Soup of the Week: Duck & Soba Noodle

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll have sussed a couple of things about me:

1 – I’ll not toss a carcass until it’s been used at least twice.

2 – I LOVE soup.

As such, it goes without saying that most of the time, the second thing I do with a carcass is turn it into soup and such is the case for this recipe: I found myself with the remnants of a roasted duck and, now that the weather has taken a turn for the decidedly cooler (after an already cold and damp summer), a hankering for a simple and deliciously bone-warming soup.

This soup is as comforting as an old school chicken noodle soup, and one could totally replace the ducks bits with the bits of any other poultry, but the seasonings and other ingredients for this one are catered specifically to complementing the unique flavour of duck.

This recipe makes enough for 6 meal-sized servings.

What you need for the broth:

  • 1 roast duck carcass or a pound or two of roast duck bones, cleaned of meat (if you kept the gizzards, you can chuck those in, too, unless you like to eat them, in which case you can save them for the soup)
  • 1 greens from one large leek, cleaned and cut down to fit into your pot
  • A one inch chunk of ginger, smashed
  • The zest of one lemon or orange
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppers
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3-4 juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 star anise pods
  • Enough cold water to cover

What you do to make the broth:

Stovetop method: Toss everything into a large pot, cover with the water and let simmer over medium-low heat for 2-2.5 hours. Occasionally, add water as necessary to keep  the broth ingredients covered. Let sit until cool enough to handle, then strain the broth into another large pot or bowl. I like to strain the broth again through a fine cone sieve to get the little bits out – I clean my large stock pot in between strainings and just strain back into that and continue my soup-making in there.

Instant Pot method: Toss everything into the bowl of the Instant pot (break the duck down to fit, as necessary) and add enough water to just cover. Using manual mode and high pressure, cook for 25 minutes and quick release the pressure. Turn off the warming function and let sit until cool enough to handle. Strain the broth into a large pot or bowl. I like to strain the broth again through a fine cone sieve to get the little bits out, so yet another pot may be required, or you can clean and reuse the Instant Pot’s bowl.

What you need to assemble the soup:

  • Your broth
  • 4 bundles of soba noodles (approximately 400 g)
  • 4 cups of tender, cookable, leafy greens, roughly chopped – spinach, kale, chard, bok choi are your best bets
  • 2 cups of cooked duck meat, in bite-sized pieces
  • 150 g cluster of brown beech mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and divided into individual shrooms
  • 150 g shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • White part of one large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 sake
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Finely ground Sichuan pepper for serving

What you do to assemble your soup:

  1. Cook your soba noodles al dente according to package instructions, strain, toss in a little olive oil and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil, the leek and the mushrooms and cook just until the mushrooms begin to brown, then add the duck meat, reduce heat to low and let coast until ready to serve.
  3. In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic and ginger. Cook until the garlic is just browning, then stir in your broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Taste test frequently and add salt or water, as necessary.
  4. Divide the noodles and leafy greens evenly between the bowls in which the soup will be served, deglaze the leek, mushroom and duck mixture with a little sake, then divide that mixture between the bowls, as well.
  5. Bring the broth to a boil, add the sake, then pour plenty of the hot broth into each bowl.
  6. Sprinkle with a little Sichuan pepper and tuck in!

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