they had ordered the duck when making the dinner reservation several days prior. A great fuss had been made. Admittedly, it was impressive and worth the king’s ransom it demanded.

My crispy duck does not hold a candle to that of the professionals, but it was still delicious. It’s a fun project, but I must admit, I am just as happy with something from the shops.

crispy duck

*this is a 2 day affair…so plan accordingly
1 whole duck–cleaned and dried
finely grated zest from 1 orange
2 tsp chinese 5 spice
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 recipe duck broth
1 recipe glazing sauce
hoisin sauce–to serve
finely sliced green onions–to serve
cucumber cut into strips–to serve
chinese pancakes–to serve
to spatchcock the duck: remove the neck and any other parts from the cavity of the duck.  wash and dry the bird.  remove the backbone and snap the breast bone and flatten the duck.

keep the neck & back in a ziploc in the freezer for use at another time. –it is great for making stock

mix the orange zest, five spice, salt and garlic powder in a small bowl. rub over the entire duck.  place the duck in the refrigerator and let sit 8 hours or overnight.  
next day or day of duck preparation: remove the duck from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.  Steam duck for 25 minutes using duck broth in place of water. I use a bamboo steamer over a wok, but you can use whatever steaming mechanism you have.

Let the duck sit in the steamer for 5 minutes after removing it from the heat. Lift it from the steamer and place on a roasting a roasting pan.  Let it dry fully—I place a small fan in front of it for about 2 hours. Once dry, brush liberally with the glazing sauce–fully saturating the duck.  Again, let sit at least an dry the skin again.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450. Place the duck in the oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and cook for about another 40 minutes.  Do not continue to baste, as it will reduce the crispiness of the skin.

Duck Broth

1/2 carrot–chopped
1/2 celery–chopped
1″ knob fresh ginger–roughly chopped
1 shallot–chopped
1 rasher bacon–chopped
olive oil
duck neck (if your duck doesn’t come with it, use the back)
1/2 oz calvados
3 cups chicken stock

Heat a stock pot over medium heat.  Add about 1 TBS of olive oil and bacon.  Cook until the bacon begins to throw off some fat, then toss in the carrot, celery, ginger, and shallot.  Cook for about 3 minutes, then toss in the duck neck.  Cook for 5-6 minutes more then pour in the calvados and let it absorb.  Add the chicken broth and let simmer for about 2 hours.  Strain all solids, tossing everything except the duck neck.  Return the duck neck to the broth and cool until needed. If refrigerating overnight, skim off the solid fat and discard before using.

Glazing Sauce

juice of 1 orange
3 Tbs rice vinegar
3 Tbs honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
heat all ingredients together just until the honey melts enough to incorporate into the rest of the liquid