Duck has hit our grocery store shelves and it’s no longer limited to specialist delis. I always enjoy duck when I order it at a restaurant and I am happy to see it appear on so many more menus. No longer limited to Asian pancakes, duck has taken off (I couldn’t resist) and reached new culinary heights in South Africa.
Watch a few cooking shows and you may think cooking duck is intimidating. However, duck is much easier to cook than you may think. It’s important to keep duck moist and not to overcook cook it otherwise it will become tough and difficult to eat (be especially careful with duck on the bone). Make sure you score and render the fat when you prepare duck breast.
Here’s a quick guide to scoring, rendering and cooking duck breast:
- Pat the duck breast dry with paper towel
- Score the duck breast (partially cut the fat) – about 1cm apart at an angle. You can do a criss-cross pattern if you wish.
- Season the duck with salt and pepper (or with Nomu’s Duck & Poultry Grinder)
- Preheat a non-stick pan (we use the Le Creuset skillet pan) to a medium heat. Place the breast skin-side down and cook for 8-10 minutes (time will vary depending on the thickness of the breast) or until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and brown. Lower heat for a longer time is better with duck
- Turn the breast and continue cooking the other side for 2 minutes.
- Place duck in a pre-heated oven for 5 minutes.
- Let the duck rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Slice and serve.
The recipe below poaches the duck in an Asian mushroom broth before rendering the fat. The duck is infused with delicious flavours and the broth becomes the perfect accompaniment. The strong duck flavor is balanced by the delicate vegetables to create a beautiful meal for a special night at home.
Duck with Asian Mushroom Broth
2 duck breasts
500ml – 750ml water (more/less depending on the size of your pot)
2 garlic cloves
1tbsp fresh ginger, large pieces
5 spring onion, sliced
60ml soy sauce
1tsp palm sugar
1 cup mixed mushrooms (use a mix of shiitake, oyster and shimeji)
6 baby bok choy
Combine all ingredients (except duck) in a large pot. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for about 30minutes. The broth will smell fragrant. Reduce heat and continue simmering. Score the duck and season. Add to the broth and cook for 6 – 8 minutes.
In the meantime, bring a heavy based pan to medium heat. Remove your duck breasts from the broth and place, skin side down, in the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the fat has been rendered. Remove the duck and allow to rest.
Remove the mushrooms and bok choy from the broth. Slice the duck breast and serve with the mushrooms and bok choy. Garnish with spring onion.