Roast Duck and Pumpkin Curry

approximately 1 1/2-lb. kabocha or other winter squash
4-5 cups coconut milk (use two 19-oz cans of the Mae Ploy brand)
4-6 Tbs. red curry paste
1 1/2 to 2 Tbs. palm or coconut sugar
Fish sauce (nahm bplah) as needed to desired saltiness
2 1/2 to 3 lb. roast duck, chopped through the bone into small chunks
2-4 red hot chillies, cut into thin slivers with seeds (optional)
2 cups Thai basil leaves and flower buds
Basil sprig(s) for garnish

Cut the kabocha in half, scoop out the seeds and pith. Placing the cut ends flat on a surface for balance, peel and discard the greenish skin. Then cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch chunks.

Do not shake the cans of coconut milk before opening. Spoon 2/3 cup of the thickest cream off the top of a can into a large pot placed over medium-high heat. Reduce cream until thick and bubbly (about 3 minutes), then add the curry paste. Stir and mush the paste into the coconut cream and fry for a few minutes until it is very aromatic and darkened in color. Then pour in the remaining milk from both cans, stirring well to dissolve the paste to make a smooth rich sauce.

Add 1 1/2 Tbs. of palm or coconut sugar, stirring well to blend into the curry sauce. Taste and add fish sauce only as necessary to salt to the desired saltiness (may not be necessary with some brands of curry paste which are already highly salted).

Add the kabocha chunks and duck pieces. Stir well into the sauce. If there is not enough curry sauce to cover most of the duck and squash pieces, add more coconut milk; or if the sauce already looks plenty rich, add 1/2 cup of water instead, as the squash and duck will thicken and enrich the sauce even more when they are cooked.

Return to a boil, then lower heat to medium, or just enough to boil the sauce gently. Cook partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, or cooked to your liking (15-20 minutes or more). Taste the sauce and adjust as needed with fish sauce and palm sugar to the desired salty-sweet combination. If more hotness is desired, stir in the slivered chillies.

If a lot of fat has cooked out from the duck, skim out the oil floating on top of the curry sauce. Then stir in the basil until it wilts to a bright green color. Turn off heat and spoon curry into a serving dish. Garnish top with basil sprig(s).

Roasted Duck Curry

Ingredients

1 1/3 cup coconut cream, reserve 2 tablespoons (30ml) for garnish
2 1/4 cup coconut milk
6 oz (200g) roast duck, thinly sliced
1.76 oz (50g) red curry paste
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon (20g) palm sugar
3 kaffir lime leaves: 2 torn into pieces, discarding the stem and 1 finely shredded (for garnish)
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces
1 1/2 cup (5oz, 150g) fresh pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces (1 inch x 1.5 inch)
6 small cherry tomatoes (4 oz, 100 grams)
10 seedless grapes (optional)
3/4 cup (1 oz, 30g) sweet basil leaves (reserve some for garnish)

Pour the coconut cream into a wok or sauce pan and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the coconut oil begins to separate out.

Add the curry paste, fish sauce, palm sugar and torn kaffir lime leaves. Simmer for 2 more minutes.

Add the duck and eggplant. Bring to a boil. Then add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the pineapple and cherry tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Then add the grapes (if using) and sweet basil leaves. Turn off the heat and serve garnished with the remaining kaffir lime leaves, sweet basil and a few spoonfuls of thick coconut milk.

Laotian Duck and Cucumber Stir-Fry

5 medium cucumbers or 2 telegraph cucumbers, washed (choose young ones with thin, edible skin and small seed core if possible)
1/2 duck breast with skin (or equivalent in thigh meat and skin)
1 T garlic, chopped
2 T fish sauce
2 T thin soy sauce
1 T chicken stock powder (optional)
3 T oyster sauce
1/2 t sugar
1 t chilli paste to taste (optional)
1/4 C spring onion greens, finely sliced

Method

Separate the duck skin from the flesh, reserving fat. Slice the fat into 1 cm (1/2 in) pieces and the skin into 2 cm (1 in) slices. Set aside. Slice the duck meat finely across the grain. Set aside.

Toss the chopped fat and skin into a heated wok set over a medium flame. Allow the fat to render down and the skin to fry until golden brown and crisp. At this stage (there will be a change in the frying sound and a fragrance released), push the crisp skin to one side. While the skin and fat are cooking, prepare the cucumbers.

Peel the cucumbers if the skin is tough and bitter; cucumber is used in this dish to impart sweetness. Slice them in thin diagonal wedges, creating slices that taper off about two-thirds of the way through the cucumber.

Add the chopped garlic to the rendered fat and then the meat. Stir fry several minutes until the colour changes. Add the crisp duck skin and then the cucumber. Mix together and stir fry until all is heated through and starting to cook. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, stock powder, oyster sauce, optional chilli paste and sugar, briefly stirring between each addition to distribute the flavours evenly and merge them together.

Cover and let cook for a few more minutes. The moisture from the cucumbers should be released to form a tasty sauce with the other flavourings, but the vegetable must not be overcooked. It should remain crisp.

Taste for flavour and adjust. Stir in the spring onion greens. Transfer to a serving bow

Miso Glazed Grilled Duck Breasts with Mango and Greens

4 large duck breasts (about 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons red miso
2 tablespoons light soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon sake or mirin
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
6 ounces small green beans, topped and tailed
Lettuce leaves, for serving
1 large mango, peeled and sliced
Watercress sprigs, for garnish (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped scallions

Trim duck breasts of extraneous fat (or ask your butcher to trim them) and score the skin. Season very lightly with salt and generously with coarsely ground pepper.

Make the marinade: In a mixing bowl, whisk together miso, soy sauce, sake, orange zest, ginger, garlic, cayenne and sesame oil. Remove 1/4 cup of the marinade and combine it with 2 tablespoons orange juice to make a dressing; set aside. Add remaining 2 tablespoons orange juice to the marinade in the mixing bowl.

Lay duck in a shallow pan and pour the marinade over, making sure meat is well coated. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. If you wish, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Prepare a bed of medium-hot coals in a grill, or heat a stovetop grill or cast-iron pan to medium hot. Cook duck breasts skin-side down for 8 to 10 minutes, until fat is rendered and skin is nicely colored. (See note.) Turn and cook on the other side for 3 or 4 minutes, until internal temperature registers 125 degrees. Remove from heat and let rest at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook green beans for 1 to 2 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain green beans and rinse with cool water; blot dry.

Slice duck crosswise about 1/8-inch thick. Line a platter with lettuce leaves. Place several slices of duck on each leaf, along with a couple of mango slices. Arrange green beans over the top and garnish with watercress, if using. Drizzle reserved dressing over everything, sprinkle with scallions and serve.

Using Hand Thai Curry Pastes

RED:
Stir fry 50 grams of curry paste with 3 tablespoons of oil until aromatic.
Boil 200 mL of coconut milk until oil has surfaced.
Add 250 grams of meat and 200 mL of water, and boil until meat is cooked.
Add vegetables and taste. Season to taste with palm sugar.
Garnish with kaffir lime leaf, sliced red chili, and sweet basil.

GREEN:
Stir fry 50 grams of curry paste with 3 tablespoons of oil until aromatic.
Boil 250 mL of coconut milk until oil has surfaced.
Add 250 grams of meat, kaffir leaves, and 200 mL of water, and boil until meat is cooked.
Add vegetables and taste. Season to taste with palm sugar and fish sauce.
Garnish with kaffir lime leaf, sliced red chili, and sweet basil.

YELLOW:
Stir fry 50 grams of curry paste with 3 tablespoons of oil until aromatic.
Boil 250 mL of coconut milk until oil has surfaced.
Add 250 grams of meat, curry leaves and 100 mL of water, and boil until meat is cooked.
Add vegetables, including wax gourd or potato, and taste. Season to taste with palm sugar and fish sauce.

MUSSAMAN:
Stir fry 50 grams of curry paste with 2 tablespoons of oil until aromatic.
Boil 200 mL of coconut milk until oil has surfaced.
Add 250 grams of meat and 50 mL of water, and boil until meat is cooked.
Add onion, potatoes, tomatoes, and roasted peanuts. Season to taste with tamarind paste and palm sugar.

PANANG:
Stir fry 50 grams of curry paste with 3 tablespoons of oil until aromatic.
Boil 150 mL of coconut milk until oil has surfaced.
Add 300 grams of meat, add pea eggplants, and boil until meat is cooked.
Add vegetables and taste. Season to taste with palm sugar and fish sauce.
Garnish with kaffir lime leaf, sliced red chili, and sweet basil.

Basic Laab (Any protein)

1 pound (~500g) ground chicken, duck, turkey, pork, or beef
1/2 cup (3 fluid ounces) water, if necessary (see instructions)
2 large (56g) shallots, peeled and finely sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade toasted rice powder (see notes)
Fish sauce, or to taste
Lime juice, or to taste
Ground dried red pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (4g) whole cilantro leaves or coarsely-chopped sawtooth coriander leaves
1/3 cup (8g) mint leaves

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken until cooked through. (Don’t use high heat; you don’t want to brown the chicken.) There should be some juice in the pan. If it gets too dry, add some water to the pan up to ½ cup.

Once the chicken is done, take the pan off the heat and immediately add the shallots; toss to wilt the shallots.

Start out by adding 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Toss everything together well, and taste to see if you like how it tastes. If not, add more fish sauce and/or lime juice until the salad tastes right to you. (For this recipe, I use 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and 4 tablespoons of lime juice.)

Add the toasted rice powder; toss.

Add about one teaspoon of dried chilli powder to the mix and taste. I usually add 1 tablespoon, but that may be too much for some of you.

Once the taste is where you want your laab to be, mix in the mint leaves and cilantro or culantro. Serve.

Duck with Peaches and Potato Cake

2 large duck breasts
2 peaches (peeled and sliced)
5 large potatoes
6 garlic cloves (sliced fine)
2 handfuls of chopped parsley
1 tbsp butter
Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Just before you start cooking the duck, start frying on a medium heat the sliced potatoes with one tbsp butter for 8 minutes. Set aside.

In a large cool frying pan, place your 2 duck breasts skin touching the base. Switch on the heat to moderate and start frying. Every 5 minutes or so, when the duck fat melts, pour in a bowl, reserve the fat, and continue frying. Too much oil will make your duck skin burn.

Pour 8 tbps (or more if you wish and according to your taste) of the reserved duck fat onto the potatoes and continue frying till cooked and golden. You’d be surprised at how fast it cooks with duck fat. Flip potatoes constantly. Add salt. By 20-25 minutes they should be cooked.

Put potatoes in a small cake mold and press gently with a potato masher or a large spoon so the potatoes take a good shape. You don’t want to mash the potatoes, just press them. Place in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

After 20-25 minutes of duck frying, flip over the breasts and cook maximum 5 minutes depending on how you like your ‘cuisson’ (2 mins if you like the breast rosé/pink). Meanwhile you can fry the garlic in a tsp of duck fat until golden and the sliced peach for 3 minutes. They can be fried in the same pan.

Take the potato cake out of the oven, remove from mold and place on a serving plate. Put the chopped parsley and fried garlic on top. Slice the duck breast, season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Seared Duck Breasts

2 large duck breasts, preferably from a Moulard, or 4 small duck breasts (about 2 pounds total), at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 lime

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Using the point of a sharp knife, score the duck skin in a crosshatch pattern, cutting deeply into the layer of fat but taking care not to nick the meat. Season both sides of the breasts with salt and pepper.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (You can cook the breasts in a skillet, but a casserole does a better job of containing the fat spatters. A cast-iron casserole is perfect.) When a few drops of water sprinkled into the pot dance and evaporate quickly, put the breasts in the casserole skin side down—stand away, because the fat will spatter. Cook for 8 minutes, or until the skin is brown and crisp. Turn the pieces over and cook for 3 minutes more for very rare breasts, which will cook a tad more during their rest in the oven. If you’d like the meat slightly more cooked, keep the breasts in the pot for up to 2 minutes longer. (Cook any longer, and they will really be well-done, which is not what’s best for a duck breast.)

Lift the breasts out of the pot and onto a sheet of aluminum foil. Seal the breasts loosely in the foil and put them on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes to rest and finish cooking

Pour off almost all the fat from the pot (you should have just a teaspoon or two left in the pot), and put the pot over medium heat. When the fat is warm, stir in the balsamic, honey, and lime juice, as well as the duck juices that have accumulated in the foil packet, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Return the breasts to the pot and reheat them, about 30 seconds on each side.

Slice the duck and serve drizzled with the sauce.

 
SERVING
Transfer the breasts to a cutting board and, working on the diagonal, cut each breast into ½-inch-thick slices. Drizzle with the sauce and serve immediately.
 
STORING
If you have leftover duck, it can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, wrapped well; use it in salads or sandwiches. Sliced into thin strips, it adds flavor, texture, and a touch of heartiness to soups.

Roast Whole Duck with Orange and Ginger

FOR THE DUCK

1 5- to 6-pound Pekin (Long Island) duck
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon 5-spice powder, preferably homemade (see note)
1 large orange, zested and cut into 6 wedges
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon grated garlic

FOR THE GLAZE

2 cups orange juice
1 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 2-inch piece of ginger, thickly sliced
3 star anise

Rinse duck and pat dry. Remove neck and giblets and save for another purpose. Remove excess fat from cavity and tail area and trim off a bit of flappy neck skin. Prick duck skin all over with tip of sharp paring knife, making sure not to penetrate meat.

Mix together salt and 5-spice powder. Season interior of duck with 1 tablespoon salt mixture; use remainder to generously season exterior (you may have a little left over). Combine orange zest with grated ginger and garlic, then smear mixture inside cavity. Place orange wedges in cavity. Tie legs together. Secure neck flap with wooden skewer or toothpicks. Place duck on rack in roasting pan breast-side-up and refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, bring duck to room temperature and make the glaze: Bring orange juice, honey, sugar and soy sauce to a simmer. Add sliced ginger and star anise, then reduce mixture until you have a medium-thick syrup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Roast duck for 2 hours, carefully pouring off fat and turning duck over every 30 minutes. Paint with glaze and roast another 30 minutes (2 1/2 hours in all). Tent with foil if glaze begins to get too dark. Duck is done when temperature at thickest part of leg reads 165 degrees. Paint duck once more, keep warm and let rest 20 minutes. Use poultry shears to cut into quarters (remove backbone first) or carve in the traditional way, removing legs from carcass and slicing breast. Serve with mashed butternut squash if desired.

YIELD 4 servings
NOTETo make your own five-spice powder, put 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, 1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1 teaspoon cloves, 6 star anise, a 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick (crushed) and 12 allspice berries in an electric spice mill and grind to a fine powder. This should yield about 3 tablespoons. Store in a glass jar.

Duck with Cherries

FOR THE DUCK

2 Muscovy duck breasts, about 1 pound each
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

FOR THE SAUCE

1/4 cup turbinado or raw sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Pinch of cayenne
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound ripe cherries, left whole or halved and pitted
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kirsch or Cognac

Trim excess fat from duck breasts, leaving a 1/4-inch layer covering the breast. (Save fat trimmings to render and use for another purpose.) With a sharp knife, lightly score fat cover diagonally in two directions, taking care not to cut too deeply and expose meat. Turn breasts over and remove the thin tenderloins from underside. Trim away any veiny or ragged bits. (Save meaty trimmings for making stock.) Season generously on both sides with salt.

Pulverize the peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves, bay leaves and fennel seed in a mortar or electric spice mill. Sprinkle spice mixture over duck breasts; massage seasoning into meat on both sides. For more-intense flavor, do this several hours ahead or overnight and refrigerate (recommended). Bring duck to room temperature before cooking.

Make the sauce: Put turbinado sugar and red wine vinegar in a saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, until syrupy. Add red wine and chicken broth and simmer briskly until sauce coats spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside. You should have about 1 cup sauce. (Sauce may be made a day or two in advance, if desired.)

Place a wide cast-iron pan over medium high heat. When pan is hot, place duck breasts side by side, skin side down. Let sizzle gently for about 7 minutes, until skin is crisp and golden, turning down heat as necessary to keep from getting too dark. Turn breasts over and cook 5 to 7 minutes more. (Alternatively, finish cooking breasts in a 400-degree oven.) Check temperature frequently with an instant-read thermometer; internal temperature should be a bit less than 125 degrees. Remove breasts and let rest on a warm platter for 8 to 10 minutes.

To finish sauce, put butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add cherries and granulated sugar and cook for a minute or two, stirring, until cherries are heated through and beginning to get juicy. Add kirsch and cook 1 minute more, then add previously prepared sauce and bring to a simmer.

Thinly slice duck breasts at an angle and arrange slices on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce and cherries over meat and pass remaining sauce at table.

Duck with Rhubarb and Blood Oranges

2 duck breasts (magrets), each about 1 pound
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 pound rhubarb, leaves removed, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup finely chopped red onion
Zest and segments from 2 blood oranges
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon red miso

Heat oven to 175 degrees. With a sharp knife, score the skin side of the duck breasts in a crisscross pattern but do not cut into the flesh. Season with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, to very hot. Place duck breasts in pan, skin side down, and sear until browned, about 2 minutes. Remove. Reserve 1 tablespoon of fat and discard rest. Return duck to pan, skin side up, and place in oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Place reserved duck fat in a 10-inch skillet on medium-high heat. Add rhubarb, sprinkle with half the sugar and cook a couple of minutes, until the pieces start to brown but are still somewhat crisp. Remove to a dish. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and sauté slowly until very tender. Stir in orange zest and wine. Simmer until wine is reduced by half. Stir in remaining sugar and the miso. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

When duck has finished cooking, remove it to a cutting board, slice it thin on the bias and arrange the slices on a platter. Briefly reheat wine sauce and fold in the rhubarb and orange segments. Check seasonings and spoon sauce alongside duck.

Basic Vindaloo

2-5 tablespoons vindaloo seasoning (coriander, garlic, cumin, ginger,
cinnamon, crushed brown mustard, cayenne, jalape?o
pepper, cardamom, turmeric, black pepper, cloves)
2-5 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 pounds meat or seafood in cubes
1 large minced onion
1 cup water
6 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
4-6 cubed potatoes


Mix spice in water and set aside. Heat oil and brown meat. Remove meat and brown onion. Put meat back into pan, add vindaloo paste, water, vinegar, and salt, and cook 30 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 45 minutes or so.