There is nothing more enjoyable than dedicating a morning, afternoon and evening to a wee duckling. “Le Jeune Canard,” sat nestled in my freezer since Christmas waiting for the perfect moment to waddle onto my stove.
I wanted to get creative in the kitchen and decided to challenge myself to use a small list of ingredients to create a duo of roasted duck stuffed dumplings inspired by Chinese and Italian culinary traditions. My intention was to showcase how easy it is to work with a limited grocery list yet offer up two entirely different products on the plate.
I grabbed the bird out of the arctic and placed her in my fridge to thaw over night. The following morning I gave her a gentle bath in my sink and then plopped her in a pot of boiling water. She bubbled and squeaked over the next hour. Ducks are such a fat rich fowl I’ve always found success in boiling first and then popping in the oven for a final crispy roast in order to avoid a fire. The fat simply rises to the surface of the broth and is easily skimmed off for future use. With a sprinkle of salt and crack of pepper the bird finished in the oven creating a well tanned and crispy skin.
Once she had cooled I pulled up my sleeves and spent the next hour removing each strip of meat from the bone. I plopped the carcass back in the pot with a bit of salt and simmered into a flavourful consume. I then diced up a mountain of meat and separated the fruits of my labour into two small mixing bowls where I created a unique stuffing for Italian Ravioli and Chinese Dumplings. While I preapred these two fillings I had three large sweet potatoes roasting in the oven, muddled with the leftover roast duck drippings (the place smelled like heaven).
chinese five spice
My friend Andrew Archer popped over before dinner to help me prepare each dumpling. I gave Mr. Archer the pleasure of stuffing our ravioli’s (his family is from Italy no less so I obliged). To make life easy, we used prepared won ton wrappers which we pinched shut with the tongs of a small fork.
I prepared the ravioli by quickly boiling in salt water and then transferring to a fry pan sizzling with butter and roasted walnuts. Our dumplings were fried in sesame oil for three minutes and then I poured a few tablespoons of duck broth into the pan and quickly sealed with a lid to allow them to properly muddle amongst the steam. These crispy treats were drizzled with hoisin and sprinkled with scallions.
What a fantastic feast showcasing the potential of a young duck, two cultures collide in the kitchen and the grocery list easily fits onto a stick it note. Who said cooking from scratch was an arduous chore. Not I!