No apologies for taking you back to Vietnam this post, the fresh vibrant and light punchy flavours seem to work during the hot and steamy weather we are experiencing at the moment. If you have been following, and trying the far eastern posts you should have most of the ingredients for this recipe to hand.
On the cookery course I attended in France recently we made Crepe Suzette, which was delicious, we also had, and did lots with Duck. I remember Duck a l’orange in the 70’s and thought that there must be a way to combine the memories into something a bit more vibrant. In Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey there is a recipe similar to this, but this is my interpretation of Vietnamese flavours with some decent heat, its just great!
You will need the following ingredients to make this sing for 2 people!
- 5 Tbls Fish Sauce
- 1 Tbls Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 Limes (Juiced)
- 2 Tbls Water
- 2 Tbls Palm Sugar
- 1 – 2 Red Chilli (finely sliced)
- 1 Clove Garlic (finely minced)
- 4 – 5 Drops Sesame Oil
- 4 Duck Legs
- 1 Litre Orange Juice
- 3 Cloves garlic
- 4 Red Thai Chilli’s (whole)
- 1 Red Thai Chilli’s (finely sliced)
- 2 Shallots (finely sliced)
- 1 Lemongrass Stalk (roughly chopped)
- 4 Star Anise
- 4cm Length Cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp Tamarind
- 1 Tsp Shrimp paste
- 1 1/2 Inches Galangal (sliced)
- 10 Black Peppercorns
- 4 Spring Onions (roughly sliced)
- Maldon Sea Salt for seasoning
- 1 Papaya (sknned and cut into 1 c.m. cubed)
- 2 Spring Onions, Sliced
- 1 Red pepper (Julienned)
- 1 Handful Green Beans (blanched and cut into 1 inch lengths)
- 1 Handful Bean Sprouts
- 1 Handful Cashew Nuts (Freshly Toasted & Salted)
- 5 – 10 Mint Leaves (Chiffonade)
- 5 – 10 Holy Basil Leaves (Chiffonade)
- Bunch Coriander, chopped
First thing to do is render some of the fat of the Duck Legs, take a Dutch Oven and place on a COLD hob, season the Duck and place in the pan, turning the heat to medium. This stage takes about 15 – 20 minutes depending on their size. Once you have done one side, repeat and you should have a reasonable amount of fat in the pan. Put the legs to one side and drain most of the fat off to use for roasties or whatever takes your fancy! Watch the Duck as mine had a tendency to stick to the pan. Stick your oven on about 150 degrees (fan) 160 deg (convection).
Next, take all the spices for the braising liquor and fry in the remaining Duck fat until they release their aroma, then add the Orange Juice and shrimp paste and then the Duck Legs, making sure they are covered in the liquor. The whole lot goes covered, in the oven for about 1.5 – 2.0 hours.
As with many of the recent posts, a lot of the tasks in hand are more assembly than cooking, in this case, whilst the Duck is slowly braising you can prepare some of the other ingredients.
For the salad there are a few things to do, roast the Cashews in a frying pan, and lightly season with Maldon Sea Salt whilst they are still hot. Blanch the Green Beans in boiling water for 3 -4 minutes (removing the squeaky nature!), and refresh in cold water. Make the dressing, I usually start with the Fish Sauce and Water, add the Palm Sugar and stick in the microwave oven on full for 30 seconds or so. This helps the Palm Sugar dissolve. Grate in the Garlic and add the Lime Juice, and chopped Thai Chilli. The Sesame Oil is very strong so only use a few drops and then taste, it should be a background flavor.
We are nearly done. next stage is to remove the Duck Legs carefully from the pan, and reduce the remaining sauce until ‘gloopy’ and thick enough to stick to, and coat the back of a spoon. Its worth passing the sauce through a sieve first, but retain the pieces of Spring Onion as they can go onto the dish with the sauce. The Salad can be prepared whilst the sauce is reducing, but don’t add the dressing until the last minute. When the sauce has thickened pour boiling water over the noodles as per the instructions (mine needed 3 minutes) to cook.
Drain your Noodles and place them on the plate, lay the Duck legs on top and add the sauce with cooked Spring Onion, its deep, rich and comforting (with some heat!). The Salad adds a cold, but HOT element from a spicing perspective, the Cashews add crunch and there is some bitter as well so back to the old Yin Yang so beloved of Vietnam.
This is a cracking dish, the Duck is meltingly soft, the Orange sauce, Tangy, Spicy and inviting, the contrast with the Salad which is even hotter, but with Sweet elements from the Papaya with Salt and crunch from the Cashew Nuts.
I may drift around the world next time and see what I can find that’s new and different to cook.
Till next time……………………….L8ers…………….