Smoked Duck Gorditas with Fresh Mango Salsa

Smoked duck breast is shredded and slowly simmered in stock with crushed chipotle en adobo, toasted coriander and Mexican oregano, then tucked inside flaky homemade gorditas (thick corn tortillas) and dressed with fresh mango salsa and crispy fried duck skin..

Smoked Duck Gorditas with Fresh Mango Salsa

For the Salsa

1 fresh mango, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 ripe tomato, cored and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 green jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon sparkling water
1 teaspoon piloncillo or palm sugar
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate 1 hour.

For the Duck

1 large smoked duck breast
1 1/2 cups rich chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons crushed chipotle en adobo
1 tablespoon raw cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon toasted coriander, ground
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Remove the skin and fat and reserve.  Working parallel to the grain, tear the duck into thin strips, then place into a heavy pot.  Cover with stock and bring to a slow simmer.  Add chipotle, vinegar, oregano and coriander and slowly simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1/2 hour.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.

For the Crispy Duck Skin and Rendered Fat

Pull the skin and fat from a duck breast and lay it flat on the comal over medium heat, weighing it flat with a bacon press or another smaller skillet.  Cook until all the fat has rendered and the skin is crispy on both sides.  Transfer to skin to a cutting board and chop into something resembling crumbled bacon, reserving the fat for frying the gorditas.

For the Gorditas

3/4 cup organic masa harina (fine corn flour)
2 tablespoons organic, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm, filtered water
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons rendered duck fat

Heat a comal or iron skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine the masa and water into a soft dough.  Knead in the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, adding a few drops of water if needed to maintain consistency.  Divide dough into 4 balls and cover with a damp kitchen towel.

Use a tortilla press or rolling pin to shape dough into 4-inch rounds about 1/4 inch thick.  Slide a thin-bladed spatula under each gordita, carefully flipping one-at-a-time onto your open palm before laying onto the hot comal.  Cook for a minute or so on each side (they will be slightly crisp but underdone), then transfer to a plate.

To prepare

Just before service, melt the duck fat in the comal, then fry each gordita until golden brown and puffy (ideally, the gorditas will be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside).  Transfer gorditas to a cutting board, then use a thin knife to cut a sideways slit about 1/2 way across.

Fill each gordita with shredded duck, dress with salsa and crumbled duck skin and serve hot.

This post is part of The Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday!

This post is part of  The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania!

One Hour Pickles

A recipe for homemade-in-an-hour pickles was making the rounds on the Internets today,  so I thought I’d make a batch just for the heck of it.  I must say that for something so simple and immediate, the results were surprisingly good!

One Hour Pickles

Makes about 1 Pint (adapted from a recipe in the Chicago Tribune)

1 cup raw cider vinegar
1/2 cup filtered water, plus more, if needed
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons pickling spices
1 teaspoon dill
2 pearl onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised
1 large cucumber, cut lengthwise into wedges

Trim, cut and arrange cucumber wedges upright in a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, allowing 1 inch headroom.

Bring water, salt and pickling spices to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to stand 5 minutes.  Stir in vinegar and dill, then pour mixture over cucumber wedges.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.   Use non-preserved pickles within 10 days.

150 Years of Chili con Carne

In the latter half of the 1800’s, pieces of beef or bison were pounded together with suet, dried chile peppers and salt and formed into bricks which were dried and stored for later use.  On the trail, the bricks were simply boiled with water in heavy pots.

The confluence of the Rio Bravo del Norte and the Río Conchos

Chili con carne (literally “chili [peppers] with meat”) later found its way to San Antonio’s Military Plaza, where onions,garlic, cumin and oregano (and maybe tomatoes) were likely first added by a group of Hispanic women famously known as the “chili queens”.

Military Plaza, San Antonio, circa 1876.

Chili was broadly introduced at the “San Antonio Chili Stand” at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  The first chili parlors outside of Texas began to appear in the early 1900’s, with accompaniments such as beans, shredded cheese and crackers showing up in the 20’s and 30’s.

World's Columbian Exposition of 1893

Using bone-in, grass-fed rib-eye steak, dried chiles, tomatoes and fresh pinto beans, this particular recipe recognizes some 150 years of chili evolution without straying too far from its humble roots..

Chili con Carne

For the Chili

1 1/2 lb grass-fed, bone-in ribeye steaks, either beef or bison
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb fresh pork belly (substitute uncured bacon), cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 lb fresh pinto beans (optional)
2 cups fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed
2 dried ancho chiles
2 dried New Mexico chiles
2-3 dried chilipiquenes (optional, very hot)
3 cups filtered water
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 3-inch piece Mexican cinnamon
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Split, stem and seed the ancho and New Mexico chiles. Toast briefly on a comal or dry skillet, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor along with the chilipiquenes, if using.  Process into a coarse powder and set aside.

Cut the meat from the bone and cut into 1-inch pieces, trimming off and mincing any heavy fat.  Add the bone (leaving it in for the duration), minced fat and pork belly (or bacon) together in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat and cook until all the fat has rendered.  Add onions and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add meat and garlic and cook until browned.  Add ground chiles, tomatoes, water, cinnamon, oregano and beans, if using.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours, or about half that time if not using beans.  Ladle into bowls and serve hot with diced onions, cilantro and shredded cheese if desired.

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Curried Egg Salad on Warm Cumin and Garlic-Scented Naan

Farm-fresh eggs, slivered scallions, still-warm-from-the-sun tomatoes, Madras curry and homemade mayonnaise atop cumin and garlic-scented naan..

Curried Egg Salad on Cumin and Garlic-Scented Naan

For the Mayonnaise (adapted from a recipe by Sally Fallon)

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 whole farm-fresh egg at room temperature
1 farm-fresh egg yolk at room temperature
1 teaspoon homemade mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 med. lemon)
1 tablespoon whey
3/4 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil or expeller pressed sunflower oil (not canola)
generous pinch of sea salt

“Homemade mayonnaise imparts valuable enzymes, particularly lipase… The addition of whey will help your mayonnaise last longer, adds enzymes and increases nutrient content…”

In your food processor, place egg, egg yolk, mustard, salt, whey and lemon juice and process until well blended, about 30 seconds.  With the motor running, add oil in a very slow, thin stream.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Allow to sit at room temperature for 7 hours before transferring to refrigerator.  The mayonnaise will thicken as it stands.

For the Egg Salad

6 pastured eggs, preferably about 3 days old for ease of peeling
1/4 cup homemade mayonnaise
2-3 scallions, slivered
1 fresh tomato, cored, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground Telicherry pepper
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
a pinch or two of sea salt

Gently place the eggs in a heavy saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Place the pan on a burner and quickly bring to a boil.  Cover the pan and remove from the heat the moment the water boils; allow to stand exactly 9 minutes for medium eggs, 10 minutes for large.  Drain the water and bounce the eggs to crack the shells.  Fill the pan with filtered ice water and allow to stand 20 minutes.

Peel and dice the eggs into a glass bowl.  Add the scallions, tomato, curry, salt, pepper and cilantro and toss lightly with the mayonnaise.

For the Naan (adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)

8 ounces (by weight) organic all-purpose flour (use sprouted or soaked flour if preferred)
6 cloves garlic, peeled, roasted and mashed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon unrefined sugar
1/3 cup fresh whole milk, hand-hot
1 tablespoon ghee, melted, plus a little extra
1/3 cup plain yogurt, lightly beaten
1 small pastured egg, lightly beaten

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, yeast and sugar in a bowl and pour in the hand-hot milk, ghee, garlic, cumin, yogurt and the beaten egg and mix it all together to form a ball of dough.  Place the dough on to a clean surface and knead it for 10 minutes or more, until smooth.

Pour about 1/4 tsp ghee into a large bowl and roll the ball of dough in it.  Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven and a heavy baking sheet to 500 degrees.

Punch down the dough and knead it again and divide into 9 equal balls.  While working on 1 ball, keep the remaining balls covered. Flatten the ball using your hands (or rolling pin) into a tear-shaped naan, about 6 inches in length and about 4 inches at its widest. Brush the top with melted ghee.

Remove the hot baking tray from the oven, grease it well with ghee and place the naan on to it.

Put the pan into the oven on the top rack for 2-3 minutes. It should puff up and brown slightly. It will go from browned to burnt quickly, so keep an eye on it.

Once puffed up and browned on one side, flip the naan and place back into the oven until browned, about 1 minute.

(Vegetarian) Black Bean Enchiladas

Fresh corn tortillas filled with black beans, onions, peppers, cheddar, asiago and toasted cumin.  Bathed in fire-roasted tomato sauce with crushed chile chipotle, Mexican oregano & a splash of apple cider vinegar.  Topped with more cheese, then baked until sizzling hot.  Topped with a dollop of thick crema Mexicana..

Black Bean Enchiladas