Duck Carnitas with "Guacatillo" and Pickled Onions
Serves 8 - 10 as tacos
Braised meats are always best done ahead of time to let the flavors develop. Refrigerate the cooked duck legs for one or two days before shredding. Then reheat in a dry skillet and serve!
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp ground ancho chile powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground chipotle powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 lbs whole duck legs
Guacatillo Salsa (recipe below)
Pickled Onions (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 275°F. Mix together salt and spices in a small bowl.
Pat duck legs dry with paper towels, and rub the spice mixture all over.
Arrange duck in a large roasting pan, cover tightly and bake in the oven for about 2 hours, until duck is falls off the bone with the touch of a fork. Remove from oven and let cool to almost room temperature before covering and placing in the fridge to fully chill. As stated above, it’s best to let the meat sit for 1 or 2 days to develop flavors. Meat with pan drippings can also be transferred to another container and frozen for up to 6 weeks.
Skim the fat that collects on the surface of the cooked duck and reserve. Shred the duck meat.
To serve, warm a skillet over medium-high heat and add shredded duck in a loose, single layer. Work in batches if needed; do not crowd the pan or the meat will not crisp. Sauté to crisp the meat, about 5 minutes, and serve immediately.
The duck is delicious served with warm corn tortillas, Guacatillo Salsa, Pickled Onions and your other favorite taco accompaniments.
Guacatillo Salsa – makes about 3 cups
1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed, scrubbed clean
¼ yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 – 3 tsp kosher salt
1 ripe avocado, skin removed, cut in chunks
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
Place tomatillos, onion, lime juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 10 times to chop all the ingredients. Add the avocado chunks and continue to pulse until the salsa has no more large chunks.
Add the chopped cilantro and adjust the lime and salt as needed.
Pickled Onions– makes about 1 cup
1 small red onion
1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
¼ cup jamaica simple syrup* or grenadine
Peel and julienne the onion to 1/8-inch thick. Place in a glass bowl and cover with the vinegar and simple syrup/grenadine. Weigh down with a small plate to submerge. Let pickle overnight to develop flavor and color. Will keep for at least a week.
*To make jamaica simple syrup, place 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in small pan. Heat and stir to dissolve sugar. When hot but not boiling, add ½ cup of dried jamaica (Mexican hibiscus flower) petals. Let steep for 30 minutes and strain petals. Refrigerate until use.