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Festive Foods: Modern Peking Duck

I'll admit, it's a little weird to feature festive food from a country that doesn't really celebrate Christmas, but well folks, times are changing.

Although only one percent (or less) of the Chinese population is Christian, it appears that Christmas is on the rise. Much like America, urban retailers have now smothered their stores with Christmas trees, lights and wreaths and although it's not a public holiday, Christmas in China (particularly urban areas) is becoming a time to celebrate with friends, family and good food. For a modern spin on traditional Peking Duck,


Hoisin-Roasted Duck with Sweet Potatoes
From Ming Tsai

One 5- to 6-pound duck, rinsed and dried, and visible fat removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups Hoisin-Lime Sauce
1/2 cup red wine
2 large onions, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 large sweet potatoes, washed and cut into 6 to 8 wedges each

1. Season the duck inside and out with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, combine the Hoisin-Lime Sauce and the wine. Rub the duck generously with the mixture inside and out, and marinate in the mixture, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

2. Place a roasting pan in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.

3. Combine the onions and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss.

4. Open the oven and carefully spray the roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place one potato wedge in the pan. The potato should sizzle; if not, remove it and continue to heat the pan. When the pan is very hot, add the potato mixture to the pan and place the duck on top, breast side up. Turn the pan back to front and roast until the duck is brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Tent the duck with foil and continue to roast until the duck is cooked through, or the legs are easily moved, 30 to 35 minutes more. Transfer the duck to a cutting board and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Using a flat spatula, loosen the potato mixture from the pan and transfer to the center of a platter. Place the whole duck on the potatoes, breast side up, and carve at table. You may also carve the duck before serving, separating the leg thighs from the wings, and slicing the breast.

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