Duck and Tomatillo Tacos

IMG_9649Duck is not a usual item on a taco menu. It is not mentioned in the excellent Tacopaedia nor is there an abundance of duck recipes in any of my mexican cook books.

Duck is much more associated with Asian and French cuisine and many wonderful dishes are described. Two such dishes lend themselves perfectly to the world of tacos. The wonderful Peking Duck, shredded soft meat half rolled on a soft pancake with sliced onions and cucumber and a slather of plum sauce is essentially a chinese taco. The slow cooked fat bathed falling off the bone confit de canard is strikingly similar to Carnitas in both texture and technique.

So put these two together and its forms the inspiration for a duck based Taco.

The duck, (or pato) needs to be fatty and meaty. The Muscovy duck is a native breed to central America so could be argued that its the perfect choice but this is so full of flavours and texture that can use duck you can source. This is a domesticated duck recipe and wild duck will not work well here.

Take the duck legs and salt well with a coarse salt. This is ideally done for 24-48 hours before.

Rinse off the salt. Pat dry. Put the legs in a slow cooker or heavy casserole and cover with duck fat or lard. On a very low heat cook for 3-6 hours. depending on your preference aromatics can be added but have a light touch as this method of cooking allows all the flavour containing fat solouble oils to be extracted. Star anise can quickly become overwhelming. Chilli will be enhanced. I find a bayleaf and a pinch of oregano gives a deeper flavoir to the dish.

This is now basically confit de canard and can be cooled and stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Lift the duck from the fat. easier siad than dome as it will be fall apaprt tender. Easiest is to keep pouring off the fat and get the duck under a grill in a large deep oven tray.

Up to you now. sprinkle with a BBQ rub (as you know I love Good time Andy’s ).

Grill till the skin starts to crisp up and the meat takes on a slight crust.

Now get your tortillas on the hotplate. I have a cast-iron pan just the right size for them. Use a dry frying pan. If you can do them and eat them as they come of the pan perfect but if not wrap in a clean tea towel.

Assemble the taco to your imagination and liking. if you can get a tomatillo chutney or sauce the sweet sour matches the duck perfectly. Better than classic duck a l’orange.

My assemblage is:

Tomatillo salsa, fresh home pickled red onions (see here for link), chopped red chillis, sherdded coriander, chopped scallions, lime juice over the top.


This is robust food – it will take flavour. Great for a slather of you favorite hot sauce. I personally favour Pips nagatropolis but this is a dish that will take fklavours from Asia to Arizona.





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