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Menu for a Cold Summer

17 August 2007

Duck Duck Soup
roast duck, rice noodles, Savoy cabbage

Duck Duck Soup
Ah, summer. That time of year when the urge to curl up on the sofa with a hot bowl of soup is strong. That time of year when wearing a t-shirt and open sandals is tantamount to a rain dance. That time of year when bathing suits and sun hats are put away, replaced with warm socks and sweaters. Sometimes I think it’s better than sweltering away in a stifling Manhattan walkup, but not often. For anyone in a normal Northern hemisphere location, this soup might be a bit too hearty for August, but if you’re having a freak cold snap or live (far) south of the equator, it might be just what the weatherman ordered.

    Makes a minimum of 4 servings:

  • 2 quarts (8 cups) rich duck stock (see notes below)
  • 1 large packet (200-250g) bean thread noodles/vermicelli
  • 2 t neutral oil (eg. corn)
  • 2 duck breasts, skin removed, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 C red miso paste
  • 1/4 C kochujang or use 2 T more of the red miso as well as 1 T chili paste and 1 T sugar
  • 1 packet of mushrooms (250g), cleaned and sliced in half
  • 1/2 small head of Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 C leftover roast duck, in large chunks (optional, or use as much as you have)
  • 3 scallions, cut into thin rings (optional)
  • handful of bean sprouts (optional)

Soak the bean thread noodles according to package instructions.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. When hot, but not smoking, carefully add the duck pieces. Allow them to sear a couple of minutes before stirring. Sear on as many sides as you can (don’t let them burn), then add the miso and kochujang, stirring constantly to prevent burning. When the aroma is released, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, add the duck stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes, add mushrooms, and simmer a further 5 minutes. Add soaked noodles, cabbage and cooked duck and stir gently to submerge all the noodles. Simmer 1 additional minute and serve. To serve, use a long fork, tongs, or cooking chopsticks to place a large mound of noodles in each bowl, then cover with broth, meat and veg. Garnish with scallions and sprouts, if desired.

Duck Stock Notes
To make the stock for this soup, I used leftover bones and uncooked bits (like wingtips, not much skin/fat) from about 3 ducks. I covered with about 3 quarts of water and simmered in my slowcooker for a whole day. I think this had a lot to do with the yummy duckiness of the soup. If you don’t have duck bits carefully saved in your freezer (why not??!), you could substitute a good, strong chicken or turkey stock, but you might want to cut back a bit on the miso/kochujang in order for those tastes not to be overwhelming.

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