Cantonese Roast Duck | The Domestic Man

1 whole duck (~4 lbs), wing tips removed
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp five spice powder
¼ tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp fermented black beans (Douchi)
1 tbsp tamari or light soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1” ginger, sliced and smashed
3 green onions, cut into 2” lengths
1 small piece dried citrus peel (Chenpi), or peel of ½ tangerine
1 whole star anise
¼ cup honey or maltose
½ cup hot water
1 tbsp Chinese red vinegar
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine, dry sherry, or other rice cooking wine

1. Using paper towels, pat the duck dry, and cut away any excess fat or skin that extends beyond 2” from the bird.  Rub the outside of the duck all over with the salt, five spice powder, and ground peppercorns. Stuff the inside of the duck with paper towels to absorb any moisture; refrigerate, uncovered and breast-side-up, for 2 hours.

2. Remove the duck from the fridge, and remove and discard the paper towels.  In a small bowl, combine the fermented black beans and tamari, then rub the mixture all over the inside of the duck.  Place the garlic, ginger, green onions, citrus peel, and star anise inside the duck; stuff the duck with a large (25oz) glass bottle, preferably a square Chinese cooking wine bottle for the most stability, but an ordinary wine bottle will do.  Secure and seal the top of the duck by piercing each end of the skin with toothpicks, then tightly secure the cavity skin around the duck using toothpicks; the goal is to make the duck as airtight as possible.

3. Gently stand the duck upright and place in the sink.  Bring 1 quart of water to a boil over high heat, then slowly pour or ladle the boiling water all over the outside of the duck. In a bowl, combine the honey, hot water, vinegar, and wine. Brush a layer of the liquid all over the duck, wait 10 minutes for the duck to dry, then brush another layer on; continue this process until ⅔ of the honey mixture has been brushed on, about 6 layers (and 1 hour) total.  For best results, aim a portable fan at the duck to aid in the drying process. At this point the duck can be roasted immediately, or refrigerated overnight for extra crispy skin.

4. Preheat the oven to 400F, and remove all but the bottom rack from the oven.  Place the upright duck on a cast iron skillet, then brush on another layer of the honey mixture and place in the oven.  Roast until deep golden brown, about 45 minutes, rotating the duck and brushing on more of the honey mixture every 15 minutes.  As the skin cooks and shrinks, the toothpicks will come undone from around the bottle (as pictured), which is fine. If any parts of the duck become prematurely dark, such as the wings, loosely cover the dark parts with tin foil to halt the browning process.

5. Allow the duck to rest upright for 15 minutes, then gently remove from the bottle, carve, and serve.  When carving, try and combine a little skin with every piece of meat. Serve over rice, drizzled with any juices that accumulated in the skillet.

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