Friday, February 13, 2009

Duck Pho

Remember that basket of fresh organic produce that landed on my doorstep on my birthday last year? Well, I have been getting regular baskets since then and have been enjoying the fruits (no pun intended) of supporting a small local organic farm. It’s always lovely to receive a basket brimming with crackly-fresh veggies any day, but knowing that they were all raised without chemicals and artificial doodads, so you are getting nothing but their pure gorgeous veggie-ness...that’s another pleasure all together. Added to the fact that, for me at least, any food tastes so much better, and is appreciated that much more, when you know its provenance...from whence it came!

There is more to this small farm than just sprightly vegetables though. They also have wild ducks and chickens and (from the hens) eggs. So after a while of ordering just veggies, I decided to try the other bounty, natural and free range, that the farm had to offer. The eggs are all different sizes and colors, from the lightest dusky pink to cafe con leche tan, and have deep yellow yolks that are deliciously rich. The wild duck is leaner that the fatty white ducks you buy in the grocery and specialty stores, with a deeper, gamier flavour.

I think a little more practice with duck is in order before I do a full blown duck dish – as I’ve never really cooked duck before (although a kind fellow-blogger friend has lent me an amazing duck cookbook so I'll soon be on my way!). For my first (and so far only) wild duck (let’s call him Benicio) we boiled it with some orange rind, star anise, celery, leek, and soy. Then we made a glaze of soy, honey, Chinese cooking wine, brown sugar, and 5-spice and slathered this on the bird before roasting it (stuffed with more orange rind, a cinnamon stick, and another star anise).

We weren’t planning to boil it first but some stubborn feather nibs (I have no clue what you call the end bits of the feather) made us decide on the hot bath (and a valiant last minute effort to remove the remove the stubborn bits) before roasting. Now I am glad we did. Because then I had duck stock. And now I have duck pho.

Duck Pho
(recipe adapted from Cherry Ripe’s Duck Pho in The Accidental Foodie by Neale Whitaker)

  • 1 quarter Peking duck
  • 750 ml duck stock (I used the stock I got from boiling the duck above, but you can also make stock as I have done here with a Peking Duck)
  • 1 star anise
  • 150 grams rice vermicelli
  • Small bunch of mint
  • Small bunch of saw tooth coriander (culantro)
  • Small bunch holy basil
  • Small bunch cilantro
  • 2 spring onions, slice thinly on the diagonal
  • Lime wedges
  • Vietnamese chilli sauce
  • Fish sauce with fresh birds eye chilli, finely chopped lemongrass, sugar, and lime...shaken not stirred

- Bone the Peking duck quarter and separate the skin from the meat. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces large enough to be easily picked up with chopsticks. Set aside.
- Put the stock and the star anise in a pot and bring to the boil. Keep at a bare simmer until ready to serve. Keep covered to avoid evaporation.
- Prepare the noodles as per package instructions. Set aside.
- De-stalk the herbs. Set aside.
- Scrape off the fat from the duck skin (phooey, I know). Place the skin between two pieces of paper towel and microwave for a few seconds – watch it, you don’t want to burn the skin! Press down on the paper towel to squeeze out oil. Change to fresh paper towel and repeat until skin is crispy. Slice and set aside.
- To serve: Place noodles in a bowl. Top with duck meat and herbs. Ladle hot broth over the top and garnish with duck skin. Serve with chopsticks and a spoon (extra points if you’ve got Chinese-style ones). Serve condiments alongside.
- Serves 2.

This is an excellent way to make use of duck stock and/or leftover Peking duck! Between the flavourful broth and the bright green assertiveness of the herbs, it makes for a satisfying meal with a lot of personality. And slurping noodles from a bowl with chopsticks always puts a smile on my face :) Cherry Ripe (oh name envy!) also uses bean sprouts, Vietnamese mint, and butter lettuce in the pho...but I didn’t have them. She also uses fried shallots and peanuts to top and adds prawn crackers among the condiments. I didn’t have those either. No matter, this was a bowl full of unapologetic flavour and we enjoyed every single slurp! A bonus: prepping the duck skin as above is an easy and effective way of reviving it!

Happy weekend, and an advanced happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you all do something you love on the day that celebrates love :) Yes, celebrating your love for bacon or your love for reading comic books in the can counts in my book – just light a candle and be celebratory about it ;) We will be lazy and eat in – something we love doing (especially during Valentine’s when restaurants are packed)! And we’ll be using part of today’s veggie basket while we are at it! :)


eleonora said...

Your blog is super. So are your photographies. They make me hungry. I have spent a nice moment when seeing them. Thanks a lot.

Savvy said...

Great site! I gave you a Lemonade award on my blog:

Fearless Kitchen said...

Yum. I love pho. I love duck. I've never had them together before...

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love duck, so I would very much enjoy your wonderful Pho! Yummy!



[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Duck pho looks fabulous! Yummy, yummy, yummy.

Manggy said...

Happy Valentine's Day Joey! May the air be cool enough to cuddle up with the one you love and a bowl of deelicious duck pho :)
As for me? Just like any other day, I guess :P

ChichaJo said...

Hi Eleonora! Thank you for visiting and leaving a nice comment :) Glad you enjoyed the post! :)

Hi Savvy! Thanks :)

Hi Fearless Kitchen! It's yummy!

Hi Rosa! I'm sure you would :)

Hi JS! Thank you! And it's quite easy to make...almost just a matter of assembling!

Hi Manggy! Happy Valentines to you as well! It is a bit cooler so we are's begun to drizzle a bit...cozy weather :)

Katrina said...

I was with my friend who first told me about Shino, and I told her about Benicio's stubbles. She said that Shino had mentioned to her that the person who usually dresses the ducks was away. No wonder!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Joey that is such an incredible photo, most beautiful. Your duck pho looks and sounds divine!

Anonymous said...

How uncanny. I cooked my first duck last night, and it also came from Shino. It was more "explosive" though as I roasted it in a glass pyrex and I guess the fat and the heat was just too much? The pyrex literally exploded in the oven. But the duck did taste great (a l'orange) although it was tougher than usual. Will attempt to do a hainanese chicken with his oranic chicken now.


Ash said...

Oh wow! this look's delicious! love the pic!

veron said...

2 magic and are killing me...

Gattina said...

I beg you had a splendid V day!
I am with you to support local/neighborhood farm business... a side note, there's a neighborhood store here just selling eggs... I haven't seen it for ages.
Last but not least, this photo is one of my favorite, can feel the flavor really pop out!

Watergirl said...

Ah Benicio, how stalwart a duck you were! Your stubble was our waterloo, but you gave good pho (sorry, it doesn't rhyme right :p)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Katrina! I also gave Shino feedback about it...which he too very graciously as he always does :) No wonder! We got his chicken (which will be part of a post soon) on Friday which was very neatly dressed :)

Hi Tanna! Thank you! It was really yummy! You can’t go wrong with good and honest flavours :)

Hi Annette! Oh my goodness! What a nice coincidence! Although not nice that your pyrex know, that isn’t the first time I heard about that happening though! Yes, these ducks are tougher (after using their muscles more I guess) and I think need longer, gentler cooking. Another coincidence – we just cooked his chicken!

Hi Ash! Thanks! We really enjoyed this dish :)

Hi Veron! That’s what I thought too when I first saw this recipe!

Hi Gattina! We did :) I don’t mind paying a bit more knowing that I’m closer to my produce and ingredients and that they are well cared for :)

Hi WG! I love your little ode to Benicio!!!

Midge said...

Just the words duck pho evoke utterly lip-smacking delights. Duck = savory decadence and pho = healthy eating. Put them together and they're sensational!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Midge! I agree...such an amazing combination! I am so happy I came across this recipe :)

Kevin said...

I like the sound of a duck pho! It looks nice and fresh and good!

ice tea: sugar high said...

yummm.. duck noodle soup. My mouth is watering now..

Love your blog, btw

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kevin! When I saw this recipe I knew it would be a good combination...I love it!

Hi Ice Tea Sugar High! Thank you! :)

gourmandtales said...

yum yum yum.. i wanted to grab the bowl of my computer screen

ChichaJo said...

Hello Gourmandtales! This was really delicious and so tasty!

Megan said...

Hi there

Would it be possible to get information and contact details on how to order your organic produce and eggs?

Thanks very much.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Megan! Please email me (my email is on the sidebar) for the details! Thanks! :)

Rumela said...

I was made this duck pho for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! I was a little nervous it wouldn't have enough depth of flavor, but it turned out scrumptious. even my meat-loving hubby was loved eating long as he can use his fingers. thank you for shearing your post.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Rumela! So glad you enjoyed it!

Arthur Supsiri said...

I tried your recipe tonight, and it is absolutely delicious.

I wouldn't change a thing...