Looking to change up your taco meat selection? Try duck! Everyone else is doing it. Ok, well maybe not everyone, but it seems like duck tacos and nachos have become more common on restaurant menus and it was about time I tried this at home. While this is really a simple recipe, it does require 2 hours of braising in the oven. The weight of my meat was 1.1 pounds and generously served 2 people for dinner.
My Beer Braised Duck (for tacos, nachos, burritos, and more!)
- 2 duck leg quarters (*skin removed)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 large white onion, sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped carrot
- 1 chopped chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo (do not rinse)
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup packed cilantro (do not need to chop or remove from stem)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bottle of Mexican lager
- juice from one lime
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Heat a medium-sized, oven-safe saucepan with tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan. Generously season duck with salt and pepper. Sear meat for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and cook onions until slightly browned. Add in carrot, chipotle pepper, garlic, cilantro, and salt. Let cook for about 2 minutes while stirring. Add duck back into pan and pour beer over duck. The duck does not need to be completely submerged, but it should be about 3/4 covered or you may want to use a smaller pan.
Transfer pan to oven and cook for one hour. Flip legs and return to oven for another hour. Remove from oven and transfer duck to a cutting board. Using a fork, shred meat.
Strain the braising liquid, pressing on the solids to release flavors. Return strained liquid to saucepan and add the juice of one lime. Add meat back to pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The meat will absorb flavor from the liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite Mexican specialty!
*Note on the duck skin. You may want to render fat from the skin for future use. The technique I use is to chop the skin into pieces and put in a small pan with about 2 inches of water. I cook this over medium-low heat while doing the braise, adding more water as it evaporates & pressing down on the skin on occasion. Once it is clear all fat has been rendered and the water has evaporated, I strain the fat and keep this in the freezer. Duck fat is great for roasted potatoes!