Chinese Duck with Plum Sauce and Chinois Pancakes

Total Time:
3 hr 15 min
45 min
2 hr 30 min

6 servings

  • 3 Chinese ducks, preferably air-dried (about 4 pounds each)
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup plum wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • 2 strips orange peel, about 1 inch by 2 inches
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup plum puree, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup duck or veal demi-glace*
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Chinois pancakes, recipe follows
  • Plum Puree:
  • 1/2 pound Elephant Heart plums, halved and pitted
  • 1/2 cup plum wine
  • 1/4 cup raspberries, blueberries or fresh black currants
  • Chinois Pancake:
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 6 small scallions, cut in half
  • Prepare the ducks. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Mix 1/4 cup of the rice vinegar with the honey and brush the ducks all over with this mixture.

  • Place the ducks in a roasting pan and roast them about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour off the accumulated fat. Give the ducks a quarter turn and return to the oven. Repeat this process for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the ducks are dark golden brown on all sides. Remember to pour off the rendered fat each time you turn them. When completely cooked, transfer the ducks to another pan and let them rest so that the fat continues to drain from the insides.

  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan, reduce the plum wine with the mint sprigs and orange peel to a glaze. Add the vinegar and reduce it by two thirds. Add the plum puree and reduce it by half, until the flavor is quite intense. Add the demi-glace and continue to reduce the mixture by half, or until it is thickened slightly and tastes delicious. Over very low heat whisk in the butter, a little at a time. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. Strain the sauce and keep it warm.

  • Remove the breasts and legs from the duck. Place them on a grill or under a broiler or salamander until the skin is crispy.

  • Slice the duck breasts into medallions. Separate the legs and thighs; arrange half a duck attractively on each plate. Sauce the duck with the plum sauce. Decorate each plate with a scallion-filled Chinois Pancake.

Plum Puree:
  • Place the plums, wine and berries in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until the plums are soft, about 15 minutes. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor and strain it through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to 1 cup. Set aside.

Chinois Pancake:
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, egg and sesame oil. Whisk in the milk, then unless your batter is completely lump free, strain into another bowl. (The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream). If the batter is too thick, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get the desired consistency.

  • Stir in the ginger, garlic and scallion.

  • Heat the butter in a non-stick crepe pan over moderate heat. Add 2 tablespoons batter, then swirl the pan to coat the bottom with batter. Cook the pancake over high heat until golden brown. Turn it over and brown the other side. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Repeat the process until all the batter is used.

  • Cut each pancake in half, place a scallion on each and roll into a cone shape.

  • Yield: 6 pancakes

  • * Demi-glace is the result of cooking a stock until it is reduced by half; glace is the result of cooking it to a syrup.

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