Quick Beijing Duck Legs

Michael Nagrant / 10.30.08


I actually have an appointment to eat Beijing duck on Monday, which makes it kind of absurd that tonight I was struck by the desire to replicate a quick version at home, but matters of the palate, just as matters of the heart, don’t always make much sense. Anyways, I made a trip to Richwell Market (1835 S. Canal) picked up some Beijing style pancakes for a couple of bucks and a bunch of scallions for $.49, then headed over to Fox and Obel for four 8 oz duck legs ($14). I was pretty psyched with what turned out. The photo above is my actual plate. Recipe follows:


2 carrots
1 bunch of scallions
1/4 cup hoisin
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp ice water

1) Peel skin off the outside of carrots, then use peeler to create thin carrot strips.
2) Mix carrot strips with rice wine vinegar
3) Cut off green tops of scallion leaving white end and touch of pale green, thin julienne this part. Toss in ice water to crisp them up, rinse, and dry.
4) Set up steamer, place pancakes in steamer until warmed through

Roast Duck

4 8 oz duck legs
2 tbsp Chinese five spice powder
1 tsp garlic
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp honey


1) Pre-heat oven to 425 F
2) Prick duck leg skin with a fork, so they release fat while roasting
3) Mix above spices, distribute evenly by rubbing vigorously into the legs
4) Place cookie cooling racks or similar grate inside or on top of a roasting pan. Lay legs on top of grates. This allows the fat to render out and allows air flow to create crispy skin
5) Roast at 425 F for 10 minutes, turn heat down to 375 and roast for another 10-15 mins until a thermometer in the thickest part of the leg reads about 145 F
6) Pull out of the oven, brush legs with honey
7) Turn broiler on high and crisp up legs and caramelize honey, keep on eye on so they don’t burn

Plating and service

1) Place legs on a plate alongside pickled carrot, scallions, pancakes and roasted legs
2) Shred leg meat and crispy skin
3) Split pancake, top wih a touch of hoison and pile meat on along with veg
4) Eat and enjoy