Monday, February 8, 2016

Roasted Duck and A Happy Chinese New Year Dinner Family Reunion...

A whole duck! My first time working with an entire duck-- head, feet and all. Intimidated I was to attempt roasting one, after all I heard, read and seen on how elaborate it is for Chinese Chefs to achieve the incredible mahogany roasted skin and succulent meat results. But this year Susan's Savour-It! is about stepping outside the culinary comfort zone, embracing new food discoveries and have a heck of a good time learning and cooking along the way! Well, certainly this is one of 2016's highlight so far! I wanted to create deli-style siu lap classic roasted duck siu ap you see hanging from hooks in Chinatowns, and not the Peking-style duck, which is full-on crispy skin duck with fat rendered, and thinly sliced to wrap in pancakes with green onion slivers. Many recipes researched, comparing the techniques and replicate-friendliness, it was actually a recipe from Chef Tyler Florence on Food Network that agreed with me in every aspect-- no elaborate tools or equipment, or hanging on a hook to air-dry overnight and could be done in one day! Steaming first, then roasting-- here is my rendition in the kitchen then toting to cook it at my parents for "toon neen fan" Chinese new year family reunion dinner last night; I more than impressed myself and everyone and believed I delivered a Chinatown-worthy roasted duck! Wicked! =。:.゚٩(๑>ω<๑)۶:.。+゚

Of course my artist brother and wife will add their personal artsy touch to the occasion.

Our festive dinner celebration spread...

Chinese Roasted Duck (adapted from Food Network Chef Tyler Florence's recipe)

1 whole (4 to 5 pound) duck (look for it already gutted in Asian supermarket's)
1Tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt

dashes of ground white pepper
5 big slices fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch green onions
1 tangerine, peeled in big strips
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup honey

NOTE: Omit the dark soy sauce-- it will brown the skin too much during roasting.

The beautiful and fragrant aromatics for stuffing.

Duck is notoriously a fatty bird-- to diminish the fat and produce a good slightly crisped skin for this style, begin by trimming the excess fat from the neck and body, leaving some intact at the buttocks to close the cavity. Rinse the duck, inside and out, and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. 

I lopped off the neck attached to the head and feet before rinsing.

Combine the Chinese five-spice, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the duck, inside and out (salt and five-spice powder makes a fragrant dry marinade, which draws some of the moisture from the duck so that the spices penetrate). Stuff the duck cavity with the aromatics: the ginger, garlic, green onions, and tangerine peel. Fold the wing tips back under the duck and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Poke the duck breast a few times, piercing the skin. Let marinate at least one to four hours or if only you have time covered in fridge overnight.

Massage that baby!

Place a roasting pan on the stove top over two burners and fill with 2-inches of water, turn the heat to medium. Set a rack insert inside the pan and lay the duck on the rack, breast-side up. Cover tightly with aluminium foil. Steam the duck for 45 minutes, checking the water level periodically. Steaming the duck first melts away some of the fat and shrinks the skin.

Before and After (look at the shrivelled skin and fat rendered in pan)...

Don't waste the awesome duck fat-- save it for other uses like fried rice and stir-fries :)

In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, honey, and soy sauce over low heat. Cook and stir for five minutes until thick. The duck will be lacquered with the sweet glaze, which caramelizes during roasting, making the skin crisp and brown.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with the baking rack at the second lowest level in oven (this is to prevent browning the top too darkly before cooked). Take the foil off the duck, remove the rack with the duck, and pour out the water and all the fat that has rendered out. Put the rack with the duck back inside the roasting pan. Baste the duck with the vinegar mixture, until all the skin is completely coated in the glaze. Stick the whole thing in the oven. Roast the duck for about 45 minutes to one hour, basting periodically with any remaining glaze to set in a deep mahogany colour. Tent the breast with some foil if it gets too dark. The legs will wiggle easily when it's done and juices will run clear when poked in the thickest part of thigh. Remove from oven and let rest ten minutes before carving.

I wrapped the wing tips to prevent them from burning during roasting.

I got the dibs down for classic glazed roasted duck-- Woo Hoo!

Using a proper pan rack will prevent burning from the drippings being exposed to the heat.

Remove the aromatics and follow the guide below for carving and slicing.

I leave my dad to the pro-butchering!

Credit: Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

Traditional CNY Treats and Sweets

Gotta get drinks in theme too with Chinese beer!

First things first, upon arriving at my parents, a family joint prayer by burning incense. Incense sticks are lit up, held between clasped hands, wishes and prayers are silently chanted while performing a sequence of three standing bows. Then the sticks are placed into the rice bowl and left to burn until finished.  We do this first looking to the sky facing the window for overall blessings and then again in front of a mini altar dedicated to our ancestors.This is to pay respect to the loved ones who've passed on as well as asking for protection and good luck for the gods above.

I always thoroughly enjoy these celebrations because we all get to cook together and show off our favourites, and exchange tips and feedback. 

My sis-in-law and her son preparing kappa cucumber maki rolls as an appie.

My dad, ever-the-butcher getting down-- hacking and whacking all the awesome deli delicacies!

Steamed chicken and roasted crispy pork 

Mushrooms, Sea Cucumber and Abalone dish also graced the table.

Come and get it gang-- fill your rice plate to your hearts' desires!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone with gorgeous Chinese eats!

And capping it with a visit to the temple today to say new year prayers & blessings for ourselves and loved ones here and thereafter life with my incredible and gorgeous gal pal Eve!

At Cham Shan Temple in York

For more awesome Chinese eats from this week's series of posts, see PF Chang's famous Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Crispy Roast Pork Siu Yok, and Barbecue Pork Buns Char Siu Bao. For more auspicious foods to ring in the new year, check out Double Steamed Fish with Green Onions and Ginger and Marbled Tea Eggs. Now Let's Eat! Dai ga sic fan!

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