Earl Grey-Sichuan Pepper Duck As Made By Jenny Dorsey
We’re celebrating Lunar New Year with chef Jenny Dorsey’s Earl Grey-Sichuan Pepper Duck! Citrusy and tongue-tingling Sichuan peppers combine with rich bergamot-flavored Earl Grey tea leaves and warming allspice to make a crust that infuses the duck with flavor and crisps up as the duck is seared, then roasted. While the duck breasts cure, the carcass is used to make a fragrant stock that is delicious for sipping, or thickened into a jus to ladle over the sliced duck.
for 2 servings
Early Grey-Sichuan Pepper Duck Breast
- 2 duck breasts, tenderloins removed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 oz high quality whole red Sichuan peppercorns (60 g)
- 2 oz high-quality loose Early Grey Tea leaves (60 mL)
- 1 oz whole dried allspice berries (30 g)
- 1 tablespoon duck fat, or neutral oil, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon whole coriander
- ½ medium yellow onion, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (2 in - 5 cm piecE)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine
- 1 duck carcas, broken into 4 pieces
- ¼ teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste
- ½ cup water (120 mL), plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- spice grinder
- Place a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet.
- Set the duck breasts on the rack and, using a sharp knife, carefully score the fat by slicing diagonally across each breast in a cross-hatch pattern at ½-inch intervals, taking care not to slice into the flesh. Season each duck breast on both sides with the salt.
- In a spice grinder, combine the Sichuan peppercorns, Earl Grey tea leaves, and allspice berries and coarsely grind until evenly mixed.
- Evenly coat each duck breast all over with about 1½ tablespoons of the spice blend. Turn the duck breasts fat-side down on the rack and transfer to the refrigerator to cure uncovered for 24 hours, until the fat is somewhat dried out and firm.
- Make the duck stock: In a large pot, melt the duck fat over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and season with salt. Sauté until the onion is translucent, 4–6 minutes.
- Pour in the Shaoxing wine, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, about 1 minute.
- Add the duck carcass, 2 teaspoons salt, and the sugar. Add enough water to cover the carcass by at least 4 inches. Bring to a simmer. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook the stock for 8 hours, or overnight.
- Uncover, increase the heat to high, and cook until the stock has reduced by half, 30–45 minutes.
- Strain the stock, discarding the solids, and season with salt to taste. Set aside. Store any leftover stock in the fridge for up to 5 days, or the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Remove the duck breasts from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place the duck breasts skin-side down in a cold, large, oven-safe pan. Place over medium-low heat and cook for 10–15 minutes to slowly render the duck fat, leaving a sliver of skin over the breasts. Increase the heat to medium-high to give the duck skin a final sear until golden brown and crisp, 1–2 minutes.
- Flip the duck breasts skin-side up and transfer the pan to the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F (55°C) for medium-rare, or to your desired doneness. Through carryover cooking, the internal temperature will continue to rise by 5–10° during resting.
- Let the duck breasts rest for 5 minutes before slicing crosswise into ½-inch slices.
- Heat 1 cup (240 ml) of stock in a small pot over medium heat until gently simmering.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and ½ cup water to form a slurry. Add the slurry to the duck stock and cook for 2–3 minutes, until the stock thickens into a jus. Season the stock with more salt and sugar to taste.
- Ladle the hot jus over the sliced duck breast just before serving.
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