Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting Your Peking Ducks in a Row...by Linda Kozar

On the tail end of a lovely trip to Monterey, my husband and I stayed in San Francisco and wandered through China Town for three days. Took a picture of the ducks (see below) hanging to dry in the window of a restaurant that specialized in Peking Ducks. Inside was a real treat. The cook would hack away at the cured meat with a giant meat cleaver, serving up plates of the delicious duck to customers.

Getting their Peking Ducks in a Row. . .

Apparently the whole process of preparing a Peking Duck takes a full 10 hours (see recipe below from About.com). I can't imagine the majority of the population would be as committed or driven to the tenuous process of getting this special dish to the table.

Of course we do have our Thanksgiving turkey stories. For instance, brining a turkey is quite a lengthy process. You have to soak it overnight (at least) in a brining solution, then bake it. Brined turkeys come out sooooo tender. If you haven't had one, I urge you to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey that way this year.

And hey, I'm getting an idea as I write this...what if the Peking Duck preparation could be applied to turkeys? Can you imagine a Peking Turkey? I can. Ducks have a rather distinct taste. So do turkeys. Why not? Naaaah, I'm just rambling. Turkeys are way too big. Food poisoning comes to mind. 

But some clever chef out there might find a way to make it work. Please post a comment here if you do OR if you have ideas on how to make the whole Peking Turkey idea come to life!


Beijing's most famous dish, Peking Duck is traditionally served with Mandarin pancakes, and green onions for brushing on the hoisin sauce. Note: If you don't live near a cool, windy place another option is to dry the duck in an unheated room with a fan blowing on it.

Learn more about Peking Duck in this feature by guest author Ronghe Yu.

Prep Time: 10 hours, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 11 hours, 20 minutes


  • One 5 to 6 pound duck
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 slice ginger
  • 1 scallion, cut into halves
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • Scallions for garnish


Clean duck. Wipe dry and tie string around neck.
Hang duck in cool, windy place 4 hours.
Fill large wok with water. Bring to boil. Add ginger, scallion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil. Pour in dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly.
Place duck in large strainer above larger bowl. Scoop boiling mixture all over duck for about 10 minutes.
Hang duck again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until thoroughly dry.
Place duck breast side up on a greased rack in oven preheated to 350 degrees. Set a pan filled with 2 inches of water in bottom of oven.
(This is for drippings). Roast 30 minutes.
Turn duck and roast 30 minutes more. Turn breast side up again. Roast 10 minutes more.
Use sharp knife to cut off crispy skin. Serve meat and skin immediately on a prewarmed dish.
The duck is eaten hot with hoisin sauce rolled in Mandarin Crepes. Garnish with scallion flowerets. Serves 4 to 6.

Reprinted with permission from Madame Wong's Long-life Chinese Cookbook

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