Today’s post comes from celebrity guest contributor Briony Hume. She’s taken time out from her Media commitments to share the following – thanks Briony!
“When I’m not being a superstar philanthropist, I love to get into the kitchen.
It’s the best place to find a bucket o’ wine or a hidden stash of Belvedere, then get the hell out of again.
But when Dave generously asked if I’d like to have a go at his wild ducks, well… who could ignore that call to quaction?
There’s not quite as much meat on them as a farmed duck, and much less fat, so I decided to try something small but full of flavour. Sorry, there’s no charcoal involved, but you could always throw a chop on the grill during the boring bits.
Double-cooked Duck in Chinese Pancakes.
Feeds 4 as a main, 8 as an entrée.
The ducks are poached in a stock, then glazed and briefly roasted, before being shredded. It’s not complicated, but it does take time; best to start a day ahead.
2 wild ducks, dressed
6 cups of water
1 cup of light soy sauce*
1 cup of shao xing (Chinese cooking wine)*
½ cup yellow rock sugar*
5 cm lump of ginger, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
4 whole star anise
2 sticks of cinnamon
rind of a mandarin, or take a few strips off an orange with a peeler.
15 g palm sugar, grated or finely chopped *
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fish sauce*
1 tsp sambal, or chopped birdseye chili
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 continental cucumber, julienned
20 Chinese pancakes, in vac pacs*
* all available at Asian supermarkets
First, make a Chinese master stock : I’ve adapted Neil Perry’s recipe, which can be used for all sorts of things later, from poaching chicken to using as a base for noodle soups or adding as cooking liquid to stir fries. Just strain, re-boil and freeze after use.
Throw stock ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil.
At the same time, bring a second pot of water to a vigorous boil. Put both birds in the second pot and simmer for a couple of minutes – this will get rid of the blood, and any scum, that would otherwise taint your stock.
Drain off the water, rinse the ducks under the tap, then put them in the boiling stock – simmer gently for 2 hours, then leave to cool on the stove (overnight if you can), still in the stock.
Take the ducks from the stock, and pat dry. Heat oven to 180 C
In a small saucepan, heat all the glaze ingredients, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Baste the skin of the ducks and place them in the oven on a baking tray, lined with foil as the sugar gets sticky.
You only want to bake the birds till the skin turns a nice deep tan colour – too long, and the sugar will burn and go black, so keep an eye on it – it should only take about half an hour at most.
Then rest the ducks til they’re cool enough to dismember with a knife and your fingers, and shred the flesh fairly finely.
Heat pancakes according to instructions.
Plate the shredded duck, moistened with a couple of extra tablespoons of stock, the pancakes, Hoisin and cucumber at the table, and let your guests assemble their own.”