This has definitely become one of my favorite preparations for duck breast. I first tried it in DC over the holidays at my MiL's house, but both of us had difficulties with the prescribed cooking time. I botched it twice, and with the price of boneless duck breasts I was about to give up on the recipe entirely.
I gave it a couple more shots and I've come away from it very pleased. Turns out if you use a duck breast twice the size of the one the recipe calls for it's going to take a little longer to cook.
The five spice combination of star anise, clove, cinnamon, anise seed, and Sichuan peppercorn is the perfect accompaniment to the richness of the duck breast. The sesame noodles are flavored just enough to please, but simply enough to complement the rich, aggressive flavor of the duck.
Everyone's five spice powder varies a little in the ratio of ingredients. I wouldn't know what a premade combination from the store would taste like, I've only ever made my own. My preferred combination is as follows:
- 5 grams star anise
- 5 grams cloves
- 5 grams cinnamon sticks
- 5 grams anise seed
- 2 grams sichuan peppercorns
Blend it all up in a spice/coffee grinder and you're good to go.
I would typically take this time to wax poetic about how amazing it was, but I'm still recovering from a particularly hellish cold that's been plaguing me all week. Since going back to school it's been my worst nightmare to get sick during a semester and lo and behold, it was just as bad as I thought it was going to be.
Nevertheless, I finished all of my assignments on time, managed to stand long enough today to make this delicious dinner and will shortly be turning in to bed at the late, late hour of 7pm.
And, should you be worried about the difficulty of the recipe - I made it while sick, how tough can it be?
This duck is good. Seriously.
Five Spice Duck Breast with Honey-Soy Glaze and Sesame Noodles
adapted from the BBC
Yields 2 servings
2 six-ounce boneless duck breasts, skin on
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon five spice powder
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
6 ounces ramen/chuka soba noodles
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Rinse the duck breasts and pat dry. Score the skin of the duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern to promote rendering. Season skin and meat with kosher salt and pepper. Rub the five spice powder into both sides of the duck breast. Heat a heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until very warm. Place the breasts, skin side down and cook without touching for 3 minutes. Flip the breasts over and cook for a further one minute. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 3 minutes for medium rare, 4 minutes for medium, 5 for well.
Take the duck out of the oven when it reaches 125-130ºF for medium rare and let rest for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce and honey in a small saucepan and boil until reduced by 2/3. Transfer to a heat-proof container and set in the freezer. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add the noodles. Boil for 1 minute, shut off heat and let sit for 2 minutes. Drain. In a large mixing bowl combine noodles, green onions, cilantro, black sesame seeds, sesame oil, and a drizzle of the honey-soy glaze.
Slice the duck breast and serve alongside the noodles with honey-soy glaze on the side.
This is a nutritional estimate, regard it as such.
1 serving = 1 duck breast and 1/2 of noodles
60 g carbohydrate
27 g fat
49 g protein