I don’t know what your favourite Chinese dish is, but anything containing duck seems to rate very highly in our house. Duck with pancakes is regularly ordered when we visit a Chinese restaurant but I don’t think I would attempt the crispy duck or the special pancakes. Duck with Plum Sauce is just as popular whilst being much less complicated and when I came across this simple recipe I knew it would be well received. The aromatic spiced sharp sweetness of the plum sauce is a perfect contrast for the rich flavour of the simply pan fried and beautifully crispy duck. I first made it last November for my husband’s birthday supper using duck legs and then once again in this March as part of the Chinese banquet I served for mum’s birthday, instead using duck breasts. I know I will be making it again.
The original recipe for Duck Breasts with Plum Sauce came from the November 2010 issue of the ASDA Free instore magazine. It is a useful dish as the sauce can be made in advance and the duck cooked fairly quickly just before it is needed, initially on the hob before being finished in the oven. The amount of sauce is very generous and is enough for at least 8 people, if not more (though 6-8 if you like a large serving). On both occasions I ended up freezing half of the sauce for later use. I need to remember to halve it on another occasion but meantime I have sauce to use up! The sauce would also be delicious with pork, whether a roast joint, chops or belly strips and also with chicken. It could also be used as a pork marinade in a similar way to that used in the recipe for Aromatic Finger Lickin’ Pork. As one of several dishes, I served this on a bed of shredded lettuce, cucumber sticks and tomato wedges. As a single main dish I would serve it with plain or egg fried rice and a dish of stir fried vegetables.
1tbsp sunflower oil
1 garlic clove, choppedcrushed
1cm/½inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled & grated
350g/12ozs plums, halved & stoned
2tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp white sugar
1tsp Chinese five-spice powder
2tbsp Soy Sauce
1tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6.
2. Remove the duck from the fridge and pat the skin with kitchen paper to remove any moisture before leaving it at room temperature, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
3. Make shallow, parallel cuts in the duck breast skin, being careful not to slice right through the skin to the meat.
4. Heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the garlic and ginger on a low heat for 1 minute.
5. Add the plums, vinegar, sugar, five-spice, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Cover the pan and gently simmer the sauce for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer the sauce for a further 5-10 minutes to reduce.
6. Liquidise to make a thick smooth sauce and return to the pan to keep warm.
7. Meanwhile, gently heat a large frying pan and cook the duck, skin-side down, on a medium heat, for 5 minutes. Thee skin should become golden brown and start to crisp.
8. Drain off the fat and reserve – it is delicious for roasting potatoes. Turn over the duck and cook on the other side for 1 minute more.
9. Transfer the duck into a roasting tin and place in the pre-heated oven, skin-side up, for 9-15 minutes, depending on how pink you like your duck meat.
10. When cooked, leave the meat to rest for 10 minutes. Then slice and place on a serving dish on a bed of lettuce, cucumber and tomato. Alternatively place unsliced onto a plate and serve with Chinese style rice and stir fried vegetables.
11. The sauce should be reheated to serve with the duck, either poured over or alongside in a small serving jug .