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Goose and Duck: Culture and Cookery

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Poultry

Fall Volume: 2018 Issue: 25(3) pages: 12 to 16


A favorite of artists, culinary or colorists, geese and ducks are exceptionally popular in China for painting or partaking of, particularly at wedding feasts. They are popular because geese are devoted lovers and ducks almost always found in pairs and/or served that way at weddings. In addition, before this event, many a man will send his intended a goose as a betrothal gift telling her about his love and devotion. One ancient volume, Wedding Rites for Scholars, is a good place to read about wedding day intentions. An intended can give a pair of ducks to his upcoming bride before or order them for their wedding to show how they always do need to stay together. In China, ducks are caged on boats and released in mornings to feed on snails and weeds in nearby rice paddies. They show fealty always returning by nightfall. Peking ducks are white feathered, Nanjing ones are gray, brown, or speckled. Both can be force-fed before slaughter, fattening them up to improve taste and texture for thick layers of fat beneath their skins. This keeps them fresh, moist and marvelous, their bodies ready for offspring. Peking ducks are roasted and lovely while Nanjing ones are pressed, salty, and special.

Duck and/or goose feathers are wonderful for bedding and fine for clothing. Their flesh is adored for food be they tongues, blood, brains, wings, feet, livers, kidneys, or giblets. Any or all are appreciated by sophisticated appetites, loved and luscious. At fancy weddings when well-made, they are savored, and spoken about often thereafter.

A pair of ducks or geese on a platter when prepared and presented, make a statement as do pigeon eggs or other symbolic look-alike foods. They can wish bride and groom long loving lives, loads of money, many children, and considerable happiness.

Every region of China has duck and goose specialties that can be served at dinners in restaurants. They should be sought out at dinner tables, even used as excellent centerpieces. Expert chefs make great ones steamed, smoked, roasted, deep-fried, or in other ways. These became common during Tang Dynasty times (618 - 907 CE), and remained so ever since. If you have never tried them, you surely should.

Some regions of China are known for more than one way to prepare either of these birds. For example, if you live in or go to Shanghai, there are great ones steamed first, then smoked on green tea leaves. Never had them this way? You really should! In Beijing the specialty is duck Peking style. It is marinated first, then roasted, and finally carved table-side by an experienced chef. See illustration below.

Diners delight in the Peking Duck’s super-crisp skin served in a dough ready to be lathered with hoisin sauce and sprinkled with slivers of scallion, leek, or another vegetable or two. They roll and eat theirs enjoying its succulence meat wrapped or not, and fine restaurants use the bones to make a souper soup. Sometimes we bring some or all bones home and enjoy crunching and lunching on them the next day.

There are so many ways to prepare goose or duck, indoors or out, whole or in parts. Some of them follow on pages 13 - 16.

Boiled, Then Roasted Goose
Ingredients:

1 seven to nine-pound goose, neck and head attached, innards discarded, then boil the bird for five minutes, then drained and hung from the neck for ten hours in a cool place
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 cup grated coconut
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon salt and ground white pepper
1 egg, beaten

Preparation:

1. Before boiling the goose, prick its skin in several dozen places, and hang it over a pan.
2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F, center a two-inch deep heat-proof pan or dish to catch all drippings, and keep it half-filled with water. Before putting the bird in the oven, cover its head and loosely cover its legs with aluminum foil, then hang it from both neck and tail ends horizontally, its breast side down in the middle of the oven.
3. Add water as needed and do discard melted fat. Then turn it breast side down, prick the skin on all sides, and roast it pouring out any fat, as needed.
4. Mix the coconut and the flour, add salt and pepper, and brush the goose with the egg, then the flour mixture, and baste it every five to ten minutes for another half an hour, then remove it to a cutting board. Chop the goose into two- to three-inch serving pieces, put them on a pre-heated platter, and serve.
Note: One can make a duck using this method. Cut it in half first, then roast it for half the time.

Red-Spiced Goose
Ingredients:

1 cleaned 7 to 9 pound goose
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 slices smashed fresh ginger
1 teaspoon crushed white peppercorns
3-inch cinnamon stick, crushed
5 star anise, coarsely crushed
5 whole 1 head garlic, smashed
5 Tablespoons red rice
10 scallions, each cut in four
3 red chili peppers, cut in half and seeded
10 red dates, pits discarded
5 whole cloves
½ cup thin soy sauce
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 Tablespoon sesame oil

Preparation:

1. Put the goose in boiling water and simmer it for ten minutes, half of each end in a pot of the boiling water, if need be. Dry the goose with paper towels inside and out.
2. Rub salt and ground black pepper in the cavity, then set the bird aside for fifteen minutes.
3. Mix ginger, crushed white peppercorns, crushed stick cinnamon, crushed garlic, red rice, scallions, red chilies, and red dates in two cups of water and bring this to the boil, and simmer each end of the goose for ten minutes, then remove it from the liquid and dry it again with paper towels inside and out.
4. Now, put the bird on a rack on a roasting pan in a 400 degree F oven for one and a half hours, then strain the liquid reserving the solids for another recipe.
5. Brush the bird with a mixture of thin soy sauce, sugar, salt, and sesame oil and let it cool for half an hour.
6. Then chop it into two- to three-inch pieces, and put them on a platter and serve.
Note: If using this method to make a duck, only roast it for half the time.

Home Made Peking Duck
Ingredients:

1 rinsed dried 5 or 6 pound Peking duck, its head left on
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
3 Tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
5 slices fresh ginger, each one smashed
10 to 20 scallion brushes
1 cucumber, seeded, cut into three-inch sticks
2 cups all-purpose four
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
10 to 20 Mandarin pancakes
½ cup Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Preparation:

1.Tie a rope or ribbon around the neck of a duck and hang it in a cool dry airy place for more than twelve hours. Put a pan under it to catch any drippings.
2. Mix and heat soy sauce, honey, dry sherry or rice wine, and mashed fresh ginger, bringing this mixture to just below the boiling point. With Hoisin sauce, brush the bird, inside and out several times.
3. Make scallion brushes and set them and cucumber sticks in ice water for a few hours. After they curl, drain them and keep them chilled
4. Make pancakes mixing the flour with half a cup of boiling water. Stir with a wooden spoon, then cool this mixture.
5. Knead this dough on a floured board until smooth, then cover it with a cloth and let it rest for half an hour.
6. Now cut it into eight to ten pieces, and roll each one into a five-inch circle. Brush one side of each one and stack them, oil side down. If not using now, wrap the pile with plastic wrap and cover it with a cloth.
7. Now, cut the head but not the neck off the bird, and cover the legs with foil, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put a large heat-proof two-inch deep pan the bird, the bird itself on a wire rack above the pan. Fill the pan with an inch of water, and put it and the bird in the oven. We like to attach two ‘S’ hooks, one at each end of the bird, and hang it above the water, breast side down. Turn it carefully in the middle of the two hour baking time. Carefully discard the fat and other liquid in the pan.
8. Put the bird on a cutting board, and with a cleaver or shears cut the skin and meat into two-inch pieces, and serve it on a pre-heated platter. If desired, mix some hoisin sauce wit a few tablespoons of cold tea and use as a dipping sauce or use the scallion brushes to spread some on the skin-side of the bird.

Stuffed Goose
Ingredients:

1 cup glutinous rice, soaked overnight in three cups of hot water, then drain it
1 goose, seven to nine pounds
3 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 Tablespoons Plum brandy
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, roasted and crushed
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons chicken stock
½ cup chopped water chestnuts
5 shiitake mushrooms, discard stems then diced
½ cup peeled chestnuts, smashed
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3 Tablespoons Chinese smoked ham
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

1. Soak the rice with hot water for two or three hours, discard the water, and drain the rice.
2. Dry the goose with paper towels inside and out, and sew the open end of the neck closed after filling it with a mix of the soy sauce, brandy, sesame oil, salt, and Sichuan peppercorns. Cover the bird with plastic wrap and put it in a large roasting pan, and refrigerate it for two or more hours. Then stuff a mixture of the soaked rice, corn oil, shallots, mushroom pieces, chicken stock, chestnuts, and ground pepper and tie this mixture inside the goose.
3. Next, steam the goose for three hours on a rack over two inches of water in a heat-proof roasting pan.
4. When done, remove the stuffing to a pre-heated serving bowl.
5. Cut or chop the goose into three-inch pieces and put them on pre-heated platter. Serve the bird; and put any drippings in a small bowl, serving that with it.

Duck in Black Bean Sauce
Ingredients:

1 quarter to one a half of a goose, innards discarded, the giblets set aside for another use
2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons maltose
1 teaspoon tabasco
1 Tablespoon potato starch
2 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine

Preparation:

1. Loosen skin from the meat before putting the goose on a rack, breast side up, above boiling water.
2. Cover the goose with foil and seal the edges around the roasting pan. Bake it in a 400 degree F oven for one hour, then take it out of the oven and cool it covered.
3. When cool, strain the pan juices set them aside covered in a bowl, and cover and refrigerate the goose. Discard congealed fat.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the maltose and tabasco sauce with one-quarter cup cool water and bake and baste the bird for one hour breast side down. Then turn breast side up, and baste it every half an hour for ninety minutes. Then remove the bird from the oven and let it rest half an hour.
5. Now, pour all juices into a small pan, discarding any fat, and mix potato starch with the remaining drippings, bring this to the boil, and simmer stirring until thick.
6. Cut or chop the goose into two- or three-inch pieces and put them on a platter. Pour the starch mixture over the bird, and serve.

Duck in Black Bean Sauce
Ingredients:

1 quarter to one a half of a goose, innards discarded, the giblets set aside for another use
2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons maltose
1 teaspoon tabasco
1 Tablespoon potato starch
2 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine

Preparation:

1. Loosen skin from the meat before putting the goose on a rack, breast side up, above boiling water.
2. Cover the goose with foil and seal the edges around the roasting pan. Bake it in a 400 degree F oven for one hour, then take it out of the oven and cool it covered.
3. When cool, strain the pan juices set them aside covered in a bowl, and cover and refrigerate the goose. Discard congealed fat.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the maltose and tabasco sauce with one-quarter cup cool water and bake and baste the bird for one hour breast side down. Then turn breast side up, and baste it every half an hour for ninety minutes. Then remove the bird from the oven and let it rest half an hour.
5. Now, pour all juices into a small pan, discarding any fat, and mix potato starch with the remaining drippings, bring this to the boil, and simmer stirring until thick.
6. Cut or chop the goose into two- or three-inch pieces and put them on a platter. Pour the starch mixture over the bird, and serve.

Abalone and Duck Sandwiches
Ingredients:

1 cooked duck breast or half a cooked goose breast, minced
10 canned water chestnuts, minced
3 scallion white parts, minced
3 slices fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pound can of abalone, drained
2 Tablespoons frozen green peas
½ cup chicken or duck broth
2 teaspoons rendered duck fat
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Preparation:

1. Mix the minced bird with the water chestnuts, scallion white parts, and ginger, then stir in the rice wine, salt, and sesame oil, and mix well.
2. Cut the abalone into half-inch thick slices and cover half of them with the poultry paste, then put another piece of abalone and gently press this together. Put these sliced sandwich items on a heat-proof plate and into a steamer basket.
3. Steam them covered over boiling water for twenty minutes, remove, cut each in half, and serve them on a pre-heated plate or platter.
4. Mix stock, rendered fat, rice wine, and cornstarch, stir bringing this to the boil until thick, and pour over the abalone sandwiches, and serve.

Poultry in Pepper Sauce
Ingredients:

1 duck or half of the meat from a cooked goose breast, cut in small cubes
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce
1 clove peeled minced garlic clove
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
½ of one red and one green pepper, seeds removed and discarded, the peppers cut in half-inch cubes
1 teaspoon cornstarch or water chestnut flour
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Preparation:

1.Mix poultry cubes with salt, pepper, cornstarch, thin soy sauce, and garlic and let this rest for twenty minutes, then drain it and discard its liquid.
2. Heat a wok or fry pan, add the oil and fry the poultry cubes for one minute if they are cooked, for two minutes if they are raw. Then add the pepper pieces and stir-fry for another one minute before adding the sesame oil premixed with cornstarch. Stir-fry this for one minute, then put it on a pre-heated plate, and serve.

Duck and Rice in Lotus Leaf
Ingredients:

3 lotus leaves
1 duck or half goose breast, cut into thin strips, then coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup glutinous rice, soaked for one hour
½ cup long-grain rice
1 star anise
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine
½ teaspoon salt
1 small scallion, minced
2 slices fresh ginger, minced
1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce

Preparation:

1. Blanch the lotus leaves for two minutes or until almost soft, cut each one in four pieces, discarding their thick veins.
2. Grind both soaked drained rices with the star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns, then mix these with chopped duck or goose strips, sesame oil, rice wine, salt, scallion pieces, and minced ginger, and set this aside.
3. Put two tablespoons of the rice mixture on one end of a lotus leaf piece, and roll as one would an egg roll. Set them seam side down on a heat-proof plate in a steamer basket and steam them for one hour. Then remove and serve them.

Poultry-Filled Bean Curd Rolls
Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
1 stalk celery, shredded
3 soaked shredded shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
3 sprigs cilantro, minced
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 bean curd sheets soaked, dry edges discarded
1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce
½ cup duck or goose meat, minced
2 Tablespoons Chinese black tea leaves
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup cooked rice

Preparation:

1. Heat oil in a wok or fry pan, and stir-fry carrot and celery shreds for one minute, then add the shiitake mushroom pieces and the cilantro, and stir-fry for two minutes more before adding the sugar and soy sauce.
2. Now stir the cornstarch in and set this aside to cool.
3. Wipe both sides of each bean curd sheet with the thin soy sauce and cut each one in half. Then fill them with several tablespoons of the mushroom mixture and add some minced poultry meat, then roll each one closing in the ends then rolling them, egg roll style. Put them seamside down on a heat-proof plate set in a steamer basket and steam them over boiling water for five minutes, then remove them and let them cool.
3. Take a piece of aluminum foil, cut it into pieces six inches square. Put tea leaves, brown sugar, and the rice on this and transfer it to the bottom of a dry wok or fry pan. Heat until it starts to smoke, then put a wire rack on this and put the bean curd rolls on that rack.
4. Cover for eight minutes, remove and cut each one in half on an angle.
5. Stand on their ends, and serve.

Fragrant Crispy Duck Breast
Ingredients:

1 to 1 ½ pounds skin on duck breasts
3 Tablespoon Sichuan Pepper Salt
2 Tablespoons Shao Xing wine (made by toasting two tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns with a teaspoon of white pepper powder, and a tablespoon of sea or kosher salt, and grinding them)
1/4 cup cornstarch, for dredging
1/4 cup flour, for dredging
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
Vegetable oil, for frying

Preparation:

1. Rinse duck breasts, and pat them dry with paper towels, then score them with crisscross pattern, and rub two teaspoons of pepper-salt into the flesh, and place it in a zip-lock bag and let it brine overnight.
2. Place duck in a deep dish over boiling water leaving one inch of space surrounding the plate they are in, and steam for forty-five minutes, then remove the duck pieces to a large plate.
3. In medium bowl, combine cornstarch and the flour. Drizzle soy sauce on flesh-side of the breasts, then dredge them in the flour mixture, then line a plate with several layers of paper towels, and set this aside.
4. In a wok, heat enough oil to 350 degrees F and carefully add the duck breasts and fry them for three to five minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy. Then transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain before slicing them into half-inch pieces. Arrange them on serving plate. Serve the rest of the pepper-salt on the side.

                                                                                                                                                       
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