Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Duck Pastrami

Traditionally, pastrami is made using beef but, when I was looking for the meat to make it with, duck stuck out as something a bit more unusual and exciting. I wanted to go for a Chinese-style flavouring, so in the brine I used spices that would mirror those in Chinese cuisine. The chilli doesn't come through that well, so if you want a bit of heat in there I'd recommend to try adding some dried chilli flakes to the spice rub on the outside... just be careful of how much you use.

I had to try and hot smoke the duck in an oven, but for more flavour I'd recommend using a smoker, if you have one. And I also added Lapsang Souchong (a smoky tea) to the woodchips to boost the smoky flavour.

2 duck breasts

For the brine:
2 litres water
200g table salt
100g granulated sugar
2 bay leaves
10 cloves
10 black peppercorns
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp dried chilli flakes
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick

For the spice rub:
1tbsp ground black pepper
1tbsp ground coriander

For smoking:
400g wood chips
2tbsp Lapsang Souchong tea leaves

Pour the water in a pan, along with the salt, sugar and spices, and bring up to the boil. Once it starts boiling, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Place in duck breasts into a ziplock food bag and ladle in the brine until the breasts are well covered. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 5 days (moving the breasts around in the bag each day).

Remove the breasts and pat dry with paper towel, then massage the spice rub into them and place on a baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 100C. Put the woodchips and tea leaves into a metal sieve and use a chef's torch until they catch a bit and start smoking. Place the duck in the middle of the oven and the sieve on the bottom. (I managed to find a sieve that had a collar around the bottom, so it could stand without toppling over).

Cook for 3 hours. (This would be a good time to put anything else you want to hot smoke in the oven, too). 

After 3 hours, allow the breasts to cool before thinly slicing.

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