Sunday, November 30, 2008

duck, duck, turkey

Survived another Thanksgiving! No travel, no relatives, no turkey, no black friday mall shopping and no college sports!
Yes Miles home from college - with girlfriend Shiori of course, and yes mu-shu duck! I'm sure their blog posts 20 years from now will read pretty much the same, but for the "no mu-shu duck and no scrabble!" But that's their problem. Hopefully they will still appreciate the duck and the day-after duck soup. Don't think they'll ever forget the drying ducks - or the crispy skin for that matter. At least they know what was hanging in the window, unlike what I saw in Shanghai last february. What exactly was hanging out to dry there??? Pork maybe in one picture, but a bear? I think the animal control or the FDA would be on our doorsteps immediately. We did have pumpkin pie. Spiced up with cardamom, heavy on the ginger and a delicious crust made by Gus and assistant Shiori. (Recipe and picture below - sorry no picture of the prepared mu-shu duck due to ravenous customers.)

the mu-shu duck:

1 duck
3 tbsp malt sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar

11/2 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 small shallots
8 pieces star anise
2 shallots

Start preparing the night before: 

Wash and dry the duck. Bring a kettle of water to boil. Heat the malt sugar and the vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. 
Pour the bowling water over the duck. This will contract the skin and helps it separate from the flesh for crispy skin. Rub the duck all over with the malt sugar mixture. Stuff with five spice powder mixture and sew up the cavity. Hang duck to dry by it's feet. Be careful, it drips.

Next day:

Preheat oven at 375ºF. Roast duck for 1 hr, or until reddish brown and crispy!

Meanwhile prepare the pancakes:

2 cups plain flour
11/3 cup boiling water
1 tbsp sesame oil plus more

Stir all ingredients rapidly together until you have a pliable ball. Divide dough in 4 equal parts. Roll each out in a log about 2" by 4". Cut into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured surface roll each into a 6" circle. Heat quickly on both sides on a very hot cast iron pan or griddle. Brush thinly with more sesame oil to prevent them from sticking together. Keep warm.

Prepare the stir-fry veggies:

bean-sprouts, washed
napa cabbage or bok choy, shredded
shiitake mushroom, sliced
scallions, white part sliced, greens chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce

Heat a wok, add pan dripping from the duck. Quickly stir-fry the scallion white parts with the shiitake mushrooms. When the mushrooms are soft, add the cabbage for a minute, the soy sauce and remove from heat. Remove to serving dish. Just before serving stir in the bean-sprouts, cilantro and green scallion parts.

Time to serve:

stir fry
hoisin sauce

Carve the duck and slice thinly. Each guest will spread a tsp of hoisin sauce on a pancake. Add a few slices of duck meat and skin and a spoon full of stir fry. Pick up and eat like a taco.

That night I start the duck soup with the bones and left-overs. While certain other family members await their share of left-overs. (Don't worry, we had plenty - even enough for "duck-pot-pie" on the 3rd night.)

Recipe to follow. First the pumpkin pies!

The Pumpkin Pie:

fresh sugar pumpkins

Roast in a 400ºF oven until soft. Scoop out seeds, peel and reserve meat.

pie dough:

21/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks cold butter, in cubes
1/4 cup ice-cold water

Combine all ingredients except ice water in food processor and pulse until coarse but well blended. While the machine is running, slowly but QUICKLY add ice-water through the feed tube until the dough holds together. Divide dough in 2 pieces. Flatten each into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hr.


4 cups fresh pumpkin meat
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cardamom
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves

Mix all in food processor and blend well.

Preheat oven at 425ºF

Roll out dough to line two 9" pie pans. Pour in filling and decorate with dough scraps. Bake for 15 min at 425ºF, then lower temp to 350ºF for an additional 45 min or so. Until a knife comes out clean.