Somen Noodle Soup with Roasted Five-Spice Duck

13. December 2006 Duck + Game, Soups, Stocks + Sauces 0

The Chinese use five-spice powder to create a blend of different flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty. You can easily buy them from any grocery store with a well-stocked spice aisle but I prefer to make my own. With one star anise, I used the heart of my palm to measure the other four ingredients and grind them using a mortar and pestle. If you have a Filipino dad, he should be able to grind them for you. You can make a salad from your leftovers by adding some sugar snap peas and chopped red bell peppers. Just whisk together some fish sauce and lime juice in a small bowl and pour over the noodles for dressing.

2 duck legs, excess fat trimmed but skin left on
2 small bundles of somen noodles
4 cups chicken broth
1 star anise
scallions, finely chopped
cilantro, finely chopped
peanut oil
1 tbsp red chili sauce

For the five-spice powder:
1 star anise
1/2-inch cinnamon stick
fennel seeds
whole cloves
black peppercorns

1. Preheat the oven to 400º. In the meantime, lightly coat the duck legs with the five-spice powder and set aside. Heat some oil in a frying pan and brown the duck legs, skin-side down first, about 5 minutes each side. Transfer to a baking dish and cook for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them rest on the chopping board.
2. In a small pot, boil some water and cook the somen noodles for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water while separating noodles with a fork to avoid sticking.
3. In another small pot, let the chicken broth boil with the other star anise. Then simmer for a few minutes with the scallions and cilantro.
4. To serve, divide noodles and ladle broth in bowls and top with sliced duck meat.