Wednesday 21 August 2013

Spicy Shredded Duck with Crackling

Here's my latest MasterChef recipe, the fourth and last in a series of recipes I've written for Woolworths, food sponsors of the latest South African series.

Spicy Shredded Duck with Crackling
Tender shredded duck with cucumber, spring onions and a
super-crispy topping of duck crackling.

This is a sneaky way to make 24 or more delicious canapés using just two duck breasts: first confit the breasts in their own fat, then toss the tender shredded meat with cucumber, spring onions and some sexy Asian flavours, and finally top each portion with golden shards of crunchy duck skin.

This dish is ideal for starting the day before, as the flavour of the duck breasts will improve overnight. I’ve used the five-spice powder sparingly, but feel free to add more if you’d like more perfume in the dish.

Spicy Shredded Duck with Crackling
This is a great snack for a cocktail party, because you can prepare the duck
a day or two ahead, and put everything together at the last minute. 

For more details about how to confit duck at home, have a look at my recipe for Easy Duck Rillettes.

Finally, this year, it’s not just bloggers getting the chance to get creative in the kitchen along with MasterChef and Woolies. Create a recipe with the same ingredients used each week by the Woolworths Masterchef Competition bloggers and you could win one of fourteen R1000 Woolies gift cards, or the (very!) grand prize of a R10 000 gift card. Head over to the Woolworths Masterchef Hub for more info and T&Cs.

Spicy Shredded Duck with Crackling

2 boneless duck breasts, skin on
80g spring onions
half a large cucumber
1 tsp (5 ml) Chinese five-spice powder
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Hoisin sauce
4 tsp (20 ml) rice vinegar, to taste
milled black pepper
Maldon sea salt

Heat the oven to 160 ºC. Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in a cold frying pan. Turn on the heat under the pan to its lowest setting, and heat the breasts very slowly and gently for 10 minutes, without disturbing them. This long heating process will help to render the fat.

Turn up the heat in the pan to medium high. Fry the duck breasts in their fat for another 4 minutes, or until the skin is a rich golden colour.  Place the breasts, skin-side up, in a small, shallow ceramic oven dish and pour over all the juices and fat from the frying pan. Sprinkle half a teaspoon (2.5ml) of five-spice powder into the juices, cover with a piece of foil or kitchen paper and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes at 160 ºC.

Now turn down the heat to 120 ºC and roast for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the duck is very soft and succulent.  At this point, you can refrigerate the duck overnight (see Cook’s Notes).

Half an hour before the duck is ready, cut the cucumber in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut into neat, small cubes.  Finely slice the spring onion (you’ll use only the purple, white and pale-green parts).

Remove the duck breasts from their cooking dish, peel off their skins and set both aside.  Skim the fat off the top of the remaining juices and reserve – you’ll use this to fry the crackling.

Pull the duck flesh into shreds and place these back into the dish in which you cooked them, tossing well so every shred is coated in juices.  Keep this mixture warm in the oven while you make the crackling.

Sprinkle the remaining half-teaspoon of five-spice powder over the duck skins, then slice them into very fine strips.  Heat the reserved duck fat in a small frying pan and fry the strips over a medium-high heat for a minute or two, or until they are golden brown and crisp. Drain well on kitchen paper and season generously with salt.

Remove the warm shredded duck from the oven and mix in the cucumber cubes and spring onion.  Stir in the hoisin sauce and rice vinegar – to taste - and season with salt and milled black pepper.

Divide this mixture between 24 or more small warmed spoons – or little bowls – and top with the crisp duck crackling. Serve immediately, garnished with baby leaves.

8 as a canapé

Cook's Notes
  • If you’d like to prepare the duck the day before, follow the recipe until step 4, then tightly cover the dish containing the cooked breasts with foil and refrigerate it overnight. Gently warm the dish through in the oven before carrying on with the recipe.
  • The duck crackling carries on browning for a while when it comes out of the pan, so don’t let it get too dark when you’re frying it.

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1 comment:

Kit said...

This does sound very enticing and I love that you can stretch two duck breasts to share among so many this way!