Fist of Kitchen presents… Eat it: China!

Recooking "The Art of Chinese Cooking" by The Benedictine Sisters of Peking, 1956 | Remixed by Fist of Kitchen 2013

book version

Braised Duck

紅燒鴨

Braised Duck

How to Debone a Duck

  • 1 Duck, 6-7 lbs.
  • 1 c. peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh, grated ginger
  • 4 tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 c. diced onions
  • 1 c. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 c. water or chicken stock

I picked up a beastly 9-lb. farm duck from the Madison Farmer’s market for this recipe. I’d recommend you do the same for cost, flavor and, well, knowing where the heck your food comes from. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this simple preparation, but feel free to add orange peel, fermented black bean, oyster sauce, more veggies (preferably of the root variety such as daikon radish), star anise if you like it real freaky—play around—this is so basic, it can either be the end or the beginning of your own dish. Use a Tsingtao beer in place of the water or chicken stock—that’s your business!

This version asks for a larger duck than the original recipe, which called for a 3-pounder—pretty small duck. Butcher the duck as directed here in our handy chart. For a 6- or 7-pound duck, you’ll want to halve the breast meat. If an 8- or 9-pound duck, cut the breasts in thirds. It would be otherwise be difficult to portion after you’ve crisped the skin.

Pat the pieces very dry. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil until smoking (375°). Brown the heck out of those duck pieces. Add the onions, ginger, sherry, soy sauce, water or stock, and sugar. Bring this all to a boil, cover, and braise in a 325° oven for one and one-half to two hours, or until it’s tender. It should be just about to fall apart, pull on the leg and see if it’s lose enough to pull off. A fork should glide easily into the breast meat.

Now, you could just call it done here. Make a nice noodle soup out of the meat and broth, throw some fresh bean sprouts, cilantro and mint on there and go for it. Sure, but do you know you can have crispy duck skin? Yes, I know you, and you want crispy duck skin. Please continue…

Remove the duck pieces and place them on a rack on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 500°. When you’re at temperature and not before, bake the duck again until the skin is crisped. If you prefer a thick gravy, bring the braising liquid back to the boil and thicken it with 2 or three tbsp. cornstarch disolved in water.

I made this again in a German-ish way, replacing the soy sauce and most of the stock with a pint bottle ofNew Glarus’ Cherry beer, 10 juniper berries, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Make a gravy from the sauce and serve over spaetzle. Seriously. Do it.

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