Ok ... having baulked at the price of the smallest goose to be had (about 100 bucks), we decided on the next best alternative, a plump $17 whole duck from Little Saigon.
I hooked out a Teochew Braised Duck recipe online (great blog btw) which involved a slow braise with fairly straightforward ingredients. Boy did the final product pack a punch!
The recipe also includes instructions for an accompanying chilli sauce. I'm not really a fan of sour, particularly of the citrus variety, but it went extremely well with the richness of the duck.
I cooked mine for about 3 hours, although I think I may lessen the cooking time in future. I like a bit of give where my poultry is concerned (I think its the Asian in me). You could get away with about an hour and a half. But its worth the effort spooning the sauce over the parts of the duck not immersed in the cooking liquid. And definitely make sure you turn the bird over once.
If ever you have friends who bemoan the fact that they can't cook but are eager to wow some friends/family, tell them to try this. Its relatively simple but the results are complex in flavour and texture.
We served ours with some chicken rice and some pickled vegetables. The pickle was a quick soak in rice vinegar salt and sugar. The chicken rice was cooked in the rice cooker with a couple of teaspoons of bottled chicken rice sauce - I recommend Uncle Sun Hainan Chicken rice mix.
This is how you do Christmas dinner folks! Oh and thanks to a rather backhanded kris kringle (long story), we enjoyed a bottle of Andrew Glaetzer's Annaperenna, which is super hard to get and is probably worth more than $50 a pop. But oh so yummy!