Dishy freezer dishes

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By Jan Bilton

We’re expecting a truck load of visitors this coming month so I’ve been freezing a selection of mouth-watering meals in expectation. This includes a favourite way of cooking a whole duck — in a slow cooker.

Asian spices flavour the duck which can be served in Chinese pancakes available frozen from many Asian supermarkets, or on rice or noodles.

I like to freeze meals in the containers in which they will be reheated. Line the casserole or baking dish first with foil or plastic film, add the cooked meal, cover tightly and freeze. Once solid, it can be removed and stored in an airtight container back in the freezer. This allows you to use the baking dish for other meals.

SLOW-COOKED DUCK A LA MANDARIN

Tender and tasty. The mandarins could be replaced with two large oranges. For duck supplies, check out Quack a Duck at 20 Carters Cres, Cambridge, www.quackaduck.co.nz

2.3kg farmed whole duck

Duck a la Mandarin

4 shallots, sliced

5 cm piece root ginger, peeled and sliced

6 mandarins, peeled and sliced

2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice

4 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick, broken

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 cup chicken stock

Sauce: 2 cups cooking liquid

1 tablespoon each: rice flour, water

salt and pepper to taste

Thaw the duck completely, if frozen. Wipe the duck inside and out with a paper towel. Remove the wings and legs if the duck is too large for your slow-cooker. They can be cooked alongside the duck.

Place the shallots and ginger on the base of the slow cooker. Insert the mandarins into the duck cavity. Sprinkle the duck evenly with the five-spice. Place breast-side down on the shallots and ginger. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, hoisin and stock. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until very tender. Leave until cool enough to handle.

Place the duck on a chopping board. Pull the meat from the bones. Place the meat evenly in a foil or plastic film-lined baking dish. Chill.

Strain the juices in to bowl. Refrigerate or freeze until the fat sets. Remove the fat. Place the juices in a saucepan. Mix the rice flour and water to a paste and stir into the juice. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season. Cool. Pour over the duck and freeze. Once solid, remove to an airtight container.

To serve, heat gently from frozen in the baking dish. Can be garnished with grated mandarin rind and segments.

Serve in Chinese duck pancakes with extra hoisin sauce or on rice topped with shredded spring onions and coriander. Serves 6.

  • Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more of her recipes check out her website here.

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