I have an unusual abundance of free time this weekend and an abundance of food. Want to come over and help with that?
There’s a sexy french triple cream cows’ milk cheese and some crackers.
And I’m going to make duck soup.
My duck soup all starts with a good duck stock. And my duck stock starts with going out to dinner with my parents. See – my father loves Peking Duck. So a couple weeks ago, we went to Yang Ming and got one of the prettiest ducks I’ve ever seen. And, as usual, we asked for the carcass to take home.
Into a pot, add the frozen cooked duck carcass.
Add onion peels (from purple onions, if possible) and leek ends. Add the skins from a roasted garlic head. Add carrot peels and herb stems. (All the stuff I keep in a bag in my freezer for stock until I’m ready) If you have ginger peels, add them.
Add a couple dried hot red peppers* (rinsing the dust off). Add some cloves and maybe a star anise. Add a tablespoon or two of peppercorns (or fewer if you crush them first, but this is how I go through pepper fast enough to keep my supply fresh). If you have it, add some thyme, savory, rosemary, or anything in that family of herbs. Add a bay leaf or two. Add parsley.
One of the best things, which I rarely have, is parsley root with its leaves.
Add water up to cover, but not much over that.
And cook. You may choose to boil or simmer.
Then strain the stock.
You know what I didn’t add to the stock? Salt. Because now that you’re tasting it you can add some (and how much will vary on your tastes and how salty the cooked duck skin ended up being) – and it’s going to need a generous quantity of salt and/or soy sauce (or gluten free tamari).
Then I like adding greens. Chinese spinach is good. I’ve pickled my own mustard greens for this (or you can buy them in a package pickled, but rinse them if you go this route). Kale is delicious.
You can add mushrooms, but I prefer them either cooked before adding or from dried. Fresh boiled mushrooms aren’t tasty to me.
You can adjust the seasoning – more ginger? a splash of vinegar?
Add noodles – I like the buckwheat soba noodles for this soup, but it’s flexible and gluten free noodles are also tasty.
And then right before serving – thinly slice fresh garlic and a fresh hot pepper (I aim for the kind that’s about a foot long, 3/4 inch diameter, and bright red or green), and toast them until just brown. Sprinkle the tops of each bowl right after portioning.
*I am still working on the dried red peppers I recieved as a free sample from Marx Foods. They’re only dusty because I’ve strung them on thread and have them hanging in my kitchen where they’re pretty and reminding me to keep using them.