I know I haven't blogged for a while - too many deadlines too little time - but I'm back with what has been a personal revelation for me a few days ago.
I love Peking Duck. Thanks to my Asian-food-lover-parents, I had it quite often even as a child, and went without saying that whenever we would go to a Chinese restaurant (which was more often that you'd think considering the culinary world of Cyprus fifteen years ago) we would have Peking Duck as a starter to share. However, through the years I struggled to find an easy recipe to recreate this all-time classic at home. But (thank God!) I did not give up! And, of course, good things come to those who wait.
My version serves 3-4 people a starter and makes about 10-15 pancakes, but obviously feel free to make it for more people. To make it, you' ll need a couple of duck legs (or a whole duck if you're feeding the whole family), a few teaspoons of five-spice and some salt. Firstly, preheat your oven at 170 degrees and wash the duck legs, cutting off some of the excess fat. To season, just sprinkle with salt to help make the skin crispy and rub in the five spice.
Now, so you can skip all the scooping out the fat chore, get a roasting pan, line it with foil (so you save up on the washing up afterwards), put a grill rack on top, and then add your duck legs, so as the fat melts it will drip off onto the foil. Get it into the oven and leave those babies to roast for a couple of hours. You may want to turn the temperature to 200 degrees towards the end, to make sure the skin will be even crispier.
As soon as the two hours are up, get them out and let them rest while you get on with the other things which will bring this duck to glory: get a pack of pancakes from your local Asian shop (if you can't find them or you're not sure, just tell them it's to make Peking duck), steam them or microwave them, and cut a cucumber and a spring onion into matchsticks, as you would have them in a Chinese restaurant. As soon as the duck has cooled down a bit, shred the meat using two forks and you're done! Well, almost. The last step is so easy but oh-so-crucial: the rolls. Get a pancake, slather on some hoi sin sauce, add a bit of your duck, a couple of cucumber and spring onion matchsticks and roll. Keep going until you're out of duck.
Now, it wasn't that hard considering you're rewarded with utter bliss, was it? :)