The Whole Dam Duck Got eaten and some Turkish


Every bit, not a skerrick left over, nothing, all consumed. Mind you it was good, in all modesty and I am. But in this case I urge any and all of you who either like duck or are ambivalent, please try this.

It is possible these days to buy duck bits and I would think that this would be well suited to duck legs which seem easily available. In my case I had purchased a large duck from my favourite poultry supplier and had it cut into six pieces. This did not include the neck and the back bone which I also cooked for extra flavour and a little picking for the chef.

The recipe purports to be from Vietnam, and with the French occupation of that delicious country for so long and the heritage that was left, baguettes, pate and so on, its not hard to see that the Viet cooks would adapt a well known French dish to local standards and dam, thank goodness they did.

Prepare for a bit of fat splash and also the need to not run too far from the kitchen as this dish cooks, if at all possible I would arm myself with one of those pads that you put over a gas flame to tame it a little, with the sugar and juice, it is quite easy to burn. It does need to be cooked on a low flame.

I accompanied this with some stir fried vegetables, in fact some brocconlini and some spinach leaves with a bit of Bok Choi, and of course with a good serve of rice, simple steamed white rice is great. I also used a deepish pot to try and eliminate the initial splashing as the duck is fried quickly to get a browned skin and then so as to have enough space to place the duck pieces for its second cooking.


1 whole duck cut into six portions or 6 portions of duck.

2 stalks of lemon grass, the inner parts only sliced into fine small rings and diced.

2 whole red (long chillies) leave them whole

2 large cloves or 4 smaller cloves of garlic peeled and chopped

4 cm piece of Ginger route, peeled and chopped in a julienne (small match sticks)

1 litre of freshly squeezed orange juice (this is essential… don’t use bottled)

Grated rind of one orange

1 heaped tablespoon of palm sugar

5 – 6 whole Star Anise pieces (I have seen some recipes that used five spice powder, so if you have not got the star anise, this could be substituted)

3 tablespoons of Fish Sauce

10 whole peppercorns (black) crushed lightly.


Place your deep dish pan onto the heat, and fry the duck pieces skin side down till the skin is very very crispy. You should allow the pan to get hot for this, you want the skins to sizzle as soon as you put them into the pot. Turn the duck over and cook the flesh side till it is golden, remove the duck and place it to one side. You should end up with quite a lot of melted duck fat, remove all but two tablespoons of fat and put the removed fat to one side for great roast potato in the future.

Return the cooking pan (I used an enamel cast iron pot) and bring the fat to heat, add the ginger and garlic, chilli and lemongrass, allow the flavour base to cook add the sugar, fish sauce, pepper and star anise and the orange juice along with the grated rind of one orange, bring to a slow boil and add the duck pieces to the liquid, skin side up, the juice should come up at least half way on the duck, place the lid on the pan and allow to return to a boil and then turn down to a very slow heat and sauté for 1.5 hours or until the duck is well cooked.

Take the duck from the cooking liquid, place on a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Remove as much of the fat from on top of the cooking liquid as possible, take a dessertspoon of cornflour and blend it with some of the cooking liquid to a paste, pour the paste into the liquid and cook till the sauce is thickened. I like to pour the sauce over the duck and scatter the top with elongated sliced spring onion.

Serve with some fresh rice and stir fried vegetables of choice. For those of you who would like to garnish a bit more, some julienned orange rind would be great.

I thought that this was a delicious way to handle duck. In the west duck is always roasted and I find that fatty and not all  satisfying. But this way the duck is cooked to a delicious perfection and the skin is crispy (well not completely after being bathed in steam for a while)… and the sauce delicious. I thoroughly recommend it.


While on the subject of new foods and cooking… I have recently become quite enamoured with Turkish food and cooking. In so many ways similar of course to other countries of the Levant, but also unique in so other ways, the use of certain syrups like Grape Syrup (see following recipe) open up all manner of possibilities. I also like the way that capsicums are used in so many foods, mostly in a pureed form, very delicious. I urge you to pursue Turkish food and explore the simplicity and delights of it.

So for tonight’s dinner, a simple salad, but absolutely yummy.

4 pears, not too ripe, peeled and each sliced into six or eight wedges/

1 medium size red onion peeled and sliced into wedges as above.

1 Jar of Grape Syrup (Turkish and its called Pekmez… we will have it available soon)

For this part, place the pears and onion in a roasting pan with a small amount of oil, brush each with a liberal brushing of Pekmez and roast in a 200° c oven for about 20 minutes. I find it better to gently turn the pears as they will tend to get stuck. Allow the pears and onions to cool in the juices of the pan. (I used a terracotta flat pan and allowed the pears and onion to cool in that with the intention of serving the salad in that dish.


A bunch of salad greens (choice here… watercress, spinach leaves, rocket or even a mesculin) quantity should be enough to feed as many as you have.

1/2 cup of whole and halved hazelnuts (lightly toast them in a dry pan)

1/2 cup of fetta cheese, crumbled

1 medium to large garlic clove chopped finely

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil (or a nut oil, I used walnut oil)

1 teaspoon of roasted cumin seeds, lightly pounded.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

To the now cooled plate of pears, add the oil, vinegar, fetta, nuts, cumin seeds, salt and pepper and mix in well, but gently so as not to break up the pears. To this add the (I think about three good handfuls) of your chosen green and again, mix well but try not to break up the pears.

We had this with some simply roasted chicken and it was delicious, the sweetness of the fruit and grape syrup with the sour vinegar, the richness of the oil and cheese… all in all a feast.

~ by peterwatson on May 22, 2011.

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