Hands up…who likes burgers? Who likes duck pancakes? Well, you are in luck! Here is my latest creation that combines the two, I give you a crunchy shredded duck burger!
I’m sure you won’t be surprised that I have eaten many a burger over the years, I just can’t resist them if I see them on a menu! They used to be a convenient fast food but for several years we have seen an increase in gourmet burger bars opening up, such as Honest Burger and Byron. They use a higher quality of meat and offer a more adventurous selection of toppings.
There are so many burger recipes out there, so I wanted to come up with something that was a little different. I wanted to make a burger that combines the flavours of one of my other big food loves, crispy shredded duck pancakes. And you know what, a duck burger really does hit the spot!
Rather than mincing the duck meat and then frying, as you would do with a normal beef burger, I slow cooked the duck legs and then shredded them before turning then into patties. This keeps the duck burger nice and juicy – no one likes a dry burger! They are slow cooked in spices and sauces to have that classical Chinese flavour. I used duck legs rather than breast as you can slow cook them and they have a much deeper, gamier flavour. A sprinkle of panko breadcrumbs on top of the patties to give that extra bit of crunch.
The plum sauce is salty and sweet and really works beautifully with the duck. If you taste it by itself it does taste quite salty, but do trust me on this, it compliments the duck burger perfectly. The freshness of the cucumber and spring onion salad perfectly lifts each mouthful. I used a brioche bun for this burger as the duck can really take the extra sweetness.
Yes, this does take longer to make than a traditional beef burger but I promise that this is truly worth a little bit more effort. It takes around 3 hours to make, but remember, a lot of that is slow cooking the duck legs – hardly tricky stuff here! Don’t skip any refrigerator time when setting the patties as this will help them firm up. They are quite fragile so work slowly and take your time for the best results.
To slow cook the duck
- 4 duck legs
- 2 tbsp Chinese five spice
- a pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 onion (diced)
- 2 star anise
- 500ml chicken stock
- 250ml red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp Chinese five spice
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
For the plum sauce
- 400g ripe plums
- 250ml red wine vinegar
- 50ml soy sauce
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 star anise
- 5 thin slices of fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 50g caster sugar
For the cucumber and spring onion mix
- 1 bunch of spring onions
- 1 7cm piece of cucumber
- 2 tbsp egg mayonaise
For the duck burger
- 2 beaten eggs
- 150g panko breadcrumbs
- 4 brioche buns
Pre heat the oven to 160º
Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Season the skin of the duck legs with a pinch of salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of five spice and rub in. Once the pan is hot, lay the duck legs in the pan (two at a time), skin side down. Cook for about 5 minutes until the skin is crispy an golden. Brown the rest of the meat so it is sealed and fat starts to run out clear. Once browned place to one side.
Add the diced onions to the same pan and cook for a couple of minutes until they have softened. Take off the heat.
Take a large casserole, and place the duck legs in skin side up. Add in the cooked diced onions and then the rest of ingredients for the slow cook. Pop a lid on and put in the oven for 2 hours.
While you are waiting for the duck to cook, you can make the plum sauce (you can also make this ahead of time and keep covered in the fridge).
Half the plums and remove the stones and put into a saucepan.Add the red wine vinegar, soy sauce, 100g of the caster sugar, star anise, ginger and garlic. Bring the pan to the boil and then let it simmer for about 20 mins until the plums have soften and the sauce has thickened.
Put a fine sieve over a clean saucepan and pour the plum sauce through the sieve. Using the back of a spoon, push the sauce through. This may take a bit of time so have patience! You should be left with just a tablespoon full of pieces that are too pig to pass through.
Put the pan of sauce on to a medium heat and add in the last 50g of sugar and stir through. Bring the suace up to the boil again and let simmer for around 10-15 minutes until it has thickened. You don’t want a really runny sauce, but nothing too gloopy either. Once ready take off of the heat and leave to one side until ready.
While you are still waiting for the duck, you can make the cucumber and spring onion mix. Chop the green shoots and roots off of the spring onions so you have lengths of around 7-8cm. Slice each on in half lengthways and then in half again. Cut the cucumber into long thin lengths in the same way. Pop the onion and cumber in to a bowl and add the mayonnaise. Mix well and pop into the fridge until needed.
After two hours, remove the casserole from the oven. Gently take out the duck legs with some tongs. Using a fork take off the meat from the bone and put in to a large bowl. The meat should easily come away. Using two forks, shred the duck meat. You want small pieces, so take your time with this. Pop the shredded duck meat in to the fridge for 15 mins to let it cool down so that you can handle it.
Once the duck meat has cooled, add in one beaten egg and mix well. Divide the meat in to four sections, and work it in your hands to create a patty. The meat will be quite wet, its fine to give it a little squeeze (not too much though!) to help the patties hold their shape. Put the patties on a plate and in to the fridge. Leave them in the fridge for at least 30 mins so that they hold their shape and don’t fall apart when cooking.
Beat an egg in one bowl and put the panko breadcrumbs in to another.
When the patties have been in the fridge for long enough, heat a good glug of oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat.
Now, be super gentle with this bit! One at a time, brush a little beaten egg over the duck burger, then sprinkle over a good amount of breadcrumbs over each side. Put into the frying pan and fry for 3-4mins on each side until the breadcrumbs are golden. Remember the duck is already cooked, so don’t over cook. I find it easier to do one at a time so you aren’t over loading the frying pan. Once each burger is done, lay on some kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil.
Toast your brioche buns for a couple of minutes. Pop a patty on the bottom half and a generous dollop of the plum sauce on top. Place on some of the cucumber and spring onion mix and cover with the top of the bun.
Trust me, once you have had a duck burger, beef will be oh so dull!