Poached Asian duck…bloody marvellous and easy peasy

Poaching is now officially one of my favourite ways to cook meat. Chicken and pork come out beautifully juicy, without a trace of overdoneness and now, ha, this recipe shows how wonderful duck can be cooked in the same way. You can prep the whole thing ahead of time, then chill and reheat it (which also allows you to scrape off a lot of the very precious fat to save for roast potatoes), but it is just as good made on the day you want to eat it. Not the quickest thing on this blog but definitely one of the easiest and most satisfying. One of the friends I made this for loved it so much that she went to fetch the casserole dish from the kitchen and then proceeded to eat every last scrap. We demolished almost 2kg of duck between, erm, three of us…

Poached Asian duck (adapted from The Kitchen Diaries)

For three to four generous portions you will need:

Cupboard (or things you may already have)
neutral oil (groundnut or sunflower), 2 tablespoons
white onions, 2
garlic cloves, 6
chicken stock, either fresh or from a cube,  500ml
sugar, 2 teaspoons

Shopping list
duck pieces on the bone, 8 (about 400g per person)
fresh ginger, a thumb’s length
spring onions, 6
rice wine, 125ml (if you can’t find this, here are some suggested substitutes)
star anise, 3 ‘stars’
jasmine or basmati rice, to serve
pak choi, to serve

How to
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan-assisted/gas 4.
2. Warm the oil in a lidded ovenproof casserole over a medium heat then brown the duck pieces in batches.
3. Whilst the duck is browning, peel and roughly chop the onions, peel the garlic and ginger and slice both thinly and finally trim the spring onions then cut them into thirds.
4. When all the duck pieces are brown all over, remove them from the casserole and put on a plate.
5. Add the chopped onions to the casserole, stir to coat, lower the heat and leave to soften and brown quite slowly.
6. When the onions are nice and soft (this will take 10-30 minutes depending on the size and number of pieces), add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and leave to soften for another five minutes or so.
7. Make up the chicken stock if necessary then add this, the sugar, rice wine and star anise to the casserole.
8. Cover and put in the oven for 75 minutes. If your oven is a little eager, or your duck pieces quite small, you may only need 60 minutes so check it after an hour and if the meat is lovely and tender then it’s pretty much done.
9. Steam some rice about fifteen minutes before the end of the cooking time; this is my favourite recipe.
10. Once the duck is done, season lightly with salt if required then spoon off as much of the fat from the surface as possible and serve the duck with some steamed rice and pak choi. Divine.

PS I made this a couple of weeks later with just four duck legs, the same amount of liquid/spices/flavourings and cooked it for a little less time, 50 minutes or so. Worked perfectly.

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