Simple Roast Duck with Pancakes

by Edwan S. Photography FriedChillies on Fri, February 13, 2015

Weekend Project: Make roasted duck with pancakes. It looks spectacular on a serving platter so we say it's perfect for your reunion dinner too. Best of all this recipe is quick and easy (for duck) and you'll find yourself making it again and again...

Spectacular and delicious!

Duck is delicious in almost any form. I have fond memories of studying in London, then going out on weekends with friends to a Chinese restaurant. There, we wrapped pieces of juicy duck meat, crispy skin, julienned cucumbers and some spring onion into a tender, crepe-like pancake. Man that was really delicious.

So of course I decided to make my own crispy duck here at FriedChillies. You might notice I didn’t call this recipe ‘crispy’ duck but for you duck novices out there, this is a great starter recipe. This recipe calls for just these ingredients:

A good and easy start

• 1 whole duck
• 2 cups flour
• Salt
• Soy sauce mixed with honey or sugar (for glazing)
• Oil
• Cucumbers
• Spring onion

Getting the duck was simple enough. A lot of recipes called for separating the skin from the meat and all, but I wanted to just do the basics at first. But to facilitate cooking and a smaller size oven, I decided not to roast the duck whole. Instead, I butterflied the duck down the middle. Some people call this ‘spatch-cocking’.

It’s easy: just get a sturdy pair of heavy duty scissors and cut down both sides of the ducks’ ribcage. Basically I’m removing the spine. Then I just cut the duck down the middle and hey presto, two duck halves.

Do not be intimidated by this, just take a deep breath and cut

I've read tips to get a crispy skin by dropping the duck in boiling water, but a short cut I tried with laying them on a wire rack and bathing them in boiling water. did not yield the results I wanted. So let's move on.

A quick drizzle of oil and scattering of salt, then off the duck halves go in the oven. 180 degrees Celsius, fan on and about 1 hour to cook.

Getting nice and toasty in the oven.

That leaves me good time to prepare the pancakes. It’s a simple pancake recipe. In a mixer I chucked in about 2 cups of flour with a pinch of salt and added in the boiling water bit by bit until it formed a smooth, elastic batter.

Looks like this folks

The hot water instantly develops the gluten in the flour and makes it easy to form and roll out. Once the dough is formed, wrap it with cling film and chill it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. After chilling the dough, cut it into small balls. They should be slightly smaller than a ping-pong ball.

Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and roll them as thin as you can without breaking them.

Cook the pancakes in a dry non-stick skillet or pan for about 30 seconds each side.

They should be soft and pliable. Make as many as you’re willing to eat! Once they’re cooked, keep them somewhere warm.

Now back to the duck. Halfway through the cooking process, brush on some soy sauce mixed with a bit of sugar and honey. This should give the duck some gorgeous colour and lacquer so it’s shiny out of the oven.

This also adds flavour to your skin

Back in they go to crisp up

In the meantime, just shred some cucumbers and spring onion. Also, get some hoisin sauce on the side.

Ding! After about an hour, the duck is done.

Take it out and let it rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute in the duck. More juice = more flavour. After the resting period, carve the duck. Remove the meat from the breastbone and slice. Often, the breast meat are carved and served with pancakes while the darker meat are fried with noodles.

Slice them into slivers so you can layer them in the pancakes

Result? Delicious! The good thing about duck is how juicy and fatty it is. After an hour in the oven it was still moist and tender, too. Hoisin sauce was a great accompaniment as it cuts down on the richness, and when combined with the fresh cucumbers and spring onions, it made for one heck of a delicious bite. The pancakes were a success as well. But nope, the skin didn’t get as crispy as I wanted it to be. Well, that just means I have to cook more duck. It’s a dirty job, but hey somebody’s gotta do it, right?

Host your own DIY duck pancake party!