The weather in the western region of China is so hot and humid that chefs devised an alternative method of steaming and then roasting to make this Sichuan style Peking duck. This version, easily made in advance, is served with steamed buns.
1 duck, about 5 pounds,fresh or frozen
5 slicesfresh ginger, crushed lightly with a cleaver
1 scallion, white part crushed with a cleaver
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon FiveSpice Powder (recipe is here)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
20 steamed Lotus Leaf Buns (recipe here)
1. Thaw the duck, if frozen. Remove excess fat from the neck and cavity. Rinse and dry well.
2. Place the duck on a hard surface and press down hard on the breastbone to break the ribs and backbone. (The broken bones release their flavors when steamed, or when deep fried in the traditional recipe.) With a small paring knife, cut deep slashes into the thickest part of the thigh and leg. Rub the crushed ginger and scallion on the entire surface of the duck, inside and out.
3. Roast the Sichuan peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat until their aroma is released. Add the Five Spice Powder, shaking the skillet gently, and then remove from the heat. When cool, rub the entire surface of the duck, inside and out, with the peppercorn mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. Hold the duck over the sink and brush off the peppercorns. Discard the peppercorns and place the duck in a heatproof dish with a half inch rim.
5. Put a 3 inch high rack into an oblong roaster, then pour in 3 inches of boiling water. Place the dish with the duck on the rack, cover and steam over medium heat for 1 half hours. Check the water level every 20 minutes to be sure the water does not dry out; add more boiling water if necessary.
6. Carefully remove the duck to a rack over a shallow pan. Allow to cool completely, then rub the outside of the duck with the soy sauce and let dry thoroughly.
7. Preheat the oven to 375_ F. Place the pan with the duck in the middle of the oven and roast for 1 hour.
8. Just before serving, put the buns in a single layer in a bamboo steamer, cover and steam for 10 minutes.
9. Cut the duck into bite size pieces, removing the large bones. Arrange on a serving platter and serve hot between split steamed buns, like sandwiches.