Duck with Chinese pancakes

This recipe is similar to Peking duck. It contains the same ingredients and sauces. Making Peking duck, with that shiny skin that is slowly dried in the oven, is better done in a high-quality Chinese restaurant. But making duck with this recipe is very similar to Peking duck.

This dish is in many ways pretty Christmassy ?. It contains:

– an oven
– a wild bird
– scrumptious sauces
– eat posh but with your hands
– Christmas spices
– a potentially excellent combination with fantastic red wine

Wild or tame

I’ve made my duck dish with domestic duck and wild duck. I liked the wild duck the best, although it was a lot less fat and smaller (700 grams). The wild duck has a lot of flavor and comes out of the oven tender and juicy.

Above you see a domestic duck. It is much larger and fatter: more than 1,5 kilos and it needs, therefore, a lot longer in the oven (at least 2 hours). Ask the butcher what he/she advises about the oven time. Because I liked the wild duck so much I’ve adapted this recipe accordingly.

Shot

I order my wild duck at my local butcher and paid 16,50 euros for it. The wild Dutch duck is really shot down by a hunter. Make sure you take out all the shot before serving. The butcher does that for you, but usually, you will find a few more.

This ‘oven duck recipe’ is enough for 2 people and is ready in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Wild duck does not need long in the oven.

Ingredients

700 gr wild duck
4 cm, finely chopped fresh ginger
4 cm of ginger unpeeled and cut into two pieces
2-3 teaspoons 5-spices mix
1 teaspoon of salt

Pancakes (about 20)

250 grams of flour
140 milliliters of hot water
Pinch of salt

Filling

Cucumber
Spring onions
Chili pepper

Sauces

Hoisinsauce (click here for the recipe)
Plum sauce (recipe coming soon)

Preparation

I first double check for shot in my duck. Then I carefully cut a crosshatch in the skin about 1 centimeter apart. It is quite thin, so be careful with a sharp knife; do not go too deep.

The crosshatch ensures a crispy skin and the breast will not pull too tight.

For my rub, I use ginger, 5-spices mix and salt. Ginger is easily cleaned with a teaspoon. Gently grate the skin off. Works perfectly for irregularly formed ginger roots. When the skin is gone, I finely chop the ginger, mix it with the 5-spices and the salt.

5-spices

Five spice mix consists of cinnamon, star anise, szechuan pepper, fennel seed and clove powder. All taste groups, which we know so far, are part of this fantastic spice mix; sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami.

Rub

I rub the spices firmly over the duck. I try not to leave any part unattended. Do not forget the inside. I rub the mix in the cavity and then fill it up with the two pieces of ginger. They do not need to be peeled.

I leave my duck like this for 15-30 minutes.  The skin marinates in the 5-spices mix while my duck can reach room temperature.

Oven

I set the oven at 22o degrees Celsius. I also heat the oven dish in the oven.

Baking

When the oven is the right temperature, I carefully remove the baking dish and place the duck in the middle. You can hear it sizzling. The bottom of the bird is sealed this way and will hold the juices better.

I bake my duck for 20 minutes at 220 degrees and then for another 5 minutes at 180 degrees.

I bring down the temperature because I do not want to burn the skin in the last 5 minutes.

After 25 minutes I remove the dish from the oven and wrap it in tinfoil to rest for 30 minutes. The juices are sucked back up by the meat and the duck becomes lovely tender and juicy.

Chinese pancakes

Peking duck is eaten in a thin pancake that is filled with crispy vegetables, such as cucumber and spring onions cut lengthwise.

Dough

Now the duck is in the oven, I have time to make the pancakes. I place a steam basket (or take a flat bottom colander) above water and bring it to a boil. I lay a ‘cartouche’ on the bottom of my basket; a round cut piece of parchment paper. The cartouche should not fit exactly. Better to cut it too small, so enough steam can pass.

I place the basket in a wok with water that does not touch the basket and bring it the boil.

Hot water

In the meantime, I add 250 grams of flour in a bowl and pour in 140 ml of hot water. The water is so hot I have to use chopsticks before I can knead it.

I’ve also made the pancakes with cold water. This creates a different type of dough but ultimately becomes the same in thickness and transparency. The dough made with cold water is more flexible and forms a more bumpy pancake.

Hot water dough stays more firm and is easier to roll in a strong pancake.

I knead the dough for a few minutes. It gets smoother and starts to shine a bit after a minute or 5.

I roll it into a sausage and cut it into 20 pieces that I roll into balls.

I cover the balls and start to roll them out one by one into super thin sheets.

I roll until my sheet is translucent when you hold it your hand. I use extra flour to prevent it from sticking to the counter and rolling pin.

Steaming

In the meantime, my water boils under my bamboo basket. My first pancake can go in and I close the lid.

I steam for a few minutes and roll another pancake. The time of steaming depends on the time it takes for me to roll a new pancake. It doesn’t have to be exact. I just add more pancakes to the steaming basket, pilling them up and close the lid every time. When my last pancake is done, I steam for another 3 minutes and then they are finished.

Separate

It’s important to immediately separate the pancakes when they are done. One by one I gently pull them of one another and pill them up again. If you do not do this they will become too sticky and form one big slap, not pretty. Now the pancakes are separated, you can keep them for days in the fridge.

If you want to use them, place them back into the steaming basket and steam until warm and flexible again.

Serve

I cut cucumber and spring onions in long thin strips. At the table, I cut the meat of the bird and make nice thin strips. I mix fat (skin parts) with the more meaty meat.

I scoop one teaspoon of plum sauce (recipe is coming soon) on the pancake, place the duck pieces, cucumber, onions, and chilies on top and drizzle a teaspoon (or two) homemade hoisin sauce on top.

Now I roll my pancake into something I can hold in my hand.

And….. scrumptious. The sweetness of the hoisin, the crispiness of the duck with its 5 spices herbs is coming through strongly. And then at the end, the sharpness and stinginess of the chilli. This is so much fun to eat!

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