Pan-Roasted Duck with Cranberry Fig Sweet and Sour Sauce with Noodle Chow Mein
4 duck breasts (about 10 ounces each), preferably Pekin, tenderloin, any sinew and excess fat removed
6 dried Chinese chilies
1 pound Hong-Kong style fresh noodles (or another type boiled, drained and shocked)
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup very thinly sliced scallions
1 large bunch bok choy, roughly chopped
1 cup Craisin dried cranberries
5 fresh black figs, ends removed and quartered
3 tablespoons naturally brewed Wan Ja Chan soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck, making parallel horizontal and vertical slices on a bias to form diamonds. Don’t cut through the meat. Season generously with salt and pepper and place skin-side down in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the fat trimmings to the pan. Season the top of the breasts. Lower the heat slightly and cook to render the fat.
2. While the duck cooks, baste it with the fat from the pan, spooning it over the top of the meat and turning the “crackling” pieces over. Once the skin is golden brown and crisp, about 15-18 minutes, flip the breasts and cook the remaining side for one minute. Add the chilies to the basting oil and continue to baste.
3. Transfer the breasts, skin-side up to a cutting board to rest. Drain half the fat from the pan and reserve the remainder in the pan with the chilies.
4. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 3/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Add the noodles, tossing to break them up and rehydrate, adding more water if necessary. Heat 2-3 minutes. Remove and reserve.
5. In the same large pan over medium-high heat, add the canola oil and sauté two tablespoons each of the ginger and garlic for about 30 seconds. Add about a quarter cup of scallions and bok choy, season and cook about three minutes. Add back the hot noodles, tossing to combine. You want equal parts bok choy and noodles so adjust accordingly. Reserve.
6. In the reserved duck pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining ginger, garlic and scallions to the pan, then add the cranberries, figs, soy sauce, and vinegar. Cook for about five minutes to soften and reduce the liquid slightly.
7. To serve, slice the breasts on the bias. Place a bed of the noodle chow mein on a plate, top with the duck breasts, then the sweet and sour sauce and the cracklings.