8duck Marylands2 tbspvegetable oil8long red chillies, 4 cut into julienne, seeds and ends reserved separately1head of garlic, halved6spring onions, white part only, cut into julienne, green trimmings reserved30 gm(6cm piece) ginger, cut into julienne, peelings reserved400 mlmandarin juice (about 1kg mandarins), plus 4 unpeeled mandarins, halved100 mlfish sauce50 gmrock sugar, crushed (see note)8star anise2lemongrass stalks, coarsely chopped1piece cassia bark1½ cups(loosely packed) holy basil, leaves picked, stems reserved separately 200 gmbean sprouts100 gmcooked bamboo shoots (see note)To serve:Vietnamese baguette (optional) or steamed fragrant rice
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add duck in batches, skin-side down, then add half the oil and cook until duck is golden and fat renders (3-4 minutes on each side; be careful as hot fat will spit). Set aside.
Preheat oven to 200C. Scatter 4 whole chillies, reserved seeds and ends, garlic, spring onion trimmings and ginger peelings in a roasting pan large enough to fit duck snugly in a single layer, then top with duck, skin-side up. Add mandarin juice, fish sauce, rock sugar, star anise, lemongrass, cassia and basil stems. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and roast, basting occasionally, until duck is caramelised (40 minutes-1 hour). Add mandarin halves, baste and return to oven until duck meat is tender and duck skin is golden (30-40 minutes). Remove duck from liquid, set aside and keep warm. Strain liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan, skim fat, then reduce over medium-high heat to a syrupy sauce (about 400ml; 4-8 minutes).
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a wok over high heat, stir-fry bean sprouts and bamboo shoots until tender (2-4 minutes). Divide among 4 warmed bowls, add 2 duck legs and a mandarin half to each bowl, pour sauce over, scatter with thinly sliced chilli, spring onion, ginger and holy basil leaves. Serve hot with steamed fragrant rice.
Note Rock sugar and cooked bamboo shoots are available from Asian grocers.
This recipe is from the September 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
“This dish benefits from a combination of influences: the Chinese red braise of cassia, star anise and rock sugar is combined with fresh fruit (as per France’s duck à l’orange) and presented with Vietnamese restraint. It’s resplendent with fresh herbs,” says Lindsay.