Have you ever walked by the windows full of beautifully lacquered roasted ducks in Chinatown and wondered what exactly to do with them once you got them home? I often find myself gazing longingly at the birds, but I rarely ever buy one to bring home.
If you are looking for an excuse to pick up a roasted duck, I can't think of a better one than Sunday's celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Here is a recipe from Helen Chen's newly released Easy Asian Noodles that makes great use of a whole roasted duck, Cantonese Roast Duck Soup Noodles. This easy-to-assemble soup starts out with chicken broth, either homemade or store brought, that is enriched with ginger and rice wine; then, in go the greens, duck, and noodles. The real flavor here comes from the sweet and savory roasted duck, with all of its wonderfully fatty meat. This soup might not be complicated but it's a wonderful warming bowl, and a low-key way to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
- 12 ounces Chinese wheat or egg noodles, or vermicelli or thin spaghetti
- 4 cups canned chicken broth plus
- 4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 3 slices unpeeled fresh ginger
- 8 ounces yu choy, cut into 2-inch pieces, or other fresh greens such as spinach, watercress Napa cabbage, etc.
- 1⁄2 Chinese roast duck, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the dried noodles until a little softer than al dente, about 3 minutes, or 2 minutes if the noodles are fresh. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside to drain again.
Pour the broth mixture into a saucepan and add the wine and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the greens and cook until they are just wilted and tender; do not overcook. Add the duck—about 3 to 5 pieces per person—and 2 or 3 tablespoons of the sauce that the shops pack with the duck. Cook until the broth just returns to a boil. Remove from the heat and add salt to taste.
Rinse the cooked noodles with a kettle of boiling water to warm and loosen. Drain thoroughly, and divide the noodles evenly between four large noodle bowls. Top each bowl with some of the greens, pieces of duck, and a teaspoonful of the scallion. Remove and discard the ginger from the broth, if desired. Ladle the hot broth over the toppings and noodles and serve immediately.
Note: Do not let the noodles sit too long in the hot broth because they will absorb the liquid and lose their chewy texture.