Welcome to another edition of Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party where each course is held at a different home. This month’s theme is A Tea Party hosted by Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen. Instead of traditional tea party fare, we have created dishes that feature tea as an ingredient! For my main course, I chose to make Tea Smoked Duck, an all time favorite of ours!
The Artist hadn’t eaten much duck until he met me and now it is one of his favorite meals. Pan seared, grilled, or smoked, he is one happy camper when he hears I’m planning on making it for a special dinner.
Whenever we go out for Chinese, the first thing he looks for on the menu is tea-smoked duck. When I heard what the theme of this month’s Progressive Eats was, I instantly knew what I wanted to make. The chance to be able to make this at home from scratch and create any flavor profile I wanted is irresistible to me!
Marinating the duck ahead of time is optional but delicious. It not only imparts flavors that marry well with the meat, but it helps keep it moist as it cooks. Marinating is a wonderful technique to use with lower fat meats in particular.
When I first looked up how to make the duck I was surprised that there wasn’t any wood involved. I had only ever smoked meats with damp wood chips. This dish uses dry rice and tea leaves – how exotic!
I think the biggest challenge was to figure out how to not fill the house with all the smoke. Once it was done, I took the Dutch oven outside and placed it on my grill and then opened the lid, watching as the wind swept the smoke away. Just be careful, the steam can burn you!
One of my tricks for making any sauce marry to the flavors of the main course is to add some of the pan drippings. Stirring in as little as 1 or 2 tablespoons balances the flavors, bringing a lovely richness and mouthfeel. Try it and I bet you’ll be hooked!
I hope you enjoy making your own Tea Smoked Duck – we loved every bite and are looking forward to the leftovers for dinner tomorrow!!
Being on the #ProgressiveEats team is such fun! It is an honor to be part of a group with such incredibly talented ladies – I am in awe each month at what they come up with! Make sure you check out the links below.
The only ingredient you need to watch out for is the soy sauce in the marinade – if you choose to marinate the meat. Be sure you are using a gluten-free version.
This recipe is part of our monthly progressive dinner party, Progressive Eats. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
Progressive Eats “Tea” Party with recipes featuring tea
- Earl Grey Dinner Rolls by The Redhead Baker
- Tea Smoked Duck (Gluten Free) by The Heritage Cook
- Southern Sweet Tea Roasted Corn by Pastry Chef Online
- Vanilla Black Tea Rice Pilaf by All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
- Chai-infused Madeleines by Mother Would Know
- Glazed Lemon Tea Scones by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Strawberry Blueberry Hibiscus Crumble by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- 2 (1 lb each) fresh or frozen boneless Muscovy or Moulard duck breast halves (thawed if previously frozen) with the skin intact
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 green onion, trimmed and very finely chopped
- 1 tsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Smoking Mixture
- 1/3 cup loose black tea leaves
- 1/3 cup raw rice
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon chunks (I get mine from Penzey's) or a broken 3-inch cinnamon stick
- Orange-Ginger Sauce, recipe follows
- 1 naval orange, very thinly sliced (along the "equator")
- Marinate the Duck Breasts: Pat the duck pieces dry and using a very sharp knife, slice the skin only (do not cut into the meat) in a diamond pattern. Place breasts into a resealable plastic bag. Add the remaining marinade ingredients, massaging them into the duck, press out as much air as possible and seal the bag shut. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Prepare for Smoking: While the duck is marinating, set up your wok or a Dutch oven. Line the inside of the pan with a double layer of heavy-duty foil, long enough to leave about 3 to 5 inches over hang. To cover the entire surface, I used two sets of double foil sheets, facing in opposite directions (like an "X"). Repeat, lining the lid, securing the foil by pressing about an inch onto the lid, and leaving the rest of the foil loose.
- Stir together the tea leaves, rice, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then scatter in an even layer over the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Set a round wire cooling rack or steaming rack over the rice-tea mixture. It should sit about an inch above the surface of the rice.
- Brown the Duck: Remove the duck from the bag, pat dry with a paper towel, and discard the marinade.
- Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and add the duck, skin-side down. Cook, without moving until the skin is deep golden brown and most of the fat has rendered, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Smoke the Duck: Set the prepared pan (from above) uncovered over high heat. When wisps of smoke begin to appear, set the duck breasts, skin-side down, on the rack in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and place the lid on the pan. Using hot pads, fold the lower foil together with the foil from the lid, rolling them upward and inward to create an airtight seal.
- Cook the duck for 8 to 10 minutes then remove from the heat and leave them in the sealed pan for 10 more minutes to bring the breasts to medium-rare. If you prefer more well done, just leave it resting in the sealed pan a bit longer.
- NOTE: Timing will depend on the size of the pieces you are working with. If you are using smaller duck breasts, cook for about 4 minutes and let rest another 3 minutes or until cooked to your preferred doneness.
- If you can, take the pan outside before opening, setting it on a heat-proof surface such as your barbecue grill. Very carefully unwrap the foil and stand back as you lift the lid -- the smoke and steam can burn you. Use tongs to transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes.
- To Serve: Cut the duck on the bias with a very sharp carving knife into thin slices. Fan the slices on your serving plates, garnish with the orange slices, drizzle with the sauce (recipe follows). Serve immediately.
- Chill any leftover duck, wrapped tightly in plastic. It will hold up to 2 days.
- Yield: 2 to 4 servings
- 1/4 cup plum wine, sake, or white wine
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tsp peeled and very finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp Asian plum sauce
- Pinch kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 to 2 tbsp rendered duck fat
- In a small saucepan, whisk together all the sauce ingredients, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook on a low boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until thicker, to a glaze-like consistency.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Spoon a little of the duck fat into the sauce to help marry the flavors. Once the duck has been sliced and arranged on each serving plate, drizzle the duck lightly with the sauce. Serve any extra sauce at the table.
- Yield: about 1/3 to 1/2 cup
With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
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