This recipe is based on a recipe for Moroccan spiced duck breasts, from
The Soul of a New Cuisine,
Marcus Samuelsson’s new African cookbook. Chef Samuelsson is the guy who’s
responsible for getting me to eat beef after not touching the stuff for
nearly two years. He’s a very interesting guy – born in Ethiopia, but
adopted as a baby and raised in Sweden. He’s famous in NYC for being the
chef at a Swedish restaurant, called Aquavit, where he was the youngest chef
ever to get 3 stars in a New York Times restaurant review.
A few years ago, he became interested in African cuisine, and
spent a lot of time travelling around Africa, studying the cuisine. He’s
written a fantastic cookbook based on the experience. Roughly two weeks ago, he opened a new African restaurant in NYC called Mercato 55. My wife and I had dinner there last saturday, and it was fantastic.
Anyway, as I said, his book has a recipe for Moroccan spiced duck breast. It’s a bit of a fusion dish – french style seared rare duck breast, cooked with moroccan spice blends and a Moroccan orange sauce. Duck breast is too expensive for my kids, so I made his dish for me and my wife, and worked out this variation for my kids. I actually think I like the variation a bit more – the flavor of the spices penetrates the duck much more nicely in a well-done roast duck. I’ve also simplified the recipe a bit.
- Two ducks
- 4 cups orange juice
- 2 cinammon sticks
- Several large onions
- 1 teaspoon cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2-3 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons chilled butter
- Put all of the dry spices together into a hot pan, and stir around until they become fragrant. Then move them to a blender or food processor, and grind them to a coarse powder.
- Mince the garlic and one half of the onion.
- Put the orange juice into a pot with the garlic, onion, and spices, and
heat to a simmer. Let it simmer about ten minutes, and then cool to room temperature.
- Take 2 ducks, cut out the back, and press flat. Cut a light crosshatch pattern
over the skin of the breasts, and trim off excess fat. Sprinkle with kosher salt, and then lay them out in a large roasting pan.
- Put the orange-juice mixture through a fine sieve, and then pour it over
the ducks. Let it sit for at least two hours.
- Remove 3/4ths of the marinade from the roasting pan, leaving the remainder in the pan. Keep the marinade – we’re going to cook it into a sauce later.
- Cut several 1-inch thick slices of onion, and set them up as stands in the roasting pan. Set the ducks on top of the onions.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Put the ducks in, and cook for 2 to 3 hours. (It’s important to let it cook for a long time. Duck is terrific rare, and it’s terrific when it’s been cooked for a very long time; it’s tough as leather in between. We’re going for the meltingly tender well-roasted duck here.) Every half hour, baste the duck with the marinade in the pan. If the pan starts to get dry, and a cup of water.
- When the duck is done, finely mince half an onion, a clove of garlic, and a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley. Put the onion and garlic into a saucepot with the reserved marinade. Heat to a simmer, and let it cook at a low simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Then add the parsley, and salt to taste.
- Right before serving, turn the heat off on the sauce, and add two tablespoons of cold butter, whipping it in with a whisk. This should turn the sauce a little bit thicker, and give it a nice glossy appearance.