There have been times when dishes I’ve cooked have been blog worthy but never get posted because either in the rush of serving I forget to photograph the final dish or the pictures don’t turn out well, as was the case in this instance. But despite the dubious photo quality I decided it was too good a recipe not to share. This is a great dish for entertaining – not only can it be made ahead of time but it’s also one of those great recipes where you get a lot of bang for very little effort. I saw Rick Stein make this dish on his Far Eastern Odyssey series and he was so enthusiastic about it that I knew it would have to be good. He describes it as a Vietnamese take on the classic French dish Canard à l’Orange and once you’ve tried it this way the original French version pales in comparison. Some people are put off by using duck in a braised dish as it can be quite fatty but if the duck is seared first, as it is here, all the fat is rendered and strained away resulting in a very clean and light sauce. All this needs is some rice and some steamed Asian greens to serve alongside.
Ingredients – Serves 4 – 6 Adapted from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey
1 x 2.5kg duck, jointed into 6 pieces – I used 4 duck marylands and 2 breasts
50g garlic cloves, sliced
50g peeled ginger, thinly sliced
1 litre freshly squeezed orange juice – good quality store bought is fine
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
5 star anise
4 red bird’s eye chillies – I found this number made the dish very spicy and will probably only use 2 next time. You could leave them out entirely if you wanted no heat at all
2 fat lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves discarded and bottom third finely chopped
8 spring onions, white part only chopped into 3 inch pieces
½ teaspoon cornflour
Heat a heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add duck pieces, skin-side down, and cook for 5-6 minutes or until crisp and golden. Turn and cook for a further 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Remove all but two tablespoons of the duck fat from the pan (don’t throw away the rest of the duck fat as it’s great to keep in the fridge for the next time you roast potatoes) turn the heat down slightly and add the garlic and ginger and cook gently for a two minutes or until lightly golden.
Add orange juice, fish sauce, sugar, star anise, chillies and lemongrass to pan and season with black pepper. Return duck to pan, increase heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 1½ hours, occasionally turning duck pieces. Add the spring onions to the duck and cook for a further 30 minutes or until duck is meltingly tender.
Transfer duck pieces to a warmed serving dish and set aside in a warm place. Skim excess fat off top of remaining liquid and simmer vigorously over medium-high heat or until reduced and concentrated in flavour. Mix cornflour with 1 tsp water; stir into sauce and simmer for a further 1 minute. Pour sauce over duck and serve.