Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Xan: Making Kathleen a lucky duck

When Kathleen visited Chicago in January I made Peking duck.  I had never roasted a duck before (aside from that turducken), but Kathleen said it was time to change that.  As with so many things, I followed Kenji's guide over at Serious Eats.  Honey is to maltose as the food lab is to actual experience, which is to say: they are fair substitutes.

Incidentally, both readings of this post's title would be accurate.  Just as the lucky cows are the ones that get made into Happy Meals, it is the lucky duck that rises to the status of Peking Duck.  Let's meet Ping:

Here he is, just chilling in the fridge.  At this point, Ping has already been through a lot: I separated his skin from the body so the fat will render, poured boiling water over him to tighten the skin back up, and also coated him with a mixture of honey and water and baking powder to help browning.  Ping will air-dry overnight so the skin can get really crispy.

Hey.  Ping!  Get up, Ping!  You don't want to miss the boat, do you?

Ping gets up!  Is that an Arizona Ice Tea I see?
Peking duck is normally made by hanging up the duck in a large oven, allowing the fat to render so the skin can get crispy.  To reproduce this, we stand him up on a can.  It's going to be a tight squeeze in the home oven...

Ping's tail must be bent back as much as possible to make room.  Still, I think he is enjoying himself.

Ping is a sight to behold when he comes out of the oven.  Unfortunately I was distracted making the pancakes for peking duck, so all I have is a shot of his legs and the finished dish:

Kathleen seized a leg for "scientific purposes."

It may not be the most traditional Peking duck -- I refuse to not include lots of meat -- but these were delicious, obviously.  As proof, Kathleen demanded that I make her another duck before leaving.  I said no, but we did make mom's Panang curry together!

Pretty sure I've never seen Kathleen happier.

Yep, that's Kathleen.
You can really see the wheels turning...

Bad Kathleen, my curry!  Don't even think about it!

Kathleen also demanded exclusive rights to the leftovers, but I bargained her down to the lion's share.

We all agreed that cucumbers go really well here.

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