Comments: Keeping it simple


Hi Meg! I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. I do not have children, but absolutely enjoyed your previous post of making food for your baby! Reading this particular entry reminded me of when I used to make roast duck congee (rice porridge). I dunno if you live close enough to Paris Chinatown or ever experienced Chinese Roast Duck, but it is positively indulgent to buy a whole roast duck, strip it of it's meat and skin, set aside and put all that flavorful bones into a deep stock pot with a cup of rice and simmer away for about 3 hours. It is VERY IMPORTANT to never stir it (otherwise you'll burn the rice, it's true!!). Meanwhile, I would hand-shred the duck mean and scrape as much as the fat off the skin as I possibily can and then cut the skin into very thin slivers. When congee is done, pinch in some salt and pepper to taste (but will need nothing else due to the fragrant spices the RD was already roasted with) and ladle on to a bowl and top the bowl off with the shredded meat and skin. Garnish with some cilantro. If you do venture to try it, do let me know what you think.

jt - what an interesting concept. I might just have to venture down to Chinatown and give it a try. Two questions, though: do you remove the bones from the porridge at some point? And why does stirring burn the rice?

Ohhh, this sounds so delicious. I haven't had lunch yet - wish I could have a cup of this! Thanks for the idea - autumn is a good time to make duck and these warm, filling soups.

Yes, good question. You do remove the bones at the end of simmering. I have no explanation for why the rice burns, but my mother had warned me of it and once or twice, I had forgotten the warning and mindlessly stirred away and sure enough, the rice (at the bottom of pot) promptly burned. When that happened, I just as gently as I could transferred to another pot and left the burnt rice in the first pot and continued simmering on 2nd pot.

BTW, it's worth noting that at my local Chinatown (in San Francisco) a whole roast duck cost less than $10 (a WHOLE COOKED DUCK!!) Given the logic that most Chinatown grocery and food stuff is comparatively cheaper than traditional markets. I'm also betting that the Paris Chinatown will have whole roast duck for nearly similar value, which will still be much much more cheaper than a raw duck at a Paris equivalent of a Whole Foods Market or a Safeway, non?

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