There are two major misconceptions about food that I feel I must clear up.
1) Duck is greasy and therefore I won’t eat it!
2) Authentic Mexican food is random ingredients stuffed in a tortilla.
This appetizer is a contemporary spin on the classic Mexican tamale. It just so happens to be one of my all time favorites and it is just as much about technique as it is about the components. If you’ve never tasted an authentic Mole Negro sauce then get ready for one of food’s greatest treasures.
Duck Tamales: Braised Duck with Mole Negro, Avocado, Pomegranate Seeds, Queso Fresco on Corn Flour Pancakes
There are a few steps to this dish so follow along with me, chef.
To break down a duck is actually quite simple. There are a few videos on YouTube demonstrating this process and I highly suggest you watch. It’s much easier to watch a video than have me describe the process.
In this application, you will be using the meat of the legs and thighs to make this dish. Save the breasts! Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap with the skin on and freeze them. Don’t worry, in a few weeks I will give you a recipe for the breasts so you will want to keep them on hand. When you break down the duck, I will need you to keep the bones from the duck because we will be making a stock using the bones.
1 Duck carcass-When you have successfully removed the breasts, the legs and thighs, you will have the remains of bones that is the carcass.
2- carrots, diced
4- celery stalks, diced
2- yellow onions, diced
2- tbsp black peppercorns
2- bay leafs
1- gallon cold water
To make the stock. In a large stockpot on high heat add the carcass of the duck, the carrots, celery, onions, peppercorns, bay leafs, cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for about two hours. Strain the liquids from the solids. Discard the solids, wave goodbye and keep the liquid because we will need it later for the sauce.
Mole Negro (pronounced Mo-lay)
2- legs and thighs of the duck
1- yellow onion, diced
1- Tsp cumin
1- Tsp paprika
1- Tsp cinnamon
1- Tsp oregano, dried
1- Tsp thyme, dried
½- Cup Coffee
1- Cup toasted almonds
2- Tbsp tomato paste
4- Cups duck stock
1- puck of Abueleta Chocolate
In a medium sized saucepot, sauté the legs and thighs of the duck on medium high heat with the skin on. The idea here is to crisp the skin of the duck legs and thighs which will release all the fat from the duck. When the skin becomes crispy and brown, transfer the legs and thighs to a plate lined with paper towels. Allow the legs and thighs to cool, remove the skin and strip the meat from the bones.
Next, add the onion to the saucepot and sauté in the duck fat on medium high heat. When the onion has reached a dark brown color add the chipotles, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, oregano and thyme and sauté for another minute. The coffee goes in next to deglaze the bottom of the saucepot.
Now add the tomato paste and sauté for another minute, allowing the sugars of the tomato paste to caramelize. Next, add the duck stock, almonds, and the chocolate. Bring this to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and allow the sauce to simmer for about a half hour.
At this point the chocolate should be thoroughly melted, so use an immersion blender and puree the contents of the sauce. If you don’t have an immersion blender, remove the sauce from the heat, let cool, and puree in a blender or food processor. When the mixture has been pureed, add the sauce back to the saucepot, add the duck meat and bring to a slow simmer for about another hour. Now that the meat has fully cooked in the sauce, remove the sauce from the heat; strain the sauce from the meat.
Still with me chef??? We’re almost done!
Corn Flour Pancakes
2 Cups corn flour
2 Cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
In a mixing bowl, add the components above and whisk until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated, meaning no lumps. The procedure here is the same as making normal pancakes.
On a flat griddle or sauté pan, add a knob of butter and ladle a small portion of pancake mixture to the pan. We’re making mini pancakes so don’t go overboard with your portions. Keep the pancakes small chef!
When the pancakes begin to bubble, three or four minutes, give them a flip using a thin spatula. Allow the pancakes to cook on the second side for about another minute. Remove from the sauté pan to a clean plate to cool.
To plate, place a solid amount of the Mole sauce on your finest white, square or rectangular plate and using a large spoon, scrape the sauce along the bottom of the plate from one end to the other.
Next, place three small pancakes on top of the sauce. Now add a few slices of fresh avocado to the pancake. On top of the avocado, place the shredded duck that you strained from the sauce. Finish the presentation with the pomegranate seeds and sprinkle the crumbled queso fresco on top of the shredded duck. Enjoy your masterpiece chef!