Molly’s Crispy Aromatic Duck Two Ways

May 3, 2017 | Duck Recipes, Recipes

Make your own version of the classic Chinese takeaway dish with a twist, with Molly’s crispy aromatic duck two-ways, including a selection of scrumptious options for sides! 

Things I have learnt in the past week:

If you’re making shredded duck do not, I repeat do not, believe any recipe which tells you there’s a quick and easy way to make it with duck breast. You will end up just making pan-fried duck. It will taste amazing, but will cause you a mild meltdown about how to make it look nice for Instagram. Use legs.

Chinese 5 Spice smells amazing and it has made me want to experiment much more with Asian-style food, which has never really been my bag as I am allergic to chili. But this has no heat, just yumminess!

As much as the above is true, I just love Middle Eastern food too much. So, after my first attempt at this dish went wrong, things took on a slightly different vibe.

What to serve with the duck?

If you’re going for the traditional Chinese takeaway-style version, then you can’t go wrong with some savoury pancakes, plum or hoisin sauce and some thinly sliced cucumber and spring onions! I must admit to trying to make my own pancakes and they went horribly wrong and ended up more like poppadoms so I reckon buy your own. Sometimes life is too short.

If you’re going Middle Eastern, then you might want to put it together with some flat breads, salad, and a bit of yogurt. I added some pomegranate molasses and a fresh squeeze of orange juice to my yoghurt but only because I had them in and was feeling fancy. My absolute favourite salad in the world at the moment is the below one from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem” book. It’s so easy and the cauliflower and hazelnuts can be roasted in advance.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

The Meat

  • 2 duck legs
  • 1 tsp of Chinese 5 Spice or Lebanese 7 Spice (or just make up a combo of ground cumin, coriander and cinnamon and use a tsp of that!)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Drizzle of honey
  • 100 ml chicken stock

The Sides

  • 1 cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 4-5 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large stick of celery, cut into diagonal pieces about 1/2 a cm thick
  • 30 g hazelnuts, skin on
  • Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
  • 10 g parsley leaves, picked
  • 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • Salt and black pepper


The Meat

  1. Salt and spice the duck either the night before or a few hours before you’re going to cook it by pricking the skin of the legs all over with the tip of a sharp knife. Mix together the salt, which ever spice combo you’re using and the crushed peppercorns. Rub your mix all over the duck legs and pop them in the fridge. The longer you can leave them in there the better!
  2. Preheat the oven 200C Fan. Pat the duck legs dry with a bit of kitchen roll and put them skin-side down in a frying pan . Place the pan over a high heat. After about 5 minutes the skin will start to crisp and brown, once the skin side is well browned, turn them over and cook the other side.
  3. Once they’re cooked, put the legs skin side up in an ovenproof dish, drizzle a little honey over them and pour over the stock. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat down to 150 C for 45 mins – 1 hr, when the meat should come easily away from the bone.
  4. Let the duck cook slightly before using two forks to shred the meat from the bone. I thinly sliced our crispy skin and scattered it through the rest of the shredded duck.

The Sides

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C fan. Mix the cauliflower with 1/2 tsp of salt, some black pepper and 2-3 tbsps of the oil, depending on your own preference. Roast for 25-35 mins, until the cauliflower is crisp and bits are golden brown. Pop it in a mixing bowl and put it to one side to cool down.
  2. Reduce the oven heat to 150 C fan and spread the hazelnuts on a tray lined with parchment. Pop in the oven for 17 minutes ( I know this sounds weirdly precise but honestly 15 mins is just not enough and 20 mins is too long!)
  3. Once the hazelnuts have cooled down, roughly shop them and add them to the cauliflower with all of the other ingredients, including the remaining oil. Give it a stir and season to taste, before serving at room temperature.

Molly has lived in Dorking for 10 years and been managing Two Many Cooks on South Street for the past year and a half. “I first met Gary and Alex before they officially opened when my mate Jon came in for a coffee and said he’d arranged to meet the boys at Two Many Cooks to discuss working for them. They had their chat, Jon and Reuben’s found their new home and Gary and Alex turned Two Many Cooks Dorking into their office and interview space for the day! I tweeted them, they tweeted me and the rest is internet history. I was a vegetarian from the age of 5 to 23 and still feel I have so much to learn about what I like when it comes to meat and how to cook it, so having Dorking Butchery in town has been absolutely brilliant. My favourite thing is to pop in and say “I have X and Y ingredients in and I want to cook for about Z hours (or minutes!), what should I do?” It has never failed me.”