The first time I ate duck, I ended up with a bullet in my lower molar.
After biting into a freshly sauteed slice, I chomped down on a silver piece of ammunition. The metallic taste rang through the back of my mouth, towards my tongue and up through my nose until I felt like the inside of my cheeks were lined with the barrel of a shot gun. My first thought was that I had broken a tooth. My second thought was that the small fowl my father had so eloquently shot in the backwoods of Alabama and/or Louisiana had not been sufficiently cleaned, leaving me with a very real reminder of the cause of its demise.
Not one to hide my disgust at an instance such as this, and acting in direct violation of my momma’s “Eat at least a scout bite of everything on your plate honey- its ruuude not to” I promptly spit the metal ball onto my plate; threw my elbows down on the table; and drank copious amounts of tea until my taste buds calmed and I came back to my senses.
For those of you giving me more credit than I deserve in the maturity realm, this happened while in the same age group I am currently (20’s), and thank-the-Lord only stopped me from eating duck for ohhh, about three months, until football season rolled around and dad was grilling bacon-wrapped cream cheese-and-jalepeno-stuffed meat kabobs.
What this experience did teach me, however, was that it’s ok to make mistakes in food- even when you are diligent and cooking for the ones you love. Hopefully, this fried rice recipe below almost 100% ensures that you will not be left with any culinary surprises.
These duck breasts are gently fried in coconut oil until the fat from their skin renders, then cut into thin strips and quick-fried again until crispy. The remaining fat magically seasons the fried rice and renders the onions soft and pliable admist bright peas and genlty wilted carrots. And in true LuvCooks style, a generous dollop of hot sauce is added to ensure the utmost interest and all-around spiciness.
So take a risk on duck- even better if it’s wild and shot by someone you love. Just make sure and check for lead projectiles beforehand. Your enamel will thank you.
Duck Fried Rice
What You Need:
2 large duck breasts (if your duck breasts are wild, marinate them for at least six hours and up to overnight in this)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 1/2 tablespoons duck fat (a result of the above rendering process)
3/4 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 package frozen peas
1 package frozen corn
2 carrots, skins peeled with a vegetable peeler until in thin strips
2 teaspoons chili paste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
3 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or several rounds on a pepper mill)
Generous squirt of honey, or to taste
Generous sprinkle of ginger powder, or to taste
What You Will Do:
1. Score each duck breast with a sharp knife, creating a criss-cross pattern on the outer skin. Apply salt and pepper liberally on both sides after scoring.*
2. Heat a pan on medium-low, then add 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Allow your duck to cook about eight minutes on one side, then flip them and cook for about seven more on the other, depending on how thick your cuts are. It’s perfectly ok if your duck is almost purple-red on the inside at this point. It’s always better to undercook duck than over cook (it gets rubbery), and we are going to slice it and cook it again, so no worries on a bit of an undercooked breast here.
3. Once your duck breasts are done, place them on a plate and tent with foil. Pour about 2 1/2 tablespoons of your gorgeous rendered fat into a small bowl and put aside. Save the rest! Duck fat is incredible for many other uses- sautéing vegetables, working into a gumbo, used as a base for fried potatoes. I might even make hot fudge out of it.
4. While the duck is under foil, bring a wok to high heat.
5. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons saved duck fat and chopped onion to the wok. Sautee for about three minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add garlic, and stir for about a minute, or until the garlic is barely light yellow. Add corn, peas, and rice, quickly stirring to ensure even cooking of your veggies.
6. While your veggies are cooking, take your duck out of the foil and slice the meat off of the breasts into thin strips. It is very helpful to have a friend help you here, as I might have chopped my finger off if I had to do both of these things at once. But more than likely you have ninja-like knife skills and are more adept at multitasking than me.
6. Add the chili paste, soy and fish sauces, black pepper, and honey and ginger powder to taste. Good fried rice takes some tweaking, so taste and add as you like here. Pour the finished fried rice into bowls.
7. After you scoop out your rice, add about 1 tablespoon of duck fat into the wok, and throw duck strips back into the pan. Stir fry them for about 2 minutes, or until the strips are crispy and mid-to-dark brown on the edges.
8. Top the rice bowls with the duck and serve with Sriracha and extra soy sauce on the side. Mr. Miyagi eat your heart out!
*If you are cooking wild-game style duck, first take your duck breasts out of the above marinade and dry them off well with a paper towel. Then proceed to the rest of step 1.