Smoked Tea Duck Noodles

February 23, 2015


Author Notes: I love all things ducky and smoky, and what I set out to do here was get that goodness without having to actually smoke anything. I used Lapsan Souchong tea and a dash of toasted sesame oil to achieve the flavors I was after, and it worked pretty darn well. The result is a hearty, unctuous (Aaron Sánchez loves that word -- do you watch Chopped?) , and pleasantly fatty bowl of noodles and duck.aargersi

Food52 Review: WHO: Aargersi is a 3-time contest winner, most recently for Your Best Coconut.
WHAT: Garlicky noodles topped with not-actually-smoked smoked duck.
HOW: Brine duck legs in Lapsan Souchon, then roast until tender. Use the duck fat to fry the duck and mushrooms, then combine the meat and vegetables with egg noodles that have been boiled in the smoky tea as well.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Here’s a smart, smart way to achieve smokiness without going through the pain of setting up a stove-top smoker. The mushrooms and green onions make this dish feel slightly more sophisticated than Chinese takeout, but it’s close enough to satisfy as if it came from our favorite restaurant.
The Editors

Serves: 2

Ingredients

For the duck and brine:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 Lapsan Souchon tea bags
  • 2 whole anise stars
  • 2 duck legs

For the duck noodle bowl:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Lapsang Souchong tea bags
  • Duck, skin, and fat from above
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 6 ounces Chinese egg noodles
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Bragg liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
In This Recipe

Directions

For the duck and brine:

  1. In a large pot, create a brine for the duck legs: Bring everything but the duck legs to a boil. Once it has reached boil, remove from heat and allow to steep and cool to room temperature. Put the duck legs in a container large enough for them and the brine, and pour the brine over. Allow them to brine for several hours or overnight.
  2. When they are good and soaked, remove the legs and pat them dry. Discard the brine.
  3. Heat a small, heavy skillet that is oven-safe over medium heat. (My 8-inch cast-iron skillet worked great.) Preheat the oven to 325º F.
  4. Place the legs in the skillet skin side-down, and allow to slowly brown and render. The trick here is to get a deep golden skin and lots of fat without burning, which works well at a lower heat. Once the skin is golden brown and there is a good amount of fat in the pan, flip the legs over and cover the pan with foil. Pop the pan in the oven and roast the legs until very tender, about 2 hours.
  5. You can stop here and finish the recipe the next day -- just save the legs and the fat, or continue to make the noodle bowl immediately.

For the duck noodle bowl:

  1. Fill a large pot with water, add the salt and tea bags, bring to a boil, and turn the heat off immediately. Allow the tea bags to steep.
  2. Meanwhile, put the duck fat into a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Remove the skin from the duck legs and fry it in the fat until crispy, then set on a paper towel to drain.
  3. Add mushrooms to the pan and fry them until they begin to crisp up. Pull the meat off of the duck legs, tear it, and add it to the mushrooms. Add the pepper.
  4. While the duck and mushrooms cook, remove the tea bags from the water, return to a boil, and cook the noodles according to package directions. They will be nicely infused with a subtle smokiness.
  5. When the noodles are cooked, drain them, and add them to the skillet with the mushrooms and duck. Toss, add the liquid aminos (or soy sauce) and sesame oil. Taste the noodles and add more aminos if you'd like. Toss in the green onions to just wilt them.
  6. Serve the noodles in two bowls and either crumble the crispy skin on top or serve it in chips along with the noodle bowl. That's all -- eat up!

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Chicken|Green Onion/Scallion|Noodle|Sesame Oil|Soy Sauce|Duck|Cast Iron|Smoke|Fry|Entree

Reviews (50) Questions (0)

50 Reviews

hevandriel March 20, 2016
Pretty much anything that includes lapsang souchong tea will get my attention, but when you add duck legs to the title... After fantasizing for weeks, I finally made this, and it was worth every minute and every penny. The best compliment, from my husband: "Is there more?" I forgot to tell him that the recipe served 2. A bunch of you commenters were smarter, and made bigger portions! Thank you, Abbie, for sharing this with the Food52 community!
 
Author Comment
aargersi March 21, 2016
I am so glad you liked it! I am brining some fresh ham hocks in a lapsang souchong brine right now, and making my own "smoked" hocks for beans and such. It's good stuff.
 
Jessica K. October 17, 2015
Could this be done with duck breasts? Or would I have to buy duck fat separately in case i don't have enough if I use the breasts? I just picked up a box of this tea and can't wait to experiment with recipes!
 
Author Comment
aargersi October 19, 2015
The breasts should have plenty of fat, their texture is different than the legs but I think you can work with them, they should still ultimately shred and taste just fine!
 
rebecca October 11, 2015
I tripled this recipe and made these for a dinner party of 10, and they were fantastic! I brined 6 legs for 24h, then used 2 separate pans - one saute pan, one dutch oven - to brown, cook, and render the legs. After they were cooked, I strained off much of the fat and cooked off the noodles and veg in the same dutch oven. Worked great and my guests really enjoyed it. (p.s. - Found the tea at Whole Foods!)
 
Patricia B. September 11, 2015
How many grams is 1 teabag? It is because i can only find the tea in big bags
 
Author Comment
aargersi September 11, 2015
My box has 1.4 oz of tea, 20 tea bags and 1 oz = app 30 g so a little over a gram, lets call it 2. <br /><br />I do non-specific math only. Heh.
 
Patricia B. September 11, 2015
Okay, thank you very much
 
calliehoo March 23, 2015
Made this, loved it. But two things:<br />1. Why are the editors consistently referring to this recipe as "garlicky" when it doesn't have a single clove of garlic in it?<br />2. Where are people finding this tea? I live in Chinatown, and had to go to six different stores before I found it (and even then, the label was only in Chinese, so I had to trust that it was the right one).
 
savorthis March 23, 2015
I have never found it in our asian markets (!) but can always find it in bags at whole foods as well as loose at some tea/coffee shops (Pete's has it here in Colorado).
 
Author Comment
aargersi March 23, 2015
Green onion maybe = garlicky? You could add garlic :-)
 
Diana March 29, 2015
I ordered the tea on-line at vitacost.com
 
Celecel March 23, 2015
I hate the use of the word "unctuous" in describing food. It is not a compliment to describe people or food as unctuous--greasy, oily food and two-faced, oily, insincere people. I wish Aaron Sanchez would stop using "unctuous". I cringe every time he utters that word.
 
Billy S. March 23, 2015
Please define "duck leg". Is this the drumstick AND thigh? Can you at least give an approximate weight? (I want to triple the recipe to serve 6)
 
Author Comment
aargersi March 23, 2015
Yep! Drumstick and thigh, I didn't get a weight but the ones at my store are all about the same size-wish.
 
Domenica March 23, 2015
Use one leg (drumstick and thigh) for each person.<br />
 
Domenica March 23, 2015
Actually, as long as you are making this, make a few extra. fabulous cold the next day, or in a salad<br />
 
Jean D. March 23, 2015
This is a must try!! My mouth is watering. Even my little RV oven will be able to do this one on the road. Thanks
 
PS007 March 23, 2015
This recipe looks good, I love LS tea. My fave easy use for it is to blend the leaves w salt and sprinkle on edamame, yum.<br />I do think it's a bit funny that the alternative to "the pain of setting up a stove-top smoker" is to boil and cool a brine for an overnight soak.
 
coffeefoodwrite March 20, 2015
Yum! Looks delicious!<br />
 
Rey C. March 19, 2015
Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing.
 
Zelda March 15, 2015
The deliciousness of this dish belies its simplicity. I couldn't resist rubbing the legs with a little 5 spice before roasting, adding some onion wedges half way through the cooking time, and glazing with a mixture of blackcurrant vinegar and honey towards the end. The flesh was moist and tender, with a delicate smokiness, the skin burnished and crisp, and the duck juices had mingled with the sweet, melting onions. I used dried, rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, with a few fresh oyster mushrooms. This dish marries complex, robust flavours - gamey duck, woody mushrooms, smokey tea- with no reliance on bottled sauces or condiments that can all too often dull the brightness of fresh ingredients. It can be easily scaled up with no extra work (I roasted 6 legs, leftovers will find their way into fried rice or congee), and adapted for gluten free diners with rice noodles. It's a clear winner for me!
 
Author Comment
aargersi March 15, 2015
Your version sounds wonderful! I will try it next!!! Thanks for posting it
 
anotherfoodieblogger March 14, 2015
Oh wow, who knew you could use tea to "smoke" something??? Awesome recipe, congratulations!!!
 
Gerlinde D. March 14, 2015
What a creative recipe, I am definitely going to try it. I love duck, my favorite being duck confit.
 
Tory N. March 13, 2015
This looks verrrrrry intriguing. May have to try this one.
 
EmilyC March 13, 2015
Congrats Abbie -- this is such a creative recipe! I love duck and can't wait to try it. I also wonder if I could make a dry rub out of your brine ingredients and slather it over a big pork shoulder before doing a low and slow roast?? Ever use smoky tea in a dry brine?? Love recipes like this that immediately inspire! Good luck!
 
savorthis March 13, 2015
I agree EmilyC that this is a great idea for duck and I can verify whole heartedly that smoked tea is amazing on pork. I simmer pork ribs and shoulder in a mix of aromatics (shallot, ginger, garlic), fermented black beans, sherry and the tea and it is a magical combination (especially with sweet potatoes). Also, NOT to be missed is the masala chai ribs by QueenSashy. She uses Assam tea which had more of a caramel than smoke flavor, but it is also an amazing recipe.
 
Author Comment
aargersi March 14, 2015
I think you are both correct and it would be fabulous on pork. Now I want to try that too!!!
 
mrslarkin March 13, 2015
holy yum! Adding to the "stuff I want to make" folder. Congrats, Abbie!
 
Flirty F. March 13, 2015
Aargersi, this recipe sounds divine. A little fattening, but that's okay, I'll make it, enjoy it, and then have a low cal vegan meal the day after to compensate.
 
Aliwaks March 13, 2015
This smoked tea is AMAZEBALLS and you should all try it- http://ambessa.com/product/the-earl-of-harlem/ <br /><br /> <br />
 
LE B. March 12, 2015
Ha Ha! I KNEW you were worthy of this and I'm so pleased that the 52 Editors really GOT the smart specialness of what you created! Congrats; you deserve it!