Braised Duck with Bok Choy
A whole duck can be challenging to cook, since each part of the duck cooks differently. To become tender, the thigh meat is best when roasted, but the breasts are best seared so the thick, fatty skin becomes crispy. This recipe provides different cooking methods for each and the result is a succulent, rich meal. The addition of bok choy adds both color and a lighter flavor.
- 1 5-7 pound duck
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
- 1 large white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger root, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari
- 6 bok choy
- 2 tablespoons oil for searing
- Remove excess fat and neck from inside body cavity, saving the neck for stock. Cut off legs, wings, and breasts from duck, or ask your butcher to do it for you, making sure to save the carcass for the stock. Cut off the flap of fat that remains on the carcass and also remove any fat that seems excessive from the duck pieces. Save all the fat, as it can be rendered later and the fat can be used for other recipes.
- Break the carcass up into smaller pieces and put it in a large soup pot with the carrot, celery, half of the chopped onion and 1 quart of water. The water should almost completely cover the carcass. Add a dash of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat so the broth continues to gently simmer uncovered for 1 hour, skimming off foam if it gathers on the top. After an hour, strain the stock through a colander or fine mesh sieve and discard solids. Skim excess fat off the top of the stock. You won’t have much more than 2 cups of stock remaining.
- When stock is completed, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pat legs and wings dry and season with a dash of salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, deep ovenproof pot. Add legs and wings and brown each side, about 8 minutes total cooking time. Remove from pot and set aside. Lower heat and add ginger, garlic, lime zest and remaining onion and sauté several minutes until onion is translucent. Add tamari, duck stock, legs and wings. Bring to a boil then cover the pot and put in the oven for 1 hour. After cooking, remove meat from pot and place in serving dish (left on the bone, or cut off). Save the broth.
- Next, pat duck breasts dry and lightly salt. Over high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil then add duck breasts, skin side down, and cook until skin is golden and as crisp as possible, 4–8 minutes. Pour oil out of pan and flip breasts skin side up. Cook 10–12 minutes more to desired doneness. Or, if the oven is still on you can put the pan in the oven after searing and roast the breasts uncovered to desired doneness. Duck breast is typically served fairly pink and medium rare, which registers around 135 on a thermometer. Add the duck to the serving dish, either whole or sliced.
- To finish the dish, bring the broth to a simmer. Add bok choy and simmer with a lid for 4–6 minutes, lifting the lid once to rearrange bok choy so the ones on the top come in contact with the broth.
- Arrange bok choy on the serving platter with meat. Drizzle the broth over the top if desired.
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