When done right, roasted Peking duck is a thing of beauty: shiny, golden crispy skin and succulent, wonderfully fatty meat served with an array of thinly sliced vegetables and warm thin pancakes or steamed buns.
I recently endeavored to recreate at home, but the three-day process didn’t yield anything close to the beautiful bird served at my favorite local Chinese restaurant. Overall, it was fine, but certainly not worth three days of my time, especially when I can have it prepared perfectly at the restaurant in just 30 minutes.
The most disappointing part was the duck breast, which was woefully overcooked and chewy. This led me to wonder if the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker could help. My goal: perfectly cooked duck breast with crunchy skin and deep flavor, all in just a few hours.Even when not cooking a whole duck, getting the duck breast correctly cooked throughout while crisping the skin to a crisp golden brown can be challenging. Of course, sous vide makes it virtually foolproof.
To ensure crispy skin, we pre-seared the duck breast before the bath to render some of the fat and make the second finishing sear more efficient. To infuse flavor, we cooked the duck with a sweet-sour-aromatic marinade of rice wine, five spice, ginger, garlic, orange, coriander, Sriracha, and hoisin. After two hours at 135°F (we prefer our duck on the north side of medium rare), we finished the skin at medium-high heat in a skillet. The result was perfectly pink duck meat throughout and dark golden brown crispy skin.
Not wanting to waste any of the aromatic cooking marinade, we reduced it with a bit of chicken stock and butter, creating a rich, aromatic sauce for serving. Thinly sliced cucumber, scallion, carrot, cilantro, and fresh Chinese pancakes provide freshness and brightness to complement the unctuous duck breast.
What you’ll need:
- 4 duck breasts, fat cap scored with crosshatch
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- ½ teaspoon five spice powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh orange zest
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Directions:1. Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision® Cooker to 135°F (57°C). 2. Whisk together the hoisin sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, Sriracha, five spice, coriander, sesame oil, and orange zest. 3. Season the duck breasts with salt and sear over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet until medium golden brown, about five minutes. 4. Remove from the heat and seal with sauce in a vacuum or Ziploc plastic bag. Cook for 2 hours.
Finishing Steps1. Remove duck breasts from the sauce, pat dry, and set aside. Pour cooking liquid into large saucepan, add chicken stock, and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. 2. In a large cast-iron skillet, sear duck breasts over medium-high heat until skin is golden brown and crispy, about two minutes. 3. Slice duck breasts and serve with sauce.
Be sure to check out the full recipe for my sous vide crispy Chinese duck breast, and give me a follow on Instagram: @feedmecreative. After you whip up all these totally tasty recipes available on the Anova Recipes Site and the Anova App, make sure to tag them with #anovafoodnerd to show off your work to the whole food nerd family. Happy cooking!