Peking Duck

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 13h 20m

Serves 8

The fame of this dish goes far beyond its place of origin. Throughout most of the world today, Peking duck is synonymous with Chinese haute cuisine. Not only is it acclaimed for its exquisite skin, crisp and melting over a fine layer of succulent fat, but perhaps even more for the formal ritual that must accompany the serving of the remarkable dish.
There is an undoubted element of theater in its presentation: the famed duck is first wheeled out of a trolley by its creator, resplendent in white and complete with white gloves. The duck is thus displayed in its full glory for the approval of the patrons before the masterful slicing of square pieces of crisp skin is performed in full view of the diners.
The unique manner of wrapping each delicious morsel in a thin mu shu pancake and eating it with a judicious amount of sauce is a refinement that could easily be what I consider the first concept of nouvelle cuisine.

ingredients

  • For Duck:
  • 1 roasting duck, 4 1/2 pounds
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder (available at Chinese stores)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 piece of shallot
  • 5 pieces of star anise (available at Chinese stores)
  • 3 tablespoons maltose available at Chinese stores)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • For Mu-Shu Pancakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

  • Scallions, for garnish
  • Hoisin sauce (available at Chinese stores), for serving

directions

FOR DUCK: Put a kettle of water on to boil. Wash and dry the duck thoroughly. Mix all of the filling ingredients together and place the filling into the cavity of the duck. Sew up the opening with a needle and thread. Pour the boiling water over the entire body of the duck. The skin will tighten and immediately separate from the flesh.

Heat the maltose with the vinegar until the maltose dissolves. Gently rub the mixture over the duck. Hang the duck in a drafty place to dry for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roast the duck on a rack for about 1 hour, or until the skin is crisp and reddish-brown.

FOR MU-SHU PANCAKES: Place the flour in a small mixing bowl, quickly pour in the boiling water and mix together as quickly as possible. (it is important that the water be at a good boil.) The mixture will be flaky. Add a pinch of salt and peanut oil and work in. Continue to stir for 2 minutes, until the mixture becomes soft and pliable, yet a little firm.

Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll out each piece of dough into a sausage-like roll about 2 inches thick by 4 inches long. Cut each roll into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 6-inch circle.

Grease the bottom of a flat skillet (frying pan) with a little peanut oil and fry each pastry circle, one at a time, on low to moderate heat. Move the pan occasionally to prevent the pancakes from burning.

Turn the pancake onto the other side when small bubbles appear and cook until both sides are lightly browned. Remove from heat and keep covered with a damp tea towel until all the pancakes are cooked.

TO SERVE: Serve the duck with the mu shu pancakes, scallions and hoisin sauce.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 2591

nutrition information per serving

313 calories; 17g total fat; 71mg cholesterol; 469mg sodium; 19g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 20g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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