JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crispy duck

I'm a little embarrassed by the size of the EASY tag in my Technorati tag cloud ... it's almost as if I don't like cooking. No, the truth is that I don't like food that's too mucked about, I don't care to muck about with food, and I'm not into prissy presentation. I do a lot of cooking, I love it, but there are other things to do too.

This one's easy. Delicious. It's from Nigella Express, but you need to mess with it a little, because some of her instructions don't work. No need for fancy presentation - just put it on your largest serving dish, and plonk it on the table. Mmm

You can tell Nigella had trouble with this recipe: she gives two versions - the first takes five and a half hours in a slow oven, the second is speeded up a little. Nice to know that even tv cooks get their timings wrong. But actually, it only needs four hours. Apart from thinking ahead, the cook has nothing to do other than put the duck in the oven.

Duck is a fatty meat. This slow-cooking renders the fat out of the bird, taking with it some of the richness. You need the fruitiness of the plum sauce (Europeans use orange for a similar effect), the crunch of cucumber, and the tang of onions. All the spring onions in the shops at the moment are grown in places like Egypt and Morocco, and I can only imagine that they are air-freighted as they don't have a long shelf-life. So I used the greens sprouting from a couple of onions at the bottom of my allium basket. Finely chopped shallot would probably do just as well.

The rendered fat went to the dogs and cats, spread over several days. I made a strong stock with the giblets, so we had a very good risotto last night - and the dogs got the cooked giblets.

Crispy duck
for 4-6

1 duck
cucumber sticks
spring onions, slivered
Hoisin sauce in a jar
Chinese pancakes - allow 3 or 4 each

Preheat the oven to 170C

Cut off the fatty flap which hangs over the cavity. Put the bird on a rack in a deep roasting tin. Roast for four hours. That's it.

There's no need to give it a half-hour burst of heat at the end, as Nigella suggests in the speeded-up version, nor is there any need to roast the bird at the low heat for five and a half hours. It was definitely ready after four hours, but didn't look as if it would have spoilt with another hour in the oven.

Shred the duck with a fork onto a large hot serving dish, and put on the table alongside pancakes, saladings and Hoisin, letting everyone roll their own. Fabulous for a party ... just add another bird or two.

Related posts

Duck and delicious potatoes
Chairman Mao's braised red pork
Chairman Mao's braised red pork revisited
Char sui and noodles


L Vanel said...

I have been meaning to slow roast a duck for so long now. Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

As I was being blown away walking the dogs I pondered what I could cook for the parentals who arrive on Thursday evening. It had to be something I could put in the aga and leave as I would get home about the same time as they are due to arrive .. hey presto Crispy duck it is. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

A couple of additions would make this crispy duck recipe a bit more like the Chinese crispy duck - such as just pricking the skin all over with a fork, and rubbing with five spice powder.

Watch out for big brands such as schwartz - some of the main ingredients in their 5 spice powders is salt, which is wrong.