The other night I was helping my child read a book about ducks, and I was amazed to learn that there are more than 83 types of duck in the world. Having grown up in Minnesota where duck hunting is a popular hobby, I started reflecting on all the different ways that I had eaten duck as a child. I started talking to my child about this and she started laughing. She said that Elmer Fudd was the only duck hunter she knew. I decided right then that I must introduce my child to wonderful duck soup recipes.
I dug through my grandmother’s cookbooks that I inherited and found an old duck soup recipe on a dog-eared page with grease splatters on it, and I knew that I had found a great place to start.
- 4 links breakfast sausage
- 1 pound boneless skinless duck breast
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 green apples
- 2 cup chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons chives
- 1/16 teaspoon salt
- 1/16 teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Fry sausage links until no longer pink in middle. Let cool while preparing other ingredients.
- Cut duck breast into one-inch pieces and set aside.
- Peel and dice the sweet onion.
- Cut ends off celery and dice.
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces.
- Peel and core apples. Cut into bite-size pieces.
- Dice cooled breakfast sausage.
- Place all ingredients except cream, milk and flour in a crock pot.
- Cook on low for four hours.
- Stir well and add cream, milk and flour.
- Cook two more hours and enjoy.
As I was finishing up my duck soup, my friend from Vietnam showed up. I had not seen her for a long time and we enjoyed our visit while eating my soup. Towards the end of the meal, she told me that a traditional duck soup recipe was made in a very different way in Vietnam. We set up an appointment to eat dinner together in a week so that she could treat me to homemade Vietnamese duck soup. I sure enjoyed learning how to make her duck carcass soup recipe, but I have to admit that it was very different than the recipe for duck I grew up on in Minnesota.
Duck Carcass Soup Recipe
- 5 inches of ginger
- 2 onions
- 1 1/2 pounds duck carcass including necks, giblets, and bones
- 5 cardamom pods
- 3 star anise pods
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 4 duck breasts
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 pound pho ba noodles
- 1/4 pound bean sprouts
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- Peel and slice the ginger.
- Put the duck carcass and bits in a large stockpot of water.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer. Scoop scum off the top of water trying to get as much off as possible.
- Toast the coriander, cloves, fennel seed, cardamom and star anise in a large skillet.
- Coarsely chop an onion and add to water.
- Add one-half of the sliced ginger, spice mix, fish sauce, sugar and salt to the stockpot with the duck carcass.
- Continuing to scoop off the scum periodically simmer the mixture for three hours.
- Scoop out and discard any large pieces.
- Put a piece of cheesecloth in a fine-mesh sieve. Pour the soup through the cheesecloth. Discard the cheesecloth.
- Let the broth cool for two hours.
- Remove the fat cap if one forms.
- Slice the remaining onion.
- Add the other half of the sliced ginger to a pot of water.
- Add the onion and broth.
- Warm the broth for 10 minutes. Do not let it boil.
- Cut the duck breast into bite-size pieces.
- Place the breast meat into a skillet and sear it on all sides. Continue cooking until the desired level of doneness.
- In a separate pan, prepare the noodles according to the package directions.
- Remove the ginger from the broth.
- Place the noodles in a serving bowl. Place one-half the duck meat on top of noodles.
- Cover with broth and enjoy.
- Reserve the other duck meat for another purpose.
As my friend and I were finishing our duck soup, her boyfriend arrived. I had met him before, and I really like him. He entered the house and saw that we were having duck soup. He told my friend that he sure hoped that we had saved some back for making things with the leftover duck soup recipe. While I have to admit that I looked at him strangely, my friend said that she had saved plenty back for making duck breasts with orange-ouzo sauce. While I was not sure what that was, my friend brought some by my work in a couple of days and it was delicious.
Duck Breast with Orange-Ouzo Sauce
- 2 cups leftover duck breast
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 shallot
- 1/2 cup chopped fennel
- 1 shot glass of ouzo liquor
- 1 cup reserved duck soup
- 1 orange
- Put the butter in a skillet. Warm it until it melts over low heat.
- Warm the leftover duck meat in the butter.
- Remove the meat to a platter.
- Chop the shallot
- Place the shallot and fennel in the skillet. Cook until wilted but not brown.
- Remove the skillet from the stove.
- Add the liquor.
- Return to stove and cook over low heat until the liquid is about half.
- Add the leftover duck soup and the juice of the orange.
- Turn up the heat until the mixture boils.
- Continue cooking until a spoon drug through the mixture leaves a trail.
- Put the duck meat on an individual serving plate.
- Pour the soup mixture over the duck meat. Serve and enjoy.
While my friend and I were talking, another friend came up and sat down beside us. After I introduced both ladies to each other, my friend who is from Hong Kong looked at the duck that I was eating. She almost got tears in her eyes as she said it reminded her of the duck soup that her mother used to make her when she was little. We both listened intently as she described the heavenly aroma and the great noodles that this soup had. She made it sound so good that I just knew I had to convince her to make some. She agreed to make it in about a week, and I was thrilled when that day arrived. After the first bite, I knew that I just had to add this to my collection.
Duck Noodle Soup
- 1 five-pound duck
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 inches ginger
- 6 baby bok choy
- 1 small napa cabbage
- 1/2 small yellow onion
- 3 star anise
- 3 cups water
- 2 inches ginger
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons red chili flakes
- 15 ounces chow mein noodles
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Let duck come to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika and pepper.
- Rub salt mixture over duck skin making sure to cover all parts.
- Put the duck in roasting pan and roast for 60 minutes.
- Melt butter in the microwave. Pour butter over the duck.
- Roast duck for another 45 minutes.
- Let duck cool to room temperature.
- Bring water to a boil over high heat.
- Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice ginger.
- Shred napa cabbage.
- Wash bok choy.
- Add star anise and ginger to water. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add stock, soy sauce, garlic powder and sugar.
- Cook noodles according to package directions.
- Place one cup of water in a clean pan. Bring to a boil.
- Add napa cabbage and cook for one minute.
- Drain napa cabbage.
- Return broth to a rolling boil.
- Cut duck into bite-size pieces. Add to broth.
- Place all ingredients except noodles in broth and cook for three minutes.
- Remove star anise and ginger pieces.
- Place noodles in bowl and cover with broth.
I have to admit that I never realized that there were so many different ways to cook duck. As I was dining on the duck noodle soup, another friend started telling me that her grandmother from Germany used to make a different type of duck soup for her when she was a child. Of course, I had to get a bowl of this one too, and it was equally delicious.
German Duck Soup
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 egg
- 1/16 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 cup flour
- 1 duck carcass
- 4 small onions
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/16 teaspoon salt
- Chop the garlic, carrot and parsley and set aside.
- Mix together the egg, salt and two tablespoons water.
- Put the flour in a bowl and add the egg mixture.
- Knead until a soft dough is formed.
- Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten into a flat disc.
- Chop the duck carcass into large pieces.
- Put the duck bone pieces into a large stock pan filled with water.
- Cook the bones over medium heat making sure they do not boil.
- Put the butter in a skillet.
- Cook the onions until caramelized covering the skillet with a lid if necessary. Add the bay leaf when the onions are almost caramelized.
- After the dough is dry, rub the dough against a grater. Let the pieces fall on a clean dish towel. Move around the towel frequently so that each piece lands in its own little area.
- Let the dough dry some more.
- Remove any large pieces from the duck carcass water.
- Strain the duck carcass mixture through a fine-mesh sieve catching the broth and discarding the bigger pieces.
- Place a cheesecloth in the fine-mesh sieve and strain slowly again.
- Repeat straining the broth one more time.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the broth except for the dumplings. Put on the stove on low heat to keep warm.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop a little of the dough in the water. Cook in the boiling water until they float.
- Remove them to a paper towel. Repeat until you have made all the dumplings.
- Put some dumplings in each bowl. Cover with broth and enjoy.
From this short experience, I definitely learned that there are many different ways to make duck soup in the world. Then, a marvelous idea struck me. Since I have so many friends who know how to make duck soup from their native cultures why not all get together for a duck soup party. We could each bring the soup that we grew up on telling why it was significant to us. My friends thought it was a great idea too and we all enjoyed learning the many unique duck soup.
For entertainment, after we ate, I showed the iconic Duck Soup movie. This movie seemed the perfect way to end our night of culture as we all laughed at the antics of the Marx brothers. In fact, many agreed with the critics that this was the best Marx movie ever poking fun at politics, religion and the state of humans in a way that remains as timeless today as it did when the movie was first released in 1933.
As I lay in bed that night thinking of the fun that we had all enjoyed, I realized that sharing our duck soup recipes was the perfect cultural exchange. I feel so incredibly blessed to have great friends from so many different backgrounds. I feel so blessed that my child is growing up surrounded by people who love her from so many different cultures as she will learn from an early age that there is more that unites us than divides us. It is my hope that she will grow up to be a leader who sees the value of every human being.
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