If you ever have duck again, might I suggest peking duck? It’s, IMHO, the ultimate labor of love (at least as far as duck dishes go ;)).
Here’s the recipe I use, the harder-to-find ingredients can all be found at your local Asian grocery, or perhaps even in a larger supermarket:
Clean the thawed duck and rinse it thoroughly, inside and out, pat dry, then let it hang someplace cool and dry for four hours, where there is a decent breeze. The hanging isn’t necessary if you are really worried about sanitation (I’ve yet to die from it, though), but it will make for a nicer skin.
While doing this, you can make the broth:
1: **Broth **(if you want to cut a step, you can use chicken broth, but this tastes better and gives you something to do with the neck meat)
Bone the neck previously cleaned from the duck and put the meat and bones into a pot with 300ml of water and with a little green onions and fresh ginger to taste. Boil gently (medium low heat or so), skimming as necessary, until the water is reduced by about half and you have a good stock.
2: You can also make the **miso sauce **(some people just buy hoisin sauce, but, again, this tastes a lot better)
Here you will need:
40g of red (赤/aka) miso
3 tablespoons of the stock just made (or of chicken stock)
1 teaspoon freshly grated garlic
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
6 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1.5 teaspoons of toubanjan (豆板醬) (Any Asian grocery should have this, it is also called doubanjiang)
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1.5 teaspoons of sesame oil
star anise to taste (optional)
Stick all of these guys in a sauce pan and stir together over low heat until mixed into a consistent paste.
Using kitchen twine, stitch the poor duck’s tumtum shut and tie his legs.
Fill a large pot with 6-8 cups of water, more green onions, ginger, honey or sugar (3 tbsp), and a tablespoon of vinegar. Bring this to a boil.
Hang the uncooked, dried duck above the sink (or place it in a strainer above the sink) and slowly ladle at least half of this boiling mixture all over the bird for about 10 minutes.
Roast him in an oven at 250C (475F) for 30 minutes, make sure to have a pan ready to collect the drippings, you can save them for soups, gravies, or frying [you can even use it to make the pancakes in the next step if you like].
Pull out the duck and brush it down with a mixture of 50ml water and 1 tbsp of sugar. Throw it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so. Repeat this one more time, removing the duck, brushing it down with sugar water, and cooking it for another 10 minutes. After this, it should be ready.
Once it cools down you can remove the strings.
4:The **pancakes **(you might be able to buy these at an asian grocery [or even substitute them with really thin flour tortillas], but if you go through the trouble of making Peking Duck, you might as well go all the way, and you can do this ahead of time while the bird is drying)
In a mixing bowl, mix 200g of white flour with a teaspoon of salt. With chopsticks or a fork, mix in about 130 ml of boiling water. Throw the board onto a kneading surface and knead it for a couple minutes then cover it with a towel and let it set for 15 minutes, knead again, and let it set covered for another 15 minutes.
Roll the dough into a long cylinder about 3 centimeters wide in diameter throughout, then cut into about 20 equal parts. Turn each chunk of dough so that the cut end is up and flatten it with the palm of your hand until it is a flat circle about 15 cm in diameter.
You need to cook these two-ply, so, to ensure they will separate after cooking, brush each with a little sesame oil before sticking them together. Then, gently and quickly cook them in a pan with just a little vegetable oil. You aren’t deep-frying here, just lightly toasting on each side for 10 seconds. After they have cooked and are firm, you can separate them into individual pancakes. Let them cool and fold them gently before sealing them in tupperware with a slightly damp paper towel.
Slice the meat with the skin into pieces small enough to be wrapped in the pancakes. Serve with the pancakes, miso sauce, sliced raw green onions, raw bean sprouts, raw carrots, etc. Spread a bit of the sauce onto a pancake, add some duck, and one or more of the veggies. Wrap and enjoy!
Admittedly, this is a huge amount of work, but the result is absolutely fantastic.