I’m always looking for good appetizers to serve when entertaining. After enjoying an excellent pork egg roll at a Chinese place recently, I got intrigued with the notion of a duck egg roll. I thought I’d use either Pam’s Duck Confit or my Sweet Duck Breasts for the main ingredient and pair them with a great sauce.
The duck decision would be made at the butcher — whatever looked the best and was more cost effective, the leg or the breast. I discussed the concept with the Ryalls, and for the sauce Tom suggested a brandy-infused hoisin sauce based on a Susanna Foo recipe.
The hoisin sounded fantastic, and Tom did mention that you could eat it with a spoon! Since that was a no-brainer, the only ingredient to switch up was the brandy. Pam has quince trees, and last year while visiting her, she showed me how to make fruit-flavored brandy. We picked some quince, washed and quartered three of them, and placed them in a huge Ball jar. Next we added a bottle of mediocre brandy, 3 whole star anise, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 3 whole allspice (or maybe it was juniper berries — I can’t remember exactly!). The flavors married for 30 (or was it 60?) days and bingo! — fantastic quince brandy that I use over and over in sauces, chutneys, sautéing, and so on.
Off to the butcher I went to make my duck decision (confit of legs because they were less expensive and looked fabulous), and back home to prep the water bath. I also made extra duck to have on hand for another meal.
Makes 10 to 12 egg rolls (serves 1 per person as an appetizer)
- Remove the skin and any extra fat from the duck legs and shred the meat. Place the meat in a medium bowl. Add the cilantro and sesame seeds to the duck and mix to combine. Set aside.
- In a wok or skillet over high heat, stir fry the ginger and garlic in the 2 tablespoons of oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add scallions and carrot and cook for 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, tamari, and sugar. Add the liquid mixture to the skillet along with the shredded cabbage and continue sautéing for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and the liquid has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Add the contents of the skillet to the bowl with the shredded duck and stir to combine. Add the pomegranate molasses and stir to combine all the ingredients.
- To fill and roll the egg roll wrappers, work with 1 wrapper at a time. Position a wrapper diagonally on a flat work surface with 1 corner of the diamond closest to you. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper and spread it crosswise into a cylindrical shape in the center of the wrapper. With your finger or a pastry brush, paint a little water around the perimeter of the wrapper about a half-inch from the edges. Roll the corner closest to you over the filling. Fold in the sides of the wrapper and continue rolling it until the filling is enclosed. Press to seal, set aside, and continue until you’ve used all of the filling. Refrigerate until ready to fry.
- Heat the peanut oil to 360°F in an electric deep fryer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Or, heat the oil to 360°F in a high-sided cast iron pan or wok, using enough oil to come up the sides of the pan about 1 inch. Carefully slide a few egg rolls into the preheated oil; do not overcrowd the pan or allow them to touch. Fry until nicely golden brown, watching closely and turning if needed. Remove the cooked egg rolls to clean paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Serve with the hoisin sauce.
Makes about 2 cups
- Heat the corn oil in a medium saucepan. Add the minced garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown. Add the hoisin sauce and the sesame oil and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the brandy and vinegar and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring constantly to keep the sauce from sticking to the pan. Add the stock and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the sauce is well blended and thickened. Cool the sauce and pour into a jar with a tight fitting lid. The sauce will keep for 1 month refrigerated.