Chinese 5-spice Duck with Szechuan Brussel Sprouts


So, I was going to post these two recipes separately, but as I served them together and they went so well together I conceded that they belonged together. The duck is absolutely stunning. I excitedly bought two quite expensive breast fillets that when cooked, cut like butter. Sublime. The subtle 5 spice flavour is just perfect with duck – adding a little aroma to the crispy skin. The Brussel sprouts were more of a leap of faith. I was unsure just how they would turn out but the earthy intense cabbage flavour they have works remarkably well alongside the mild gamey duck. I think they key to the sprouts is the Szechuan pepper – all together different from regular pepper – somewhat floral. The whole meal was absolutely delicious and scored a big thumbs up from Brendan, the wife.

2 duck breast fillets (skin on)
1 tablespoon Chinese 5 spice powder
salt & pepper

Stir Fried Brussel Sprouts:
3 tablespoons peanut oil
400g Brussel sprouts (trimmed and halved)
1 spring onion (white part, pruised at end)
1 large garlic clove (lightly bruised)
2 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
1 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns (crushed)
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

To cook the duck:

Score the duck skin with a sharp paring knife in a cross hatch pattern. Season with salt and pepper then coat each duck Roll in the 5-spice powder cover and set aside for 1/2 hour.

Heat a frying pan over a medium low heat. Place the duck, skin side down, and gently fry for 6-8 minutes until the skin is crisp and dark brown. Turn up the heat then turn over the duck and cook for 2-3 minutes. As you fry, tip the pan forward, still on the flame and spoon the hot duck fat over the skin to crispen it up. The duck should still feel springy to the touch. Remove from the pan and rest for 2-3 minutes.

To make the stir fried Brussel sprouts:
Mix together the oyster sauce, soy, sugar and two types of pepper and set aside.

Pour 1/2 cup water into a wok and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Bring to a boil then add the sprouts. Cook for 2-3 minutes then drain. Heat the remaining oil in the wok over a medium/high heat. When hot, add the whole garlic and spring onion and stir for 1 minute. Remove and discard the garlic and onion. Add the sliced garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds until lightly browned. Add the sprouts and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the oyster sauce mix and stir-fry for a further 1 minute – add a tablespoon of water, remove from the heat and serve.

Slice the rested duck into 2cm slices and serve alongside the stir fried sprouts and some boiled rice. I served the duck garnished with finely shredded Chinese cabbage, spring onions and hot red chillies.

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