Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Crispy “Peking Duck” Lettuce Cups – Faster, Easier, and Better?

I was going to say that one of these days we’ll actually make a proper Peking duck recipe, but that’s probably not going to happen. That takes multiple steps, several days, and requires a place to hang the ducks to dry. Most modern homes don’t have a duck drying room.

However, using this relatively quick and simple technique, we can achieve something kind of similar, which many people would say, all things considered, is even better. Well, maybe not “many people,” but I would say that. These were really, really good.

Regarding the Chinese five-spice seen herein; mine contained cinnamon, anise seed, cloves, ginger, and fennel; but these ingredients can vary. Believe it or not, despite the name, many contain more than five spices, as things like pepper, nutmeg, orange peel, and cardamom, are also common additions. The good news is, for something like this, any combination of those will work.

If you’re not into lettuce cups for whatever reason, you can also use this technique for serving whole duck legs. The only difference is, don’t cut them up. Since this is something that can be made well ahead of time, it works nicely for large groups. Just simply reheat, and crisp up the skin before serving. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

6 whole duck legs
1 tbsp veg oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
3 green onions, cut into large pieces
5 garlic cloves, halved

For the sauce (everything here is to taste, so please adjust):
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 lemon juiced

Serve in lettuce cups, garnished with cucumber, green onions, and sesame seeds.


Unknown said...

Thank you Chef John!

Ive read many times how to make true Beijing duck, but, hélas, i dont have a duck drying room either! So this is happening next weekend!

If I were to buy a whole frozen duck...same technique?



Stass said...

Chef John, I have been wondering for some time. Are your oven temps with fan on or off?

Angela said...

I just purchased a Peking Duck this weekend and was wondering how to cook it. Thanks Chef John for a great idea.

rotunder said...

Looks perfect for a Monday night dinner, prep and cook it Sunday and then enjoy it Monday :) Lettuce just came into season where I live so this is ideal. Thanks Chef!

ga in nc said...

You had me at "relatively affordable". I've shy'd away from duck for the expense, but I will go look for legs and give this a try. Thanks, Chef John!

Unknown said...

Hi Chef, can you say how many of the lettuce cups you were able to make with this six leg recipe? Thank you.

Glenriven said...

Stass, that is an excellent question. I never turn my fan on, and my cooking times are always longer than those posted. I thought it was just my oven.
Thinking about the creamy corn custard in particular. We have made it a over a dozen times Never had it done on time, and always an undesirable browning on top. But it is still good, scrape off the brown and go!

Nancy said...

I wanted to make this recipe from the start, but now I must after hearing it's like quack! You're so funny! Can't wait to add this to my Food Wishes repertoire!

Chef John said...

Sorry, but my oven doesn't have a fan on/off feature! It's just on or off. :)

Chibby said...

Was that Boston Bibb?

Seduction Meals said...

can't wait to try this recipe. I've always loved this dish but would very much like to make it at home, Thanks for the recipe!

rancholyn said...

I can't wait to try this...AMAZING!!! How many lettuce cups did this make...I hope more than 3....Have you ever served this whole? without lettuce cups as you mentioned?

Cheap Seat said...

Ok. Mr Subliminal had Organic Hemp seeds in the fridge? You put that there to get a rise out of someone.

Glenriven said...

I guess the question would have been better understood if it had been asked thus "Do you use a convection oven, or a traditional oven". When I look at your video's, I lust after your stove. I don't even know what model it is, but I like the layout. Those adjustable racks, are awesome. Mine has 4 grooves, You can put your food here, or here, or here, or here. Period. Yours appear to be slide it up or down to where you want. Groovy, without the grooves:)
My stove has two options for the oven, Bake, and quick bake. Bake is just a traditional oven, like my mother used. Quick bake is convection, where the fan circulates the air. I think Stass was asking, convection or traditional. That's the way I interpreted it.

NoUseForAName said...

Hi there Chef who I've never met!
Does the duck need to cool before adding to the cups? Is there a concern that the cups will wilt?

Joshua Ladd said...

Geez, that looks good. I like that you're making a confit with the duck legs; that way, if you submerge the duck legs in the fat before it hardens, you can conceivably keep the dish for months, pulling one or two out as the fancy strikes. I can't wait to try it!

Oh, question: you mentioned the spices that your 5-Spice powder has in it; do you make your own? Or do you have a preferred brand?

Chef John said...

I would say that one leg would make one or two cups.

Chef John said...

I put mine in hot, but ate right away. If you are going to leave out, then just warm is probably better.

Yakuzalizard said...

Hello Chef...I can not find duck legs but I can find whole duck...will this recipe work with whole duck?

Doyle Worcester said...

Hiya! I was wondering what the best way to store the duck fat you keep creating. I saw this Vietnamese show where they bought duck fat made duck confit, and then put the duck fat back in the cupboard. That is where I keep my ghee... but is that the best place for it???

rancholyn said...

I got major mileage out of this recipe...First of all, this is so incredibly delicious I urge everyone to make it. I had dinner party and served even thought my husband is allergic to duck (he had hot dogs) I served with won ton soup as appetizer with vegetable fried rice. My company loved it...Next dinner, I enjoyed leftovers...Next day I served to my lady friends for lunch. ALL GONE!

Thanks Chef John!

Homeschool Homegrown4 said...

This looks so yummy. I love any dish with lettuce. It is almost duck hunting season, can't wait to make this dish....I love your videos.... cooking is not my favorite thing to do but you inspire me to cook. Thank you so very much. :)