…from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? I’m in a ducky mood today so that’s the subject of today’s edition of my recipe blog. Duck is the main ingredient of many delicious Chinese dishes. Some of the most popular ways of cooking duck include roasting, smoking, frying and steaming. I’ve brought it to a new level—Instant Pot! They couldn’t do that during the Ming Dynasty.
The Chinese have been eating roast duck since the 13th century, when it was first prepared for one of the emperors of China. Duck was popularized during the Ming Dynasty when Peking Duck was a delicacy at the royal table. Although the dish has evolved over the years—in many different cooking styles—duck continues to be an haute symbol of Chinese cuisine. It's one of the most important dishes in the cuisine and is iconic within Chinese cooking.
Migrating birds are copious over China. Both ducks and geese make plentiful fly-overs, but the “royal” birds were undoubtedly farm-raised with special care taken to what they were fed assuring that they were always tender and flavorful.
Duck tastes wonderful and is one of the healthier meats you can choose with good reason. Duck is a lean meat–comparable in fat and calories to a skinless chicken or turkey breast. It's also an excellent source of selenium and zinc, both of which encourage good cellular metabolism. Since duck is a red meat, it contains higher amounts of iron than other poultry.
When cooking, it is important to render out the subdermal layer of protective fat just under the skin. If roasting bring the oven temperature up to 450⁰F to start the rendering process. Then turn it down to 350⁰F when you start to see the fat running; then finish cooking.
In my Asian-Style Duck with Cashews I use smoked duck breast (8 to 9-ounces). It is already fully cooked so you don’t have to spend the time roasting it. Smoked duck comes at a price--$19 to $25. You can find it at upscale supermarkets, specialty poultry stores or on Amazon. The duck with dark sauce is an elegant and eye-pleasing dish served on a bed of steamed rice with bok choy, wild mushrooms and shallots.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Instant Pot time: 3 minutes, plus 10 minutes natural release
Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon Asian five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (or more if you like it spicey, less if you don’t)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cups sliced smoked duck
1 medium red onion, quartered
1/2 cup celery ribs, bias cut
2 cups large broccoli florets
1/4 cup chicken broth or stock
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with four tablespoons chicken stock or water
1 cup roasted cashews
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
ChefSecret: This is the perfect recipe to use smoked duck. If you can’t find smoked duck, use a raw duck breast and cook it skin side up for about 30-40 minutes (per the oven instructions above) until a thermometer reads 165°F in the thickest part of the breast.
Quip of the Day: “I went to a bookstore the other day and asked the salesperson, "where's the self- help section?" The clerk said, “If she told me, it would defeat the whole purpose.”
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