Duck Camp Delight: Red Curry Duck Breast

By Chef Chef Patrick O'Cain

April 17, 2019 - Chef Patrick O’Cain is the talented chef behind Gan Shan Station restaurant in Asheville, NC. This recipe-focused blog accompanies “The Newcomer” film that features Patrick and his trip to the flooded rice fields of southeast Texas to harvest his own duck meat.

Watch the film "The Newcomer" which showcases the recipe below. 

Warning: this will make your mouth water.

Ingredient List:

Curry Ingredients:
Cilantro
Jackfruit
Onion
Peppers – sweet and poblano
Lime
Bok choy
Garlic
Ginger
Coconut milk
Fish Sauce

Salad Ingredients:
Savoy Spinach
Spring onions (scallion) – oiled, salted, charred
Jicama
Lemon
Oil
Salt

Prepping Out The Birds:
From my understanding, my approach is a bit more labor intensive and hands-on than what I saw most people doing at the ranch. Rather than using the tool that just gives you the breasts, I opted to keep the birds as whole as possible just using my knife and hands. The heads were later removed and similarly the backbone cut out in the final cooking.

To start I cut out the cuts below the ribcage. Easy enough, one swipe with a sharp knife then reach up in there and start pulling the innards out. I was careful to save the hearts as these make an excellent grilled skewer. Some would save the livers, but I didn’t.

Then the messy business of removing the feathers from the body and legs. The wings are too small to bother keeping and can be removed from the first joint down (think drumette).

Once all feathers are plucked, give the bird a good rinse and pat dry. Store until ready to cook.

30 min – 1 hour prior to cooking, season the breasts with salt/pepper and let sit out at room temperature.

Cooking prep on the grill: cut out backbone so the duck can cook open face, spatchcock style.

spatchcock style duck breasts on the fire

Recipe:

Curry Paste (to make your own):
276g dried chilis, soaked in hot water (save hot soaking water)
400g shallot, fried to golden brown
210g garlic, fried to golden brown
150g ginger (peeled and diced small)
120g lemongrass (chopped)
120g black pepper/coriander, toasted
32g thai lime leaf
4 limes, zest + juice
8g thai rhizome (fingerroot, “lesser ginger”)

making the curry paste/sauce

Process:
Toast the black pepper and coriander in a saut
é pan. Cool and then grind.

Combine the rest of the ingredients and fold in pepper/coriander. Puree all ingredients in batches using a Vitamix or another blender. Make sure to use small batches and add water from soaked chilis to make sure it spins into a puree. Mix all batches well in a large mixing bowl and then separate out into 500g containers to store or freeze.

Store Bought Red Curry Paste:
Freshen up with:
Minced lemongrass (2 stalks)
Minced Thai Lime leaf (8ea leaves)
Fresh Ground black pepper (1TBsp)
Fresh Ground coriander (1TBsp)

Red Curry Sauce
500g RC base
50 oz canned coco milk
Lime Juice to taste
Fish Sauce to taste

Bringing It All Together:
Start with the basic prep/knife work. Peel and slice the jicama into large matchsticks. Peel and mince ginger and garlic. Cut the bok choy into quarters. Clean the Jackfruit (watch a Youtube video). Wash spinach or whatever green you’re using for the salad.

Toss peppers, bok choy, and scallions in oil and salt and begin to char (or cook to your preference) over direct flame. Work in batches.

Meanwhile, heat the dutch oven over the flame and then add oil and chopped onions and begin to sweat until lightly caramelized. Add in garlic/ginger and curry paste and cook for 2 minutes to open up and sweat out flavors. Pour in coconut milk and bring to simmer. Remove charred peppers (peel skins if desired) and bok choy. Either leave peppers and choy whole or chop down (depending on size) and fold those into the simmering curry. Salt and oil bok choy and cook slightly over an open flame before adding to curry. Fold in jackfruit and add ~3 Tbs (or more) of fish sauce. Taste and add more fish sauce and salt as needed. Once seasoned to your liking, simmer for 5-10 minutes allowing all the flavors to come together. Simmering or letting rest near a flame for longer is fine.

Pot on the Fire

While simmering or holding, cook the duck. Once grilled the legs can go directly in the curry. Allow the breast to rest for 5 - 10 minutes once you cook to the desired temperature. Slice duck.

Assemble the salad by tossing the spinach, jicama, and scallion in the dressing of lemon juice, salt, and oil--roughly a 3:1 ratio oil to lemon juice. This cool, refreshing salad will balance out the spice of the curry.

Salad

And finally to finish the curry add in juice from 2-5 limes to brighten (again to your individual preference). Serve directly from the cast iron pot ladling curry into bowls. Top with the sliced duck breast and pour some warm curry over top. Garnish with cilantro and a lime wedge.

Dig in.

Group Enjoying Duck Curry Meal

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