Monday, February 17, 2014

Peching Duck and Slaw

A new delivery from the meat fairy included a duck. Naturally, I didn't want to freeze it, I wanted to eat it immediately. I love Peking duck, but I haven't truly enjoyed it for a long time- it's never quite right. I did my own take, after a thorough search of the literature (the internet), decided to adapt ideas from others into my own.

Prepping and Cooking the duck:

Score the entire breast of the duck in a cross-cross pattern. If your duck is anything like mine, there will be an enormously thick layer of fat to protect the meat. Gently poke the tip of the knife into the skin along the legs and the bottom. I find it's easiest to flip the knife so that the blade faces upwards and stab at an angle.

Stick the duck in a 300 degree oven. Every 45 minutes, flip the duck over, until 4 hours have passed. Take the duck out and let it sit. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. While the oven heats, remove any liquid fat in the bottom of the pan to reserve for the future (nom). Once the oven has stabilized at 400, put the duck back in (making sure it's breast-up). This is the final crisping stage. Leave the duck in for 10 minutes, then turn the oven up to 450 and leave it alone for another 10 minutes, then remove the duck again.  Coat generously with glaze and put back into the oven for another 8-10 minutes. Remove duck from oven and serve immediately.

The glaze: combine equal parts honey and maple syrup (~1/3-1/2 cup each). I use fancy grade maple syrup, so if you use a darker kind, use less. Interesting variant here is to try different honeys. Add a small squirt of sriracha, and a generous dollop of low sodium soy sauce, and a squirt of lemon juice. Heat on stove on medium until it begins to simmer and allow to simmer about 5 minutes. Put glaze aside to cool. It will be very liquidy while hot, but will thicken significantly when cool.

While cooking the duck, I thought about sides. Mac and cheese was an easy side to make, but I wanted a vegetable of some sort. Something crispy, astringent to contrast the rich fattiness of the duck. I had some cabbage left over from making stuffed cabbage a couple of days ago, so I went for cole slaw.

Cole slaw: ~1/3rd  head of cabbage, chopped. A few heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise (can substitute half of the mayo with sour cream). Be light on the mayo- you can always add more later, but if you add too much, it gets disgusting. Add a generous dollop of dill, a chopped green apple, several tablespoons sweet relish, a sprinkling of salt, pepper, and a squirt of lemon juice. Mix with a spatula and let rest in the fridge, covered, for at least an hour. It ended up being really gorgeous, a perfect counterpart to the duck.

Officially Wife approved.

What, no pictures this time? We were both starving, so we ended up eating everything so quickly that we didn't bother with photos. Sorry folks, maybe next time.

Oh, and Peching is another one of my deliberate puns, but you have to pronounce it the particular way.