Chinese duck pasta with mushrooms
Steaming duck legs with ginger, garlic, star anise and Chinese five-spice powder before roasting them infuses the meat with flavor and moisture for this Chinese pasta dish.
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Drain cooked pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water, and rinse under running hot water. Add pasta to skillet and toss to combine. Cook for a minute or so, tossing occasionally, adding a little of the pasta water if the dish is too dry. Remove from heat and stir in sliced green onions. Divide among four shallow bowls and serve.Skip to next paragraph
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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Running down duck legs. These aren’t as easy to find as duck breasts or whole ducks, but they’re worth seeking out. As with chicken, they’re more flavorful and juicier than the breasts (which are still quite tasty in their own right). In Chicago, I found pairs of frozen duck legs at the Paulina Meat Market. Had I failed to do so, my back-up plan was to buy a whole duck, have the butcher cut it up and have two separate duck meals.
Picking mushrooms. There are plentiful options here. Fresh or dried, for starters. Chinese black mushrooms or straw mushrooms are great choices. I lucked into some fresh shiitake mushrooms that were cheaper than the dried ones I’d planned to buy. But even crimini or button mushrooms will do.
Noodles? Pasta? Here’s that whole East/West thing. We buy Number Three Chinese Noodles from Chicago’s Wah King Noodle Company, ribbon noodles that resemble slightly skinny linguine. Linguine (or ideally, the skinnier linguine fini) will also do.
No steamer? No problem. We love our bamboo steamer, but if you don’t have one, you can improvise. Place a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Add water to the roasting pan, making sure it doesn’t reach the top of the rack. Make a rimmed tray from aluminum foil that will hold both duck legs and the aromatics. Cover the top of the roasting pan with aluminum foil to create a tight seal. Heat the roasting pan on the stovetop to bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Keep an eye on the water level, making sure the water doesn’t all boil away.
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