I butchered a duck. I didn’t want to, but I did it. I broke down a duck. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to, and about the time where I was cutting up the breast, I wanted to call my dad and ask him to fly down here to just finish it for me, but I was halfway through and decided to trudge through it. I would say it was worth it (if only for the duck legs/duck fat alone), but it doesn’t mean I didn’t use 2 of my chef knives, a pairing knife, a boning knife, and about 3 cutting boards to do it. All of which sounds kind of fitting for Halloween.
I’ve never really loved Halloween. I’m not a big candy person at all, and when I was little and would come back with my loot, I would eat a few Sprees or Sweetarts, and either give the rest of the candy to my brother, or hide it in my closet and find it a year later when I was getting out my trick-or-treat pail. Even when I was in college, I was forced by my freshman roommates to put on a costume and go out. I was fine just staying in and playing some drinking-Mario Kart, but apparently they had other ideas which included a few parties, going to the fire station and getting to slide down the fireman’s pole (I wish I was kidding, but I’m not), and THEN finally ending the night at our dorm where I beat a few of our guy friends at Mario Kart. I do always have a good time, but the thought of it just never does it for me- which is why this year I plan on watching a scary movie or two, having a cocktail, and going to bed early since I’ll be driving down to Greenville tomorrow. Don’t worry, I’m not too much of a grouch- Christmas is really the season that I love and I’m so excited it’s only a few months away.
Duck Confit Tacos
(Adapted from Emeril Lagasse)
2 duck legs
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp oregano
2 small chile d’arbols, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups duck fat
Chipotle mayonnaise (recipe here)
Queso fresco, crumbled
Pico de Gallo (recipe here)
Begin by taking the duck legs and placing them in a shallow dish. Mix the salt, oregano, chiles, garlic, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the duck legs on both sides. Place back in the dish and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees. Rinse the duck legs under cold water to get most of the salt mixture off and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a baking dish that is small enough so that the duck legs are close together. Cover with duck fat. Place in the oven, covered, and bake for 3-4 hours or until legs are tender and falling off the bone. Remove from the oven and duck fat (strain the fat to use later) and shred once they are cool enough.
Heat about 1-2 inches of vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Microwave the corn tortillas for about 30 seconds or until pliable. On one corn tortilla, place a few heaping tablespoons of the duck and place in the heated oil. Cook one side of the tortilla until crisp and then flip and cook the other side. You may have to do this one at a time; that’s what I do. Drain the oil from the taco by tilting it to it’s side to get rid of the excess and place on a paper towel lined sheet tray. Continue with the rest of the tacos.
Serve by spooning a little of the chipotle mayonnaise, queso fresco, followed by the pico de gallo on the tacos.