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Chinese duck pasta with mushrooms

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2 duck leg quarters, about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds (see Kitchen Notes)
1-1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra
1 teaspoon sugar
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into 6 slices
6 cloves garlic, 4 thinly sliced and 2 minced
2 whole star anise
2 large green onions, divided
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar

canola oil
1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh or reconstituted mushrooms, sliced (see Kitchen Notes)
scant 1 cup chopped shallots (or yellow onions)
freshly ground black pepper

12 ounces Chinese noodles (or other ribbon pasta – see Kitchen Notes)

Prepare the duck. Trim away excess fat from duck leg quarters (reserve it to render fat over low heat in a small sauce pan for future use – don’t dare throw it away). Combine Chinese five-spice powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and sugar in a small bowl and rub all over duck. Place duck, ginger slices and the four cloves of sliced garlic into a zippered plastic bag. Marinate, chilled, for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

With aluminum foil, make 2 rimmed trays just large enough to each hold one duck leg and small enough to fit inside a bamboo steamer basket with room for steam to rise around it. (If you don’t have a bamboo steamer, see Kitchen Notes for an alternative steaming method.) Divide the ginger and garlic slices between the trays and add 1 star anise to each. Roughly chop the green portion of a green onion and divide it between the foil trays (thinly slice the rest of the green onion along with the other one and reserve). Arrange the duck legs on top of the aromatics, stack the steamer and place it over a sauce pan with an inch or two of water. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to low and steam duck for 45 minutes, keeping an eye on the water level so it doesn’t all boil away.

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