Hello everyone :) It feels like it's been ages since I sat down and wrote or thought about this blog. Being a parent and juggling work and family life, along with this blog is some work, and time just whizzes by. We are a busy family, one that tries to make the most out of each and every moment and my wife has a lot to do with making sure that we stay happy, upbeat and cheery! I've got a real keeper.
And this keeper is a happy camper when she gets to try all this food that gets up on the blog :) In fact, we both get really excited to try all the food I make, after we're done shooting the photos and the cleanup. And then the moment of truth! In fact, we haven't yet had a dish we didn't like or wowed us. Oh yeah, I love patting myself on the back.
And I'm sure today's dish is going to WOW you too. This dish is a real star! I've got three words for you. Taco. Crispy Duck. Sriracha. Rich, luxurious and crispy Duck. Sweet and spicy. Finished with Fire-roasted corn créma, all rolled up in a blanket of pure goodness. It is Taco heaven!
Americans don't cook with Duck meat enough or eat it for that matter, and that is unfortunate as I realized today! It is so luxurious and so decadent and almost cooks like Steak. But there is something about the richness of Duck, and the fact that it's red meat with the character of fowl. Just a beautiful creamy richness that holds up like a bold and beefy red meat. Just amazing! In fact this is the first time I'm ever cooking with Duck, and I really enjoyed the process. I think I've found new love for fowl meat, that I didn't know existed!
And to give credits where they are due, I was able to find Duck meat locally and surprisingly in West Haven, CT through the lovely folks at Bella Bella Gourmet Foods. Really nice and accommodating people who stayed open on a weekend just so I can come pick up the half loaf. Try them out! They've got you covered when it comes to Duck, and have special pricing for walk-ins.
And another shout out to Sosu Sauces for their support and gift of their amazing Sriracha sauces for this recipe! At the risk of sounding like I am endorsing their product, I truly believe that the product is amazing, and has a unique character when compared to the traditional Sriracha. I used two sauces in this recipe—the Barrel Aged Sriracha and the Srirachup which is Sriracha with Ketchup. The barrel aged has a bit of smoky and barrel oak hint to it and it almost gives it a subtle hit of sweet, oakey smokiness. It's quite amazing, and a handsome sauce if I may describe it as such. The Srirachup is the more vibrant and uber flexible sauce that can be used in everyday cooking or sandwiches that need a kick. Try them out! I personally can't survive without Sriracha and these are amazing!
So who's ready for some crispy Duck Tacos?! Oh yeah! Let's go!
Spiced Orange Duck Tacos with Sriracha and Fire Roasted Corn Créma
Makes 8-10 Tacos
Ingredients for Marinade and Spiced Orange Reduction Sauce
Half loaf fresh Duck breast (skin on)
1 tsp Barrel Aged Sriracha
1 tbsp Srirachup (replace the above two with 1 tbsp Sriracha if using regular brand)
1 cup Orange juice + 1/2 cup more for reduction
1 tbsp brown sugar + 1/2 tbsp more for reduction
1 tbsp Corriander powder
1 tbsp Cumin seeds
1 stick Cinnamon
1 Star Anise
1 tbsp Chipotle powder
1 clove of Garlic
Handful of fresh Cilantro
1 large Ziploc bag
Ingredients for Fire-Roasted Corn Créma
1 ear fresh Corn
3/4 cup Sour Cream
1 tsp Barrel Aged Sriracha (or regular brand)
1/2 a Jalapeño
Juice of half a Lime
8-10 Corn Tortillas
Before we fire up the pans, it's best to marinate the Duck overnight for full flavor, or at least 2-3 hours, and to do that let's first get the marinade together.
Take your Duck half-loaf (term used to describe Duck breast) and make 4 to 5 diagonal slits on it, so all the flavor travels deep.
Then in a Ziploc bag, transfer all the marinade ingredients—the Orange juice, the spices, the hot sauces, and the herbs etc—and seal it tight and give it several good shakes. Shake it good and get your arm workout in!
Once incorporated, transfer the Duck into the bag and seal it tight. Shake it well again, and with your hands massage the marinade into the crevices and slits you made earlier in the Duck, making sure it coats every part of the loaf.
Set it in the fridge and let it marinade overnight or at least 2 to 3 hours. Overnight is best!
The next day or the day of making the Tacos, bring out the Duck and set it on the kitchen counter for an hour or so, to bring it to room temperature.
While that happens, we can knock out the fire roasted Corn créma. Yum!
Take the corn, and peel away the husk. Fire up you stove on high flame and roast the corn for around a minute on each side, making sure, it's evenly roasted.
Once that is done leave it aside for a few minutes to cool down. In the meantime in a small bowl mix all the ingredients listed for the Créma above and incorporate well. When the corn has cooled down, stand it up on its end and shave off the kernels with a sharp knife. Break up any clumps to make sure we have loose kernels.
Transfer the fire-roasted Corn into the bowl and mix well. Créma is ready. Place it in the fridge.
Now the star of the show! The marinated Duck.
Traditionally the Duck would cook like Steak, on high heat and quick, but due to the high sugar content from the Orange juice and brown sugar, we would get instant burning if we cooked on very high heat. So for this recipe we cook medium to low for a bit longer, but still making sure we get medium to rare meat.
Start a heavy bottom pan (quite important to get even heating surface) on low to medium heat, and let it heat up well for 3-4 minutes. Once the pan is place the Duck loak skin side down and let it for for 8 minutes or so. Make sure that the flame is set to low to medium. Soon, the skin will start to render out all the fat and get crispy and golden! So gorgeous!
Flip the loaf when you see some good caramelization on the skin side. Flip it and drool over the thing of beauty that sitting in the pan right in front of you! The kitchen is smelling amazing. Sweet aromas linger.
Cook it for another 3 minutes or so and remove from the pan on a clean dish and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before you steal a taste.
Now for the spiced Orange reduction sauce, drain out all the drippings from the pan and clean with a paper towel gently, just enough to get all the grease out. Transfer the marinade into the medium-high hot pan and add the additional 1/2 cup of Orange juice and brown sugar, and stir continuously. Keep stirring for the next 7 to 8 minutest till the sauce thickens or when you slide your ladle across the pan and the sauce doesn't collect back immediately. It should look syrupy. Remove and discard all the whole spices and Jalapeños. Turn off heat, and transfer into a bowl.
We are so close guys! now just fire roasting the Corn Tortillas—the last step!
Fire roast some corn Tortillas and wrap them in a cloth and store in a basket. Roast them enough that they get some color at the edge and are pliable.
And now we assemble the Tacos! The fun part :)
First put down the amazing fire-roasted Corn Créma. A spoonful across the Taco. Slice thinly the Duck breast with a really sharp knife making sure none of those juices escape! That's worth money! Place them over the Créma in a shingled arrangement.
Now drizzle a little (or a lot) of the spiced Orange reduction and top it off with some fresh Cilantro and squeeze some fresh Lime juice. And you're done!!
But before you dig in, let's take another worthy moment to just take it all in! And admire this thing of beauty that never existed before, or this thing you've never heard of. But here it is! And it looks heavenly! The Spiced Orange Duck Taco. Just like that we've created a Taco that is unique and bold!
When I bit into the Taco, I was in heaven! Trust me you guys, this is such a rich and luxurious Taco that tasted sweet, savory, spicy and creamy all at the same time without getting all mixed up. Each ingredient plays their part just right and it comes together in a beautiful and memorable way.
The Duck was tender, the Sriracha was spicy and smokey. And Corn was sweet, and everything was coddled by the Créma and brightened by the Lime juice.
By replacing Steak with Duck, we've elevated the Taco to a whole new level. The Taco is already a legend in it's own right, but now it's become a luxurious food. It's more intellectual, and with much more swagger.
I was also really happy to share this meal with a friend visiting from India, and we had a great time eating these Tacos. Not to paraphrase her but all she said 10 times was "WOW!" My wife agreed as well :)
And there on our table, I felt like one luck guy among beautiful ladies and gorgeous looking food. Mission accomplished and Jackpot!.
So there we have it. Another Nomaste recipe is history. I really hope you guys can give this a shot. It's so worth it in every single way, and worth the experience and the effort. Please do! And if you do, please drop me a line, will ya?
Thanks, and Nomaste!