Leftovers – How a $20 duck fed my wife and I for three days.

Apr 4, 2018 | Chicken and Poultry, Cooking Tips, Recipes

Leftovers can get pretty boring. Just think of Christmas or Thanksgiving. You get so tired of turkey by the end of it that you never want to eat it again. This doesn’t have to be the case. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can use leftovers to create unique meals that will make you forget you’re eating the same thing as the night before. Learning this skill will help you stretch your grocery budget further than ever before.

This is the story of how one $20 duck fed my wife and me three distinct meals.

Late last week I was wandering around the grocery store when something caught my eye. In the area of the protein aisle where the sale items are displayed, there were ducks. It is very rare that duck goes on sale. I saw this as an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. And with that, I had a duck in my arms and a smile on my face.

When I arrived home I showed my wife the duck as though I was an excited retriever returning to my master from a marsh with freshly killed fowl. She appeared indifferent (although I know she’ll argue this with me). Her indifference was due to the fact that she was unaware of my vision.

Duck. Duck. Duck soup.

The first thing I did when I got home with my duck was free it from the confines of its packaging. I then laid it out on a roasting rack and set it to dry in the fridge for a few days. Drying the duck like this makes for nice crispy skin when roasted. This works with chicken as well. Three days after I had bought the duck, it was ready to be cooked.

Duck Day One.

roast duck duck breastleft over duck

The first meal I cooked with the duck was pretty simple. Duck roasted in a hot oven. Glazed with a soy and honey reduction. Served sliced thin, with rice and steamed vegetables. It was delicious. The duck was medium well, so it still had a touch of pink. It was tender and juicy. We ate one breast between the two of us that first night. The remaining duck was returned to the fridge until the next day.

Duck Day Two. Leftovers Part One.

spring roll step oneduck spring roll step twoduck spring roll

The second meal we had with the duck was even more simple than the first. I made duck salad rolls. They were delicious and surprisingly filling.

I mixed thinly sliced carrot, celery, green onion, napa cabbage, and duck meat. To this, I added the zest of one orange, a touch of soy sauce, some chili sauce and a tsp of Chinese five spice. I then soaked some rice paper wrappers. I put a thin line of the leftover duck glaze from the previous night down the center of the wrapper, filled it with the duck and vegetable mixture and rolled it up. Again, they were delicious and surprisingly filling. A healthy and delicious way to use up some duck.

Duck Day Three. Leftovers Part Two.

leftovers duck soupserving hot and sour duck soup made from leftoversbowl of hot and sour duck soup

The final meal I made with the duck, may have been the most exciting. I simmered the carcass for about an hour then strained and reserved the liquid. I picked all the meat I could off of the carcass and discarded the bones. I then sauteed one sliced onions, one sliced carrot, and one sliced celery stalk until the onions started to brown. I added three chopped cloves of garlic, and one tablespoon of chopped ginger. I cooked this all for a minute or two and then added one teaspoon of Chinese five spice, one teaspoon of chili flakes, and four dried Thai red chilies. I deglazed the pan with half a cup of white vinegar and then returned the duck broth to the pot.

I left my soup simmer for about an hour. I then added one cup of shredded napa cabbage, four sliced green onions, all of the duck meat, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. I finished the soup with some soaked and chopped rice noodles.

I turned a sad duck carcass into a flavourful and vibrant hot and sour soup.

The point of all of this is that if you put a little thought into it, leftovers can become something new and exciting. All three of these dishes have a lot in common. However, they are different enough that you would never know you were eating leftovers. That should be the goal. There was not a point in the last three days where my wife or I said “Oh man! Duck again!”

All it takes is a little forethought and planning and you can stretch your grocery budget and still have a series of unique and enjoyable meals.



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