Birthday Noodles: Duck Wonton Noodle Soup

As a follow-up to Jaymee's Miso Soup, I have another soup recipe that uses fresh mushrooms: Duck Wonton Noodle Soup. I made this for my mom's birthday last Wednesday because it's a Filipino custom for a birthday celebrant to eat noodles. So I'm sharing this recipe today in her honor...because it's my mom's birthday...again. Confused? Well, allow me to explain...

Mom was born on February 13th, but the hospital made a mistake and put February 20th on her birth certificate instead. Ever since I can remember, my family has celebrated her birthday on both days. Her friends and co-workers even greet her on both days. It just became a fun, inside joke for everyone that knows my mom.

As our own mini-celebration, my mom and I went shopping last week...for food, of course. We spent some quality mother-daughter time shopping at a couple of different Asian markets. (I know it sounds a little weird, but when you really think about's actually pretty fitting.) This Duck Wonton Noodle Soup is a product of that shopping trip. All random ingredients that I bought on a whim, but they ultimately came together to make a beautiful, tasty dish. So, on her "second" birthday, here's to Mom and birthday noodles! Here's my recipe for Duck Wonton Noodle Soup :)

My mom bought us a whole roasted duck for lunch that, but there was no way we'd be able to finish it. I've made a dumpling with duck in it before, so I thought that wonton soup was a perfect opportunity to put our leftovers to use. (If you ever have leftovers from getting takeout or eating at your favorite Chinese restaurant, this is a great way to "re-purpose" the duck.)

Along with the duck, I had mushrooms, baby bok choy, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger on hand, which all made perfect sense for a dumpling filling. I also bought fresh egg noodles to use for a completely separate dish, but wontons and noodles are such a yummy combination that I had to throw them into the mix as well.

To make the filling, I used fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms. I diced up half and reserved the other half for roasting. This gave me betweeen 2 and 2 1/2 cups of diced mushroom.

Next, I removed as much of the duck meat as I could from the bones and saved the bones for the soup broth. (I used about half of a duck.) After dicing the meat into tiny cubes, skin and all, I had roughly 2 cups.

For the baby bok choy, either thin slices (like a chiffonade) or a small dice will work. I chose to use bok choy because it has a slight peppery-ness in the leaves and a hint of bitterness in the stalks. Bok choy is a clean, crisp vegetable that can balance the rich, fatty duck and the earthy mushrooms.

In some canola oil, I sauteed a tablespoon each of minced garlic and minced ginger. Then, I added the duck meat to render some fat from the meat and skin. The mushrooms went in next (soaking up all of that delicious duck fat!), and the bok choy was added last. (At the last second, I chopped some scallions and threw those in as well, but you can make this ingredient optional if you want.) I cooked this mixture until the mushrooms were tender and the bok choy was wilted.

While waiting for the filling to cool down a bit, I roasted the remaining mushrooms. Shiitakes and oysters can have a sweetness to them when cooked, and roasting is a perfect way to heighten that flavor. The mushrooms caramelize on the edges and pair so well with the roasted duck.

The egg noodles (which you can find in the refrigerated section of the Asian market, usually next to the tofu) also need to be pre-cooked. Many Asian recipes recommend cooking the fresh noodles in boiling water for a couple of minutes then immediately rinsing them in cold water, so I followed this method and then drained the noodles.

Finally, to make the dumplings, I placed 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of a single wonton wrapper. Using my fingers, I lightly brushed the edges of the wrapper with water.

That step makes sure the wonton seals after I fold it. Before pinching the edges to seal the wonton, I made sure to push out any air bubbles. You can also stop here and keep the shape simple. However, I decided to make a fun little shape out of my wontons :)

They reminded me of little boats...or hats.

(Tip: This recipe makes a little over 2 dozen dumplings. If you want to make a smaller batch of soup, freeze the rest of the wontons in a Ziploc. They'll be available whenever you feel like making soup, steaming, or cooking potsticker-style.)

I didn't want the duck bones to go to waste, so I used them to bolster the vegetable broth and add depth to the soup's flavor. To do this, I just covered the duck bones with vegetable broth. Then, I let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.

I strained the broth to remove the bones, then returned the broth to the pot. I brought it to a simmer, and added the roasted mushrooms, pre-cooked noodles, and more chopped bok choy.

Lastly, I added the wontons. 

Once everything was in the pot, the wonton wrappers and bok choy only needed about 2-3 minutes to cook. (Wontons will float to the top when they're done.)

If you have even more leftover duck, slice some up and use it as a garnish for your soup. Ladle into bowls and enjoy! This recipe serves up to 6 people as an appetizer or up to 4 as an entree.

Duck Wonton Noodle Soup (serves 4-6)

Print Recipe

1/2 lb Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms
1/2 lb Fresh Oyster Mushrooms
1 tbsp Minced Garlic
1 tbsp Minced Ginger
2 cups Chopped Roasted Duck
2 cups Chopped Baby Bok Choy (optional: plus more for garnish)
1/4 cup Chopped Scallions (optional: plus more for garnish)
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 package Wonton Wrappers
3 qts Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1 lb Fresh Chinese Egg Noodles, pre-cooked and rinsed

  1. Chop half of the mushrooms for the wonton filling, and slice the other half for roasting. To roast the mushrooms, toss lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until tender and slightly browned. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. To make the wonton filling, add 2 tbsp cooking oil to a sautee pan over medium heat. Sautee the minced garlic and ginger until aromatic. Add the chopped duck meat, and cook for 1 more minute to render fat. Next, add chopped mushrooms, chopped bok choy, chopped scallions, and soy sauce. Cook this mixture until the mushrooms are tender and the bok choy is wilted. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. To make the wontons, place 1 tsp of filling in the center of 1 wonton wrapper. Lightly brush water on the edges of the wrapper, then form the wontons into desired shape.
  4. For the soup, bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the roasted mushrooms, prepared noodles, wontons, and more bok choy (optional). Cook the soup at a gentle simmer for 2-3 more minutes, just until the wonton wrappers have cooked and the bok choy is tender.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with chopped scallions (optional), and serve immediately. Enjoy!