Duck, Duck, Duck…Peking
Last year I made a purchase which I consider to be the best investment my kitchen has seen: a slow cooker. This slow cooker wasn’t just any purchase, it was actually a birthday present for the BF. I’m smart like that.
I grew up eating a lot of meals from a crock pot. They weren’t incredibly creative meals, you know, the typical stew and vegetable type of dishes. This led me to be a little skeptical of what can be made from a slow cooker, but the BF had mentioned it recently so I figured it was worth a shot.
Over the months we’ve Deej has made some pretty impressive meals in that slow cooker: chicken korma, beef wellington and bolognese, to name a few. The best part being that these dishes are incredibly easy and there are always leftovers.
Being the real chef in the relationship, I’ve taken back the reins of the slow cooker. I’ve even recently joined a meat CSA. Yes, that’s right. A box full of meat.
A farmer, from the depths of PA, delivers meat frozen-fresh from his farm. I got a little carried away on my first purchase, ordering 19lbs of meat. Eeek.
One of the food items I ordered was duck breast. Not having cooked duck before, I wasn’t sure what to do. But after a little research it seemed that Peking style was the safest dish to try.
Slow Cooked Peking Duck
First, I pulled back the duck skin. It’s a lot tighter than a turkey. It took me about ten LONG minutes to create room between the meat and skin. Then I rinsed the duck and dipped it in a pot of boiled water mixed with about 1/4 cup of honey. This helped the skin become crisp while in the cooker.
After researching the rub, the only consistent ingredient I found was Chinese five spice. I used equal parts cinnamon, garlic and fresh ginger with a little s&p. There are so many combinations of rubs out there that creating your own seems to be the norm. I rubbed the mix over and under the skin.
Now the actual cooking part: Inside the slow cooker, place a bunch of scallions on the rack, then lay the duck over the scallions, then drizzle a little soy sauce over the top. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5-6hrs. I cooked it a little longer than 5hrs for a 3lb bird. Be sure not to remove the lid during cooking.
Once the duck was cooked I pulled the meat off and shredded it, while drizzling the duck fat from the cooker. This helped keep it moist while I made the pancakes. An interesting tidbit, a 3lb bird created over 2 cups of fat and juices with barely 2 oz of meat.
To make the wrap: lightly spread the hoisin sauce (preferably warm) on the pancake, sprinkle a few scallions, then lay the duck meat over the pancake and wrap.
I usually find duck to be dry, but slow cooked duck was, surprisingly, tender. Tender with the addition of the fat drippings, that is. The skin was crisp and the fruity hoisin creates an incredibly tasty wrap. I only wish there was more meat from the bird. Too much work for such little reward.
The thought of waiting 6 hours for 2oz of food makes me cry a little
that is upsetting that it produces so little food…but if you wanted more, how much duck could you fit in a slow cooker? Would it be easy enough to throw in a few duck breasts so that you could make a whole bunch of this stuff?
Did you mean 2lbs of food? That would make a lot more sense.
@BS- it was a duck breast that I used, I don’t think I’ve ever seen duck breast the way we see chicken breast, do they exist?
@Sarah- From a 3lb duck breast, I got roughly 2oz of meat, and over 2 cups of fat/juices. I did make about 8 small pancakes out of it, which was a nice light dinner.
I work for a duck company located in Indiana. We supply boneless Pekin duck breasts to restaurants and grocery stores across the US. A single boneless Pekin duck breast can weigh from 4 oz to 8 oz. I have never seen the cut of meat you showed in your photo. No wonder you had so much fat. (Pekin duck is a breed, Peking duck is a method of cooking.)
Ducks aren’t just waterproof turkeys or chickens. They are waterfowl, so their skin is different. All the fat on a duck is located right under the skin, which is why it’s important to render the fat off. Plus, duck is a red meat, unlike other poultry.
By the way, that duck fat you rendered out is liquid gold! It goes for a high price and is excellent for sauteing potatoes, vegetables and even eggs.
Interesting. I do find some ducks seem to be all fat and virtually no meat, while others are much meatier. Might have something to do with the breed.
I make my “beijing”-style duck on the bbq with indirect heat, but I’ll give the slow cooker a try.
We love our slow cooker and use it often for many different dishes. Have never tried cooking duck although like eating it.
Your post is very informative and interesting. Nice photos.
Thanks for sharing.
Sorry but I don’t understand how your BF made a beef wellington in a slow cooker. Considering it is covered in pastry perhaps an oven would be the right move?