Recipe: Peking Duck

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  • 1 Peking duck 4 1/2 to 5 lbs head intact
  • 6 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 4 tablespoons Rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons White vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons Cornstarch slurry mixed with water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Scallion brushes and Hoisin sauce as accompaniments


  • Remove wing tips and feet from duck. Neck skin should be intact with only a tiny hole made about 2 inches above the base of the neck.
  • Remove cavity fat and discard.
  • Rinse the duck and massage the entire body by rubbing the skin back and forth, loosening it from the meat.
  • Make sure skin is not punctured.
  • Insert a bicycle pump hose into the neck hole.
  • Keep cavity closed as you pump air into the duck -- inflating it until the skin is taut, rubbing and rolling the skin as it is being inflated to distribute air evenly. Hang to dry, in a cool place, for 1 hour.
  • In a wok combine the boiling water, honey, rice wine, white vinegar, and cornstarch slurry, and stir until lightly thickened.
  • Hold the duck by the hook and dip it in and out of the boiling water, turning it from side to side, while ladling water over the skin.
  • Do this until the skin is well coated, about 1 minute.
  • Then hang duck up to dry for at least 12 hours or overnight in a draft near a window or other breezy place, spreading paper on floor to catch drippings.
  • If no cool area is available, hang duck from back of a chair and blow a fan on it for several hours. (Alternatively, set duck, unwrapped, on a rack with a pan underneath to catch drippings. Refrigerate, turning occasionally.)
  • If your oven is large and tall, remove all racks except the top one.
  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 7.
  • Cover a large pan with aluminium foil to reflect heat and to catch drippings and place the pan in the bottom of the oven.
  • Hook the duck vertically over the top rack in the center of the oven over the drip pan.
  • Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to gas mark 4 and roast for 1¼ hours.
  • To finish the duck: Put the duck in a wok with 4 to 6-inches of oil, heated to 180ºC.
  • Ladle the oil over duck.
  • Cook the duck in this fashion for 2 1/2 minutes per side to crisp the skin.
  • Put the duck on a cutting board.
  • Disjoint the wings and drumsticks and place them apart at either end of serving platter, outlining the form of a whole duck.
  • With a razor-sharp knife carve the skin on the duck with a very thin layer of meat, trying to make slices as large as possible.
  • Transfer them to the platter.
  • Remove all the meat from the carcass and cut it into strips about 1 to 2 inches long.




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