Suzi's Blog

Duck Carnitas Tacos


Suzen and I have a roadside diner that is, well, upscale. Very upscale. The best thing on the menu is duck carnitas tacos. I’ve searched for a recipe for us to make at home, and we’ll be testing this weekend.

Tacos can be so much more than ground meat. Yes, that lovely picture of the pretty duck is merely the starting point. This dish concept is fancy, satisfying, and lovely to enjoy. Suzen and I have sampled it for brunch, which is the perfect time to pair with a salad and bottle of bubbly. But this can easily be a main course for dinner.

A platter of these would be a fine addition to a Sunday football party. It would be just ducky.


Dark Carnitas Tacos

Yield: 12 tacos


  • 4 ½ pounds duck legs [abut 4 large legs or 6 smaller legs]
  • 2 medium white onions, sliced
  • 1 medium garlic head, halved horizontally
  • 1 [5-inch] stick Mexican cinnamon, broken into a few pieces
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 medium orange, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons reserved duck fat or canola oil


Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven or ovenproof pot, combine the duck legs, onions, garlic, cinnamon, and salt. Squeeze the orange quarters over the duck and add the spent oranges to the pot. Toss gently with your hands, arranging the duck legs skin side up.

Cover and cook the duck, shuffling the positions of the duck legs once, until the meat comes easily off the bone with a twist of a fork, about 2 ½ hours.

Remove the duck from the liquid fat in the pot, let it cool slightly, and pull the meat into large chunks, discarding the skin and bones. You should have about 3 cups of meat. Strain the duck fat through a sieve. Heat 2 tablespoons of the duck fat in a large pan over medium heat. Work in batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding the pan. Cook the duck, stirring occasionally, until the meat is golden brown and slightly crisp in spots, about 3 minutes.

Season to taste with salt.

Serve in warm corn tortillas with finely chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, and the salsa of your choice. The author recommends a jalapeno and pineapple salsa


Source: Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales by Roberto Santibanez


Spice Crusted Duck Breasts from Eric Rupert

Our honey-based menu for the spring holidays continues here with these spiced duck breasts. Duck is inherently rich and can support many flavor adornments. Here, the adornments are an array of spices that form a crust on the duck. Your first bite will offer a flavor explosion. You’ll enjoy all the bites.

Eric Rupert suggests serving these with Cumin and Honey Baby Carrots, which I blogged yesterday. You can go down other veggie routes too. Mashed potatoes topped with some of the duck sauce is a wonderful option.


Spiced Crusted Duck Breast

Servings: serves 4 


  • ½ teaspoon ground star anise
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper pinch cayenne
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless duck
  • breast halves, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Fine sea salt


Stir together the star anise, cumin, coriander and white pepper in small bowl. Season the duck breasts on both sides with salt, then crust the skin side of the duck breasts with the spice mixture.

Divide the canola oil into 2 sauté pans and heat over medium heat. When the pans are hot, gently place two duck breasts, skin side down in each pan. Lower the heat to medium low and cook until skin is golden brown and crispy, about 12-15 minutes. Turn the duck breasts over and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes for medium rare. Transfer the duck breasts to the cutting board to rest. Return the pan to the stove.

Over medium heat, divide the shallots between the pans and cook until soft. Add the honey, orange juice and lemon juice and reduce by half. Finish the pan sauce by whisking in the butter, seasoning to taste with salt then combine the sauce into one pan.

Thinly slice the duck breasts crosswise. Place the duck slices on the plates, and spoon some of the glaze over the duck.

Source: Avec Eric by Eric Rupert