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Allspice Duck with Braised Bok Choy


Duck is a popular banquet dish at Asian meals. Slow cooking duck breasts with sweet and savory spices beautifully complements their rich flavor and texture. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Ingredients:


  • 3 Tbs. canola oil  
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt  
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
  • 4 lb. boneless duck breasts, trimmed of excess skin and fat 
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated 
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. ground allspice 
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches long 
  • 1 star anise, broken into pieces 
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 3 Tbs. hoisin sauce 
  • 6 baby bok choy, about 2 lb. total, each cut lengthwise into quarters 

Directions:

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. In a small bowl, stir together the salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the duck breasts. Place the duck, skin side down, in the pan and cook, turning once, until well browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the duck to a plate.

Pour off all but a thin coating of fat in the pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, allspice, cinnamon and star anise and sauté until the onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Stir in the brown sugar, soy sauce and hoisin sauce and bring to a boil.

Stovetop method: Transfer the duck breasts to a large Dutch oven. Pour the broth mixture over the duck. Partially cover the pot and cook over very low heat for 1 hour. Uncover and use a large, shallow spoon or a ladle to skim as much fat as possible from the surface. Arrange the bok choy around the duck breasts, pushing it slightly into the cooking liquid. Partially cover the pot and cook until the duck is very tender and the sauce is thick, about 30 minutes more.

Slow-cooker method: Transfer the duck breasts to a slow cooker. Pour the broth mixture over the duck. Cover and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the duck is very tender and the sauce is thick, 2 hours on high or 4 1/2 hours on low. Uncover and use a large, shallow spoon or a ladle to skim as much fat as possible from the surface. Arrange the bok choy around the duck breasts, pushing it slightly into the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the duck is very tender and the sauce is thick, about 30 minutes more.

Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board and slice the duck on the diagonal. Arrange the slices on warmed plates with the bok choy. Spoon any remaining sauce on top and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking, by Melanie Barnard, Charles Pierce & Denis Kelly (Oxmoor House, 2008).