Chinese Lunar New Year falls on 1st February this year and tradition dictates that the sixteen days – from New Year’s Eve until the Lantern Festival – are spent in joyful, colourful celebrations. The word ‘lunar’ is important as Chinese New Year’s Day is dictated by the start of the new lunar cycle so doesn’t fall on the same date each year.
Heading home to spent time with family and friends – sorely missed by many last year – is a fundamental part of festival celebrations, with a family reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve being one of the most important, and loved, traditions. We asked chef Clair Irwin to share a traditional recipe to mark the occasion and we think her combination of rich, sweet and smoky spices and a honey-driven glaze would be the perfect match for a glass of 18 Year Old Viking Pride.
CANTONESE ROAST DUCK
1 whole duck
2 teaspoons sea salt
For the marinade:
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon castor sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon yellow bean sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
For the glaze:
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
200ml warm water
For the stuffing:
2 clementines cut into quarters
2 spring onions, roughly sliced
2 star anise
1. Rinse the duck well and pat it dry using paper towels before placing on a plate, rubbing it all over with salt, and placing it in the fridge for two hours.
2. Make the marinade by heating the oil in a small frying pan and adding the finely chopped spring onion, ginger and garlic; sauté until mouthwateringly fragrant. Now add all the remaining marinade ingredients and, stirring well, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the heat and setting aside to cool completely.
3. Now it’s time to blanch the duck by bringing a large stockpot of water to the boil and carefully placing the duck in it. Once the skin has tightened up (this will only take a few minutes) remove the duck from the water and dry it well with paper towels. Now place it on a wire rack over a large plate or dish and return to the fridge to dry out for 4-5 hours.
4. Preheat your oven to 200C/gas 6 and while it’s warming up, make the glaze by dissolving the honey and rice vinegar in warm water.
5. Remove the duck from the fridge and place it on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Pour the marinade into the cavity and, using a pastry brush, coat the inside of the duck with it. Add the clementine quarters, spring onions, and star anise to the cavity and secure it with a bamboo skewer. Brush the honey glaze all over the outside of the duck, repeating a further two times before sprinkling with sea salt.
6. Now place a tray of boiling water at the bottom of your oven and roast the duck for 25 minutes, basting every so often with the remaining glaze mixture.
7. Finally, turn the oven down to 180C/gas 4 and cook the duck for a further 30 minutes more, basting with the remaining glaze mixture. Remove the duck from the oven and cover loosely with foil, leaving it to rest for 15-20 minutes. Cut into slices and arrange on a serving platter.