We’ve bought green tea, mochi, peanut oil, frozen dumplings and even some very cool tea cups from Shuin. Finally, yesterday, we got to try Shuin’s famous smoked duck. My husband had to pre-order it two days ahead and it just had to be picked up for last night’s dinner.
Smoked duck is not the same as the roast duckling I’ve cooked at home in the past. For one thing, the skin of the smoked duck wasn’t crisp and that’s the reason I decided not to serve the skin with Chinese pancakes. We just ate the duck with fried rice and that was it. My daughter Sam asked why I didn’t cook the duck myself which I take it to mean she preferred home-roasted duck. But, you know, I wanted to try Shuin’s smoked duck and it’s not like it was bad. It was good, actually, albeit a little bland. But smoked meat is smoked meat and there is a distinct flavor that I’d trade for the crisp skin anytime.
The real magic, however, was in the bones. After dinner, I took the bones and boiled them with leeks, garlic, onion and peppercorns. I let everything simmer for two hours and the result was a deep golden broth that is so rich and wonderful that I wanted to cook three different soups with it. My father used to smoke duck and he used tea leaves to do it. I don’t know if Shuin uses tea leaves too. If it does, some other barks and herbs must have been added because there was a distinct woody flavor in the broth.
I have cooked one soup dish using the duck broth — kalabasa and potato soup — and I’ll be doing two more very soon.