This post has been a loooonnngggg time coming 😮 but better late than never. Part of the delay is that I’ve made this dish at least 4 different times but never got the plating shot I wanted. While still not quite what I wanted, this one will work. So, without any further ado, now let me tell you the story behind the dish. 🙂
In the course of blogging we all have met some wonderful people through the internet. Modern technology has made the world much smaller. We chat with each other and look at all of the wonderful photos, recipes and fun stories. I’ve met people from all over the world, learned new flavor combinations, tips and techniques, and had a lot of laughs. I cried and was anguished when Jade was missing, and rejoiced when she returned home safe and sound. I was excited when Jennifer had her baby, and travel vicariously with Karen. I’ve gotten to know John and his Zia and countless others in the course of 2 plus years. I always look forward to reading your stories and sharing experiences with all of you. It has been an amazing journey in ways I had never dreamed or imagined. Yet, we never really meet or get to see each other in person. So, I was very envious when Conor went to the Netherlands to meet Stefan and then Conor reciprocated with Stefan’s visit to Ireland. In the interim, Stefan came to the United States for a traveling/camping vacation in the summer of 2012. As he was traveling, we chatted on Facebook. In the course of chatting, arrangements were made for Stefan and his husband Kees to come visit us the last weekend of February this year. Of course, at that time, we were empty nesters in a large 5 bedroom house – now Quickstep and Knothead are both back with us and the house is full once again. This was going to be a blast and we were so excited about the visit. Then, while chatting with Mimi, we decided the more the merrier and Mimi came to visit, too. It was a wonderful visit and we had a fabulous time. Actually getting to meet our foodie friends and blogging buddies was such a wonderful experience. We had a memorable time and still talk about it today. We wish we could meet all of you.
Once everything was put in place, the question became what were we going to cook. Stefan is extremely talented, knowledgeable and the master of sous vide and Italian food. Mimi is a former private chef, caterer, recipe developer, cookbook author and geologist. Clearly, bologna sandwiches weren’t going to cut it. 😮 So, Baby Lady and I discussed the menu for months on end. Even though I am professionally trained in French cuisine, we really blog about Mexican/New Mexican/Southwest cuisine. So, whatever the choice, it had to stay true to what we do and like. After lengthy discussions we decided upon a tasty, fresh Salmon ceviche and a Taco Trio (little 3 inch taco shells – raw tuna with a marvelous avocado cream, seared ancho crusted swordfish with a pico de gallo and shrimp al mojo de ajo) for appetizers. These are really simple yet tasty appetizers. They also make a great lunch.
This was followed by Duck Carnitas Sous Vide (in honor of Stefan and to play with my sous vide setup) with Elotes Asadaos and a dessert to be determined when they arrived. Of course, I had never made or heard of duck carnitas. I also wanted to put somewhat of a modern spin on it. So, before everyone arrived, we had to practice and develop the dish. It had to be good for our blogging buddies and it is.
Now, when Stefan and Kees arrived on February 28, it was atypical Texas weather in that the skies were clear and the weather was very Springlike. Typically, late January and February are Winter here in DFW. Yet, when Stefan and Kees arrived the weather was sunny skies and in the low 80s F. It was picture perfect. So we visited the touristy areas of Dallas and ate lunch at the food trucks in Klyde Warren Park. We next made it to a couple of my favorite markets to show Stefan and Kees the diversity of foods available in the area. We also needed to buy a few things for dinner which is when we found the prickly pear fruit at the Mediterranean market. What a treat! You simply do not find prickly pear fruit in the winter as it is a summer fruit. I also never expected to find it at the Mediterranean market. Knowing how good prickly pear fruit is and that Stefan and Kees had never tried it, I decided dessert would be Sorbete de Tuna Roja (Red Prickly Pear Sorbet). We picked up the things we needed and headed back to the house. Mimi made it down around 5:00 pm that evening due to things getting cold in Oklahoma when she left and typical Dallas traffic when she arrived. Of course, when she left the following morning to meet a friend in Dallas, it was beginning to sleet and the temperature had dropped into the 20s F. 😮 Typical Texas weather, if you don’t like it, stick around, it will change.
Once Mimi arrived, dinner prep began, wine began to flow and there was lots of conversation and laughter. I lost track of the time and burned 2 batches of roasted jalapeños 😦 – it happens. So, it wasn’t until late that we finally ate. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all and this is what we did.
- 2 duck quarters
- 1/2 cup duck fat
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 lime cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 orange slice (1/2 inch thick)
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced lengthwise
- Salsa verde (recipe found here)
- lime pickled red onions
First things first. Skin the duck quarters.
Place each duck quarter in a sous vide bag.
Add 1/4 cup of duck fat to each bag.
Now, add the lime slices,
followed by the orange slice
Season with salt and pepper, vacuum seal and place in sous vide water bath at 180 F/82 C
Cook for 8 hours and remove. The legs will be cooked through yet very moist and tender.
Now, debone the duck and place in a plastic container. You are going to want it roughly 2 inches thick when done. So find a suitable sized plastic container.
Cover with plastic wrap and firmly press down to even out in thickness.
Now, find another plastic container that fits snugly within the first one. Place it on top of the plastic wrap and press down again.
Place a weight on top – I chose a 28 oz can of tomatoes. Use whatever fits and has some heft because you are going to press the duck meat into a solid mass.
Place in the refrigerator for 48 hours. After 48 hours, remove from the fridge and cut into 2 inch cubes.
Heat a skillet over high heat some some duck fat. Add the cubes to the skillet and fry until the sides become crispy, rotating the cubes until all sides are crispy.
When done, arrange avocado slices on a plate. Put the crispy duck atop the avocado slices and spoon the salsa verde on the side. Top with lime pickled red onions and some cilantro. Serve with corn or flour tortillas on the side & enjoy!! We most certainly did. 🙂
You will have to forgive me for not having lots of photos from the visit. I made a conscious, selfish decision not to take a lot of photos but to enjoy the event as it was happening. Stefan and Mimi, however, have some great photos. So check out their blogs about the visit. It really was a tremendous experience with some wonderful people. 🙂 Thanks Stefan, Kees and Mimi for taking the time to come visit. We loved having you and hope to see you again.