Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Plum Smoked Duck with Plum Wine Reduction

Duck...duck...duck...NOT goose! Duck. Smoked duck to be specific. Fine tuning it even more, duck marinated in Japanese plum wine (gekkheikan), garlic, Asian 5-spice, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns and tamari, then smoked over a combo of apple and cherry woods and served with a fresh plum and plum wine reduction. Drooling yet?

This was our very first venture into duck smoking so we kind of went into it blindly. (Just so you know, with great effort I'm resisting a duck blind joke. You're welcome.) I knew I didn't want to go the traditional orange route...so overdone, don't you think? But the classic combo of fruit and duck is a time-honored tradition for a reason. They were meant for one another!

The plan was to use sake as the marinade base, but when I found plum wine on the state store shelf, the rest of the flavors fell right in line. Plums are plentiful in the farm markets right now so Italian prune plums went on the list. The rest of the ingredients found their way from the pantry and spice rack into the solution and became one beautifully fragrant bath for our plump duck.

After hours of smoking the duck to a deep, rich brown lacquer, all that was needed was a simple sauce to highlight the the smoky, sweet flavor. You should have smelled the luscious, fruity, spicy aroma as it rose from the opened smoker! Heaven. 

Isn't he pretty?!

A simple reduction of the same plum wine mixed with crushed plums, organic orange blossom honey (ha! I did get the classic orange in there after all!), sharp Colman's mustard, ginger and garlic produced a gorgeous dark red sauce that accented the sweet, slightly game-y duck perfectly. You might even say dinner was plum delicious!    

Plum Smoked Duck With Plum Wine Reduction

  • 1 5-pound (approximately) duck, thawed if necessary

  • 3 BIG garlic cloves...or 6 smaller ones, smashed
  • 1 star anise, crushed
  • 3 slices fresh ginger root, about quarter sized
  • 1 tablespoon Scechuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce, Gluten-free to make this GF
  • 1 1/2 cups wine, Japanese Plum Wine - also known as Gekkeikan

  • 1 cup wine, Japanese Plum Wine - yep, same as above
  • 4 very ripe Italian prune plums, seeded and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon honey, orange blossom...or your own favorite
  • 1 teaspoon Colman's dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • a hefty pinch of powdered ginger

The night before you want to serve this, combine garlic, star anise, fresh ginger, Szechuan peppercorns, 5-spice, tamari and plum wine in a gallon size zip top plastic bag. Squeeze out all the air, seal tightly and put it into a bowl that holds it snugly. (If it leaks, it won't be all over your fridge if it's in a bowl!)

The next day, take the duck out of the marinade and discard the marinade. Dry the duck thoroughly with paper towels. Pour the soda out of a soda can, add about 1/2 cup of plum wine, a hefty shake of granulated garlic, 1/2 t. - 1 t. cayenne, 1/2 t. mustard powder and 1 t. ginger. Yes, this will cook beer can chicken style! Fit the duck over the spice and wine filled can and carefully set aside.

Soak a combination of half cherry/half applewood chips for at least an hour. Prepare the smoker according to whatever smoker you use. When the coals are hot, scatter the chips.

Put the duck on the smoker and smoke for at least 6 hours - more or less according to your smoker and/or your preference. You know I'm loose about smoking instructions...every smoker is different! Remove the duck and let sit while you make the reduction.

REDUCTION (reDUCKtion?): In a saucepan combine 1 c. plum wine, the quartered plums, honey and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Let simmer until the liquid reduces by half. Strain the reduction through a small strainer, pressing the solids to extract all the liquid.

Slice the duck and serve with the beautiful sauce. This would also be wonderful with a chicken...and there's a LOT more meat on a chicken! (A turkey breast would work well, too!)

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