25 Sep 2015

Cantonese Duck Legs with Hoisin Sauce, Spring Onions and Cucumbers in Mandarin Pancakes

Snædís, my wife, requested Chinese-style duck for her birthday dinner. And meeting this request seemed easy enough - or so I thought. The idea was to roast a whole duck and serve with mandarin pancakes. However, I managed to slightly mess up the logistics! I was working at the hospital the entire day before and forgot to buy the duck. I hurried to the store the following morning and only managed to find a frozen duck. I best step up my game!

I had read countless recipes for this dish a long time ago and I had obviously forgotten how time-consuming the process was. At the very least, you need 12 hours, most preferably a day and a half. At this stage, with the duck still frozen, all seemed lost! Regardless, summoned the gastro-spirit, sprinted to another store and finally came across duck legs! A slightly modified birthday wish would finally come true.

Of course, you can also use chicken legs or even goose - depending on availability - whether you are a city dweller or a great outdoors hunter!

Cantonese Duck Legs with Hoisin Sauce, Spring Onions and Cucumbers in Mandarin Pancakes

6 servings.

6 duck legs
1 jar hoisin sauce
4 tbsp honey
50 ml rice vinegar
100 ml soysauce
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 tsp sichuan pepper
1 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder
5 spring onions

Sides:

Mandarin pancakes
2 carrots
8 spring onions
1 pepper
1 spring onion
Rice (optional)
1/2 cucumber
1/2 jar hoisin sauce

You can easily make your own hoisin sauce - there are countless recipes online and nearly all of them are very different from the stuff you get in a jar (like I had this time). The take home message here, I guess; Time is of the essence - it always pays off to check preparation times!




Rinse the duck legs thoroughly in cold water.



I used Chinese five-spic powder which contains a blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper and fennel seeds. And in order to sharpen the mix, I added two cinnamon sticks, two star anise and a nip of sichuan pepper.



Then you can just plop the garlic and the ginger into a food processor! 



Chop the garlic and the ginger very finely.



Turns out the bowl was too small for all the abundance of food!



The duck legs were were put into large bowl and along with the soy sauce, oil and spring onion. Stir well together. Transfer to the fridge and allow to marinate for 4-6 hours. If you have the time, an overnight marinade would produce the best result.



Heat the oven to 180°C. Place the duck legs on an oven tray dressed in aluminum foil. Before putting the tray in the oven, I brushed the legs rigorously with the marinade, and then covered with a sheet of foil. Finally, toward the end of cooking, I removed the top sheet of foil and increased the heat to 225°C in order to give the skin some proper crunch!



While the legs bubbled in the oven, I cut the vegetables into thin slices and strips.



It looks glistening and crunchy right?



Rice was served with the food for those who wanted!



Or, better, served on a mandarin pancake blanket, which were warmed in the oven before serving.





We enjoyed this wine from Chile with the food - 2012 Trapiche oak cask Malbec. The wine packs a punch - loaded with cherries. Even a trace of smoke. Satisfying aftertaste which perfectly suited the food!

It is always time to enjoy!

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