Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Foodie Files

Before my favorite guys hit the road last week, we squeezed in a delightful little Chinese New Year celebration.  It was fun for at least a million reasons but the menu was a definite high point...General Tsos chicken, sake steamed baby bok choy, a delightful green salad with ginger dressing and black toasted sesame encrusted avocado, rice and today's Foodie File, some absolutely delicious duck confit spring rolls with a plum dipping sauce (mmmMmmm).  I found the original recipe here and contemplated giving it a try on many turns out you've gotta be real intentional to make this one happen.  There's lots of ingredients you sure won't find sitting around the back of your pantry.  I'd make these again in a heart beat, but I probably won't attempt them alongside so many other involved dishes...the prep work for this meal was out of control!


For the spring rolls:
2 duck confit legs
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts, thinly sliced into matchsticks (about 2 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
10 round rice paper wrappers
1 quart vegetable oil

For the dipping sauce:
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons plum sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

Remove the skin from the duck legs and discard.  Remove the meat, shred it into small pieces and place in a large bowl (you should have about 3 cups).  Discard the bones.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring rarely, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the duck meat.

Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan and place over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the carrot and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the five-spice and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the carrot-onion mixture to the bowl with the meat and mushrooms. Add the water chestnuts and cilantro to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and season the filling with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Place a clean, damp kitchen towel on a work surface. Fill a medium frying pan or wide, shallow dish large enough to hold the rice paper wrappers with hot tap water.  Working with 1 wrapper at a time, completely submerge the wrapper until it is soft and pliable, about 15 seconds.  Remove from the water and place on the towel.  Working quickly, place 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling across the wrapper.  Fold the bottom of the wrapper up and over the filling.  Holding the whole thing firmly in place, fold the sides of the wrapper in.  Pressing firmly down to hold the folds in place, roll the entire wrapper horizontally up from the bottom to the top.

Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat and fry rolls, turning with tongs until crispy (about 4-5 minutes).  Transfer to a paper towel covered plate and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Mix dipping sauce ingredients together and set aside.  Cut each spring roll on a bias and serve with dipping sauce.  There's a lot of harmony in this dish and it's honestly rather simple...I so hope you try it!


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