Peking Duck

Peking DuckPeking duck, originally prepared for emperors during the imperial era, is now considered a traditional classic dish in Hong Kong. Though this dish takes a considerable amount of time to prepare, that’s part of what makes it so special, and so impressive. None of the steps require much skill, though your dinner guests will think you’re a culinary master. Though duck contains a high amount of fat, duck fat has less saturated fat than butter, and can actually lower your cholesterol with its high levels of healthy mono-unsaturated fat. It’s the healthiest animal fat you can eat. Most of the fat renders out of the duck when you cook it this way, and you can use the remaining rendered fat to cook meats and vegetables. Homemade pancakes reduce unnecessary processed ingredients, and making your own hoisin sauce allows for the inclusion of super-food miso. Its fermented qualities boost your immune system and digestion. Fill up your scallion pancake with crunchy, fresh and healthy scallions and cucumbers, and serve your Peking duck with a simple cabbage slaw, and you’ll have a healthy twist on this very impressive and delicious Hong Kong classic.

Peking Duck
Total Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, plus cooling time
Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 organic large duck, washed, dried, and trimmed of excess fat
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Five spice powder
  • Fresh grated ginger
  • 1 bunch scallions, green and white parts, shredded for serving
  • 1 large cucumber, cut into matchsticks, for serving
  • Miso hoisin sauce, for serving (recipe below)
  • Sesame pancakes, for serving (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Season your prepared duck liberally inside and out with the sea salt, then dust over the five spice powder and black pepper on all sides and in the cavity. Rub the fresh ginger over the breast of the duck, and add any extra ginger you have to the cavity to flavor it.
  3. Place your duck in a roasting pan, breast side up, and transfer it to your preheated oven.
  4. Roast for 1 hour with the breast side up, then rotate the duck so the breast side is down, and roast for another hour. Flip the duck once more so the breast side is facing up, and ramp up your oven temperature to 400 and broil the duck until the breast skin is crispy and golden brown, maybe 8-10 more minutes.
  5. Take your crispy duck out of the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes, than cut the duck into portions, and shred the meat for serving.

 

Sesame Pancakes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: About 24 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups rice milk
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Vegetable or coconut oil for cooking

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, milk, sesame oil, salt, and pepper, until small bubbles form in the batter.
  2. Heat a small, thin skillet over medium heat, and add a few drops of the cooking oil, swirling the pan to evenly distribute it.
  3. Pour about two tablespoons of the batter into the prepared pan, and cook for thirty seconds on the first side, then flip to the other side and cook for thirty more seconds or until each side is lightly golden brown in spots.
  4. Keep your finished pancakes on a plate loosely tented with foil to keep them warm.
  5. Continue this process until you’ve used up all your batter. You should end up with about 24 pancakes, depending on their size.

Note: You can do this beforehand, and reheat them in the microwave or oven briefly until warmed through.

Miso Hoisin Sauce
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: About 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon five spice powder
  • ¾ cup red or brown miso paste
  • ½ cup maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste, if needed

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the sesame oil, then add the garlic and five-spice powder and cook for a minute or so until fragrant.
  2. Whisk in the rest of your ingredients, except the orange juice, and bring up to a boil.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly, then off the heat add the orange juice and whisk to combine.
  4. Allow to cool slightly, then serve.

Note: This sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to a week. Use up any leftovers on grilled or steamed fish or vegetables.

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About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: www.elizabethpalmerkitchen.com

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