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[Recipe] Pato Tim (Duck)

Pata Tim

I had my parents come over and visit me over the Christmas and New Year holidays and that meant good home cooked meals (actually it is more of me cooking for them rather than my mother cooking for me). We were contemplating on what will be the main dish of our New Year feast and considering the availability of local ingredients, we decided on making Pato Tim which is very similar to the Pata Tim. It is a Filipino-Chinese dish with a savory-sweet sauce traditionally prepared during special occasions. I actually did not have much experience cooking duck but I do have a recipe for Pata Tim so I based it from there. I needed help in finding out how to prepare the duck though (thanks Google) to render out the duck fat from that fatty layer just underneath the skin. Hope you all enjoy the recipe and feel free to add suggestions in the comments section. Oh by the way, my parents loved it and my mother asked me to write down the recipe here :)

1 to 1.5 Kilos Dressed Whole Duck (I cut out the head and the feet but it all depends on your individual preference of course)
1 small can pineapple tidbits in syrup (about 300 grams) do not drain
1 cup sliced straw mushrooms
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 cups roughly chopped Chinese Pechay
1 cup Asparagus tips
1/2 cup celery stalks chopped
3-5 pieces Star Anise (optional) 
1-2 rolls of cinnamon bark (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized onion, quartered
1/2 pinkie finger sized ginger cut into strips (not your standard cooking measurement and you may want to adjust that since I have a big finger haha)
3 pieces Bay Leaves 
2 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
2 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
2 Tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon ground dried oregano
1 can 7-UP or Sprite (or alternately you can use brown sugar to sweeten to taste)
1/4 cup thick Soy Sauce or 1/2 cup Light Soy Sauce
1/3 cup Oyster Sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
Salt to taste

Preparing the duck: After thawing the duck (if you bought your duck frozen like what I did), poke holes on the skin of the duck all over with a pointed knife so that the fat can render out during cooking. On a steamer, steam the duck for at least an hour to let the fat render out.

On a separate pot (a big Wok in my case - big enough to fit in the duck and you can still cover it properly), saute the garlic and onions in vegetable oil until garlic is golden brown, add the mushrooms into the mix then the ginger followed by the whole can of pineapple tidbits, syrup and all. Add the Bay leaves, cinnamon bark, Star Anise, ground peppercorns, oregano and pour in the rest of the liquid ingredients namely the oyster sauce, the soy sauce, the Worcestershire sauce, the white vinegar and the 7-Up or Sprite. Bring to a simmer while waiting for the duck.

After an hour has passed, place the steamed duck on the pot with the simmering sauce. Try to bathe the duck with the sauce inside out (using a pair of tongs to firmly hold the duck)then let simmer in the sauce first on one side then on the other so that the duck gets all the flavors all over. Cook for another hour or so. Then place the duck on a deep baking dish (I use a non-stick Tefal pan with removable handles for this) and broil in the oven until brown. Let the remaining sauce reduce in the pot and do all the necessary last minute adjustments on the taste (at this point you may want to remove the star anise, cinnamon bark, and bay leaves). Add the Pechay (stalk first then the leaves) and the chopped asparagus and on a small bowl dissolve the corn starch in water and combine with the reducing sauce to let it thicken. Pour the sauce into the browned duck on the baking dish and bake for another 10 or so minutes.

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