This month i’ve been thinking about special occasions. From Birthdays, Firework night, Christmas, Easter, to Dinner Parties and get-togethers with friends and family. Unlike some, i’m a massive fan of entertaining guests and welcoming them into my rented home, (it may not be permanent, but it’s still home). Whether they are gluten free or not, i present myself a challenge time after time of convincing others that they should not be shocked by catering to a guest that is gluten intolerant. In some respect, it is my training ground; to present guests with gluten free food in the hope that they cannot tell the difference at all.
The type of recipes that i have enjoyed in the past at dinner parties and gatherings are ones where i haven’t seen the host/hostess run off their feet. If they are relaxed, i am too; it also makes me feel that i am not in anyway a hassle. These recipes are also the ones that i smell instantly as soon as i ring their doorbell. Instant fragrance permeating through the letterbox. The only downside is that i am hungry instantly, begging for nibbly bits.
This recipe requires very little effort, i mean it is inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe- Slow Cooked Duck with Star Anise in Ginger from his kitchen diaries book. Bits of the method are the same but i have juggled the ingredients around a bit over time and i hope i have come up with something that will cater to any sweet and sour combination lovers. The broth is very rich and fragrant, so ideally serve with lots of chopped spring onions and plain boiled rice.
Slow Cooked Duck with Star Anise, Honey and Chilli
Any flavourless oil- 3 Tablespoons
2 Duck Breasts or 4 Duck Legs
Salt and Pepper
3 level Tablespoons of Thick Clear Honey.
1 White Onion (Chopped Roughly)
4 Spring Onions (Chopped roughly)
2 Spring onions (chopped chunky on an angle, to finish)
4 Big Cloves of Garlic (Chopped thinly)
1/2 inch of Fresh Ginger (Chopped thinly)
1 Red Chilli (Chopped roughly with seeds)
500ml of Chicken Stock
125ml Rice Wine
2 Star Anise whole flowers
* Preheat your oven to 180 Degrees.
* Get a Large, heavy duty casserole pan (with a lid), that can be both used on the hob and in the oven, and pop it on your hob.
* Heat the oil on a medium to high heat, while you season your Duck with salt. Seasoning the Duck is important, the salt will react with the hot pan to instantly create a crispy texture without sticking to the pan.
* Put your duck in the pan skin side down, and brown all sides. Remove from the pan and set onto a plate. Drizzle immediately over the 3 tablespoons of Honey and season once again with black pepper and salt.
* Put your chopped White Onion, Spring Onion, Garlic, Ginger and Chilli into the same pan with all the juices and turn the heat down slightly.
* While all those ingredients soften, measure out your Chicken Stock and Rice Wine in a jug and let the Star Anise flowers float around and infuse.
* Pour the infused Chicken Stock and Rice Wine mixture, along with the Star Anise, into the Onions, garlic, ginger and Chili in the casserole pan and let it sizzle and boil for a good 2- 3 minutes.
* Return your Honey Glazed Duck back into the casserole pan and transfer the whole thing into the oven with the lid on.
Leave for 50 minutes to cook. (or 1hour +20 mins if not roasting the duck in the next optional stage) You may want to at this stage also put on some rice to boil.
* OPTIONAL. Take out your pan from the oven, and if you feel like it, position your duck onto a different baking tray, drizzle a tiny bit more honey and salt on top and roast it for the finally 15 minutes, to give it a crispy skin.
*Scatter the extra chopped spring onions over the boiled rice and add some to the duck broth too.
* Serve the duck in a separate bowl from the rice, i like to get my guests to spoon in balls of sticky boiled rice into the broth. If serving Duck Legs, you may want to think about shredding off the meat and putting this onto a separate plate, but only if you can be bothered ;)