Duck for Turkey Day: Five Spice Roast Duck

Five Spice Roast Duck and the book "Duck for Turkey Day"

There are so many wonderful children’s books that celebrate the sense of togetherness and gratitude that surrounds Thanksgiving. Just by the nature of the holiday, most of those books feature food in some form and it was so difficult to sift through all those books to find a few favorite to feature here. Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules is one Thanksgiving book that I knew I had to share with you. This sweet story explores the concept of tradition and what it means for each family to celebrate Thanksgiving in their own way. Tuyet is a young Vietnamese-American girl who is worried that her family is celebrating Thanksgiving the “wrong” way because they plan to eat duck instead of turkey at their feast. She thinks about buying a turkey with her own money but can’t find one at the Asian market her family shops at. She adds her handmade paper turkey to the table and wonders if that is enough to make it a “real” Thanksgiving. In the end, through her family’s loving celebration and the help of some friends at school, Tuyet learns that Thanksgiving is different for every family. I like that Duck for Turkey Day is not afraid to tackle the very real anxieties of kids trying to navigate the struggles of growing up in two different cultures. Jacqueline Jules explores Tuyet’s deep feelings of wanting to belong with compassion and sensitivity and lovingly portrays her warm, positive family life. The ending of this book is a wonderful reminder to all of us, especially during the holidays, to be respectful of the wide range of traditions and cultures represented in our communities.

Discussion Questions for Duck for Turkey Day:

  • What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? What is your favorite food that our family has for Thanksgiving?
  • Do you have any friends who celebrate Thanksgiving differently than our family or who celebrate holidays that we don’t?
  • Do you think Tuyet was surprised that not all her friends eat turkey for Thanksgiving?
  • Is there a new food or tradition that we could try out during the holidays this year?
A page from "Duck for Turkey Day" by Jacqueline Jules
Tuyet celebrating Thanksgiving with her family in Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules

Buy the book Duck for Turkey Day:

When I was researching recipes for roast duck to go along with Duck for Turkey Day, the task seemed a little daunting. Although I have roasted a duck in the past, I don’t have a lot of expertise with it and I am not very familiar with Vietnamese flavors or techniques. Tuyet’s family enjoys “spicy roast duck” in Duck for Thanksgiving and I wanted to make something similar but mild enough that kids would enjoy it and using ingredients that aren’t too hard to find in a regular grocery store. I found several recipes for Vietnamese roast chicken that used a combination of soy, ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, and five spice powder that sounded flavorful, but not too spicy. I took those same flavors but adapted the technique to roasting a duck, which is much fattier than chicken and can end up being greasy if not cooked properly. A three step process ensures that this duck ends up crispy and flavorful without being too oily. First, you fry the duck in a large pan or wok to brown the skin and help render some of the extra fat. Secondly, you braise the duck for an hour in a rich sauce that infuses the meat with flavor, and lastly you roast the duck at high heat to finish cooking the meat and crisp up the skin. This process takes a little longer than just roasting a chicken, but none of it is especially difficult and the results are fantastic!

GreenPan Roasting pan with rack on food52.com
GreenPan Roasting pan with rack on food52.com
Buy Fish Sauce on food52.com
Fish Sauce on food52.com
Ingredients for making Five Spice Roast Duck - finestofsuppers.com
Ingredients for Five Spice Roast Duck – finestofsuppers.com
Five Spice Roast Duck with rice and stir-fried bok choy - finestofsuppers.com
Five Spice Roast Duck with rice and stir-fried bok choy – finestofsuppers.com

Five-Spice Roast Duck

Yields4 Servings

 1 5 to 6 pound duck, fresh or thawed from frozen
 1 tbsp canola oil
 4 cloves of garlic, minced
 1 tbsp grated ginger
 ¼ cup brown sugar
 ½ cup oyster sauce
 ½ tsp five-spice powder
 ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
 1 tbsp honey
 ¼ cup soy sauce
 1 tbsp fish sauce
 1 tbsp rice vinegar
 1 tbsp sriracha sauce

1

Remove the neck and organs from the inside cavity of the duck, if they haven't already been removed. Pat the duck dry on the outside and inside and season liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the ducks legs together using kitchen string or twine. Heat the Tablespoon of canola oil in a wok or a large, heavy skillet. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully add the prepare duck, breast side down, to the pan and fry it until the skin turns golden brown and crispy. Turn the duck over and fry on the other side for a few minutes until the back side is also browned and crispy. Turn off the heat under the wok or pan.

2

Spoon about 2 Tablespoons of the oil and fat from the wok or pan to a dutch oven or large pot. Heat the fat over medium-high heat and, once hot, add the garlic and ginger to the oil. Stir-fry the garlic and ginger for about 1 minutes, just until fragrant but not burnt. Add the 1/4 cup brown sugar to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar begins to melt. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, five spice powder, black pepper, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha. Add this sauce to the pot with the brown sugar mixture, whisking to combine everything. Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn the heat down to low.

3

Carefully transfer the duck from the wok to the dutch oven or pot with the sauce, breast side down. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer the duck and sauce for 1 hour, turning the duck over every 20 minutes, so that it gets evenly flavored.

4

During the last 20 minutes that the duck is braising, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Prepare a roasting pan by placing a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan or use a cooling rack set on a large baking sheet or in a broiler pan. Basically, the duck should be able to set on a surface that allows the fat and juices to collect below the duck while it roasts.

5

Once the duck has finished braising for an hour, turn off the heat under the pot and carefully transfer the duck from the braising liquid to the prepared roasting pan, breast side up. Brush some of the braising liquid over the duck breast and legs then place it in the preheated oven. Roast the duck for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF and the skin is a deep brown color. Remove from the oven and let the duck rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving. Serve with steamed rice and stir-fried veggies.

Ingredients

 1 5 to 6 pound duck, fresh or thawed from frozen
 1 tbsp canola oil
 4 cloves of garlic, minced
 1 tbsp grated ginger
 ¼ cup brown sugar
 ½ cup oyster sauce
 ½ tsp five-spice powder
 ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
 1 tbsp honey
 ¼ cup soy sauce
 1 tbsp fish sauce
 1 tbsp rice vinegar
 1 tbsp sriracha sauce

Directions

1

Remove the neck and organs from the inside cavity of the duck, if they haven't already been removed. Pat the duck dry on the outside and inside and season liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the ducks legs together using kitchen string or twine. Heat the Tablespoon of canola oil in a wok or a large, heavy skillet. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully add the prepare duck, breast side down, to the pan and fry it until the skin turns golden brown and crispy. Turn the duck over and fry on the other side for a few minutes until the back side is also browned and crispy. Turn off the heat under the wok or pan.

2

Spoon about 2 Tablespoons of the oil and fat from the wok or pan to a dutch oven or large pot. Heat the fat over medium-high heat and, once hot, add the garlic and ginger to the oil. Stir-fry the garlic and ginger for about 1 minutes, just until fragrant but not burnt. Add the 1/4 cup brown sugar to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar begins to melt. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, five spice powder, black pepper, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha. Add this sauce to the pot with the brown sugar mixture, whisking to combine everything. Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn the heat down to low.

3

Carefully transfer the duck from the wok to the dutch oven or pot with the sauce, breast side down. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer the duck and sauce for 1 hour, turning the duck over every 20 minutes, so that it gets evenly flavored.

4

During the last 20 minutes that the duck is braising, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Prepare a roasting pan by placing a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan or use a cooling rack set on a large baking sheet or in a broiler pan. Basically, the duck should be able to set on a surface that allows the fat and juices to collect below the duck while it roasts.

5

Once the duck has finished braising for an hour, turn off the heat under the pot and carefully transfer the duck from the braising liquid to the prepared roasting pan, breast side up. Brush some of the braising liquid over the duck breast and legs then place it in the preheated oven. Roast the duck for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF and the skin is a deep brown color. Remove from the oven and let the duck rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving. Serve with steamed rice and stir-fried veggies.

Five-Spice Roast Duck

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