There is only one thing better than pork and that my friends is...duck fat. You see, to some folks duck is like a flying pig. No, not the way it looks, but the way it tastes. Duck is loaded with fat and if treated just right that fat can be rendered and used in many other applications.The general consensus is that the average home cook is a bit fearful when attempting to cook duck. It may be because of a bad experience eating duck, or it could possibly be the stereotype that duck is hard to cook. If that be the case here are a few tips to help you muster the courage to master the duck.1. Start with just the breast of the duck to get a feel for cooking with duck. (Gain confidence)
2. Use a sharp knife to score or slice just through the skin to allow the fat to slowly cook out of the duck. (Natural basting and crispy skin)
3. Use an iron skillet, or oven safe pan, to sear the duck breast gently over medium heat before finishing in the oven. (Even cooking)
4. Don’t overcook. Unlike chicken, duck can be eaten medium to medium rare. (Tender, tasty meat)
5. Let duck rest at least 10/15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to firm up and stay in. (Juicy)There you have it, simple enough right? If you follow these few simple techniques you will become a master at cooking duck in no time. Remember to reserve the duck fat and use it for such things like croutons, dressings and even to sear a whole chicken before roasting/ basting slowly in the oven.
Braised Duck Quesadillas with Caramelized Onion and Taleggio CheeseDuck
2 Each Duck Quarters
To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons-Olive Oil
1 Each-Carrot-rough chopped
1 Blub-Fresh Garlic-halved across cloves
1 Each-Celery Stalk-rough chopped
2 Tablespoons-Red Wine Vinegar
To Top-Chicken StockQuesadillas
1 Medium Size Onion-skin removed, sliced thin into half moons
1 Tablespoon-Unsalted Butter
To Taste Salt/Pepper
½ Pound-Taleggio Cheese-softened to room temperature, or substitute brie, camembert
1 Pint-Grape Tomatoes-tossed with olive oil, salt/pepper, roast at 300 until softened, about 10 minutes
12 Each-Flour Tortillas-6 inch size
To Taste-Sour CreamDirections1 Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2 Season duck leg with blackened seasoning.
3 Warm oil in an iron skillet over medium heat.
4 Add duck skin side down and cook for until skin is golden and crispy, about 3 minutes.
5 Flip, repeat and remove duck.
6 Drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat.
7 Add veg and cook to slightly brown, about 2 minutes.
8 Add a ½ cup of stock and stir, scraping bit of bottom of pan.
9 Add vinegar, stir and duck back to pot.
10 Top off with stock leaving top of the duck (skin) exposed.
11 Place in oven and braise until tender, about 2 hours.
12 Remove from oven, remove duck quarter and let cool enough to handle.
13 Remove skin, discard, pick meat off the bone and shred.
14 Warm butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat and add onions.
15 Cook, stirring frequently until softened and golden brown.
16 Season to taste with salt/pepper and set aside to cool.
17 Lay six tortillas on a work surface in horizontal a row.
18 Equally distribute cheese on each tortilla by smearing with a spreading knife.
19 Top half the tortillas each with a little duck, caramelized onion and roasted tomatoes.
20 Top each tortillas with the filling with remaining tortillas that are smeared with cheese.
21 Heat a non-stick skillet/grill/griddle to medium high heat.
22 Brush the top tortilla with a little olive oil and place oil side down in pan/grill/griddle.
23 Brush top tortilla with a little olive oil and cook until tortilla is slightly brown, about 2 minutes.
24 Flip and cook until golden brown and filling is warmed through, about 2 minutes.
25 Remove and repeat with remaining quesadillas.
26 Cut quesadillas into quarters and serve with sour cream on the side.