Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rosie Is Attempting Szechwan Duck.

One item that's been on my to-make list is duck.
I will be attempting Szechwan Duck.

I've never had Szechwan Duck before,
so I don't know what to compare mine to.

I just know what I like when I taste it.
Is that enough?

This turned out to be a three day event.
The first day, I made the spicy marinade for the duck
and let it sit over night.
The second day required steaming the duck and letting it dry out.
The third day,
I finished the duck by frying.

I found a frozen duck at Food Lion
and let it sit in the refrigerator for several days until it thawed.

 Six pounds of duck.

First thing you do is throw out the sauce packet.

Tout de suite!

I have Mrs. Chiang's book
safely positioned in my bamboo and lucite cookbook holder
my friend and fellow-blogger, Mar, of Foodies Untie blogdom,
gave me for my birthday.
Thanks again, Mar.

Here's duckie.
I trimmed the excess skin off,
washed the duck well,
and patted dry.

Next, the duck needs to dry for at least 30 minutes.
Mrs. Chiang recommends tying the duck by its legs
and hanging it from a conveniently positioned hook
over the kitchen sink.
Since I ain't stickin' no stinkin' hook in my kitchen woodwork,
I must improvise.

Notice Beau in the background,
head nicely framed by the duck wing,
and my zombie target Youngest Hawthorne
gave me for my birthday.

Rosie stuck her bird on top of her chinois.

For some reason, I love this picture.
Canard sur de chinois.

 I accelerated the drying process
by using Mr. Hawthorne's hair dryer.

While the duck was drying, 
I prepared the spice mixture:
3 star anise
1/3 cup coarse Kosher salt
1/4 cup peppercorns

Szechwan peppercorns were called for,
but I used regular.
Couldn't find Szechwan on the beach.

Break up the star anise into little pieces and ...

  add to a hot pan.

Add the peppercorns and ...

... the salt and ...

...  cook over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes.

Stir or swirl throughout.
Remove when the spice mixture has become very fragrant
and the salt has turned a pale tan in color.

Rub 2-3 tablespoons of the spice mixture
into the cavity of the duck.
Rub the rest into the skin.

Leave the duck in a shallow dish
and set it aside to marinate for at least 6 hours.
I left it overnight.

The next day,
called for more marinating.

3 scallions and 3 one-inch cubes of ginger

Slice into thin matchstick strips.

Don't scrape the salt marinade off the duck.
Stuff a few tablespoons of the ginger and scallions 
into the duck's cavity and cover the duck with the rest.
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of soy sauce over the duck.
Set aside to marinate about 4 hours,
turning a few times during the marinating period.

After four hours,
place the bowl containing the duck and its marinade
on the rack of a steamer partly full of boiling water.
Pour about 1 cup of rice wine over top.

 My duck was 6 pounds.
I steamed it for 2 1/2 hours.

 Throughout the steaming period,
every thirty minutes or so,
I added in a cup of water and ...

 ...  poured some of the marinade over top.

 The duck renders quite a bit of fat as it steams.
I ladled the fat out,
put it in a container, 
and refrigerated it.
 Next, I was supposed to hang up the duck to dry
for at least 1 1/2 hours.

 This is not do-able.
I was trying to lift the duck out
and it fell into pieces.

 And made a greasy mess on my countertop.

 Duck pieces went into the chinois.

 Let the duck juices drain.
This went back into the refrigerator overnight.
I'll finish it off on the third day.

 Beau has discovered a new smell and he likes it.
 He's blowing raspberries.

Fast forward to Day 3.
I cleaned the spices off the duck pieces.

And no, steamed duck is not particularly attractive.

 I coated the pieces in soy sauce.

 And patted flour all over.

 I fried these in an iron skillet
in 360 degree peanut oil for 3 minutes,
turning at the halfway point.

Fry until golden brown and crisp.

 Drain on paper towels.



 This is incredibly rich.
I achieved a very nice, crispy skin.
It is salty, though,
but I guess so since the skin has 1/3 cup salt rubbed into it.
The meat is fork-tender.
I like the flavors.
I can taste a hint of the star anise -
just enough.
It is easy to overpower with star anise
and Mr. Hawthorne is still slightly afraid of it.
He's trying to come around.

This presentation of duck, with the spices,
sort of reminded me of my Sauerbraten.
I liked both, but they were a little on the heavy side.
Well, a lot on the heavy side, for me.

That said,
now I have to come up with a way to serve this duck.
It's way too rich for my tastes to have more than a few bites,
although Middle Hawthorne had no problems whatsoever.

 I thought about ways I could lighten this up
and I decided to put together a quick salad
and use the duck sparingly, as an accent,
or a crouton, if you will.
Stay tuned for Duck Salad Annie,
title courtesy Mr. Hawthorne.


southdrivein said...

Don't laugh, but you can make duck skin crispy by taking a bycycle pump with an inflator needle and inserting the needle between the skin and flesh and pump air so it seperates from one another

Marilyn said...

I wonder if a shorter steaming period would have worked and have kept the duck in one piece?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I was wondering that myself, Mar. It really doesn't matter though, since you need to cut it into pieces to fry.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

South, do you think Mr. Hawthorne's compressor will work?

southdrivein said...

Only if your Duck is going to be a parade float in this years St. Pattys Day Parade

Rocquie said...

I am amazed by some of your elaborate cooking projects. I'm glad to see your new cookbook holder. Maybe that will keep it safe from Mr. H, but what will he do to protect his hair dryer?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hi, Sage. Always good to hear from you. I like to try different things. Don't mind going out on a limb. I love my cookbook holder too. And the hair dryer was not cross-contaminated by the duck!

BTW, I love that pineapple casserole you posted.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

South, I'll have to talk to Mike Kelly about that.