If you crave the meltingly-tender meat with crispy edges that you get with classic pork carnitas, you are going to love this easy recipe for duck carnitas. This is my one-pot method that braises the meat until it is falling apart and then crisps up the skin and edges to give you some crunchy texture. Once you try this you may never go back to pork carnitas. I layered in some smokey spices and the juice of an orange for some sweetness and tang, and I made a batch of quick, pickled onions as a crunchy topping. I am a brand ambassador for Maple Leaf Farms, and they not only provided the duck for this recipe, they are also providing a really generous collection of their duck products to be given away to one lucky reader–details on that at the end of this post.
I used two pounds of duck legs that I slow-roasted in my Le Creuset French oven (like a Dutch oven, but oval). Any heavy, oven-safe pot with a lid will work. There are just a few basic ingredients:
You place everything in your heavy pot and do a slow braise, then remove the lid to cook off the liquid and crisp up the skin and the undersides of the legs. This is seriously irresistible. All of the fat renders out, leaving moist, unctuous meat and lots of crispy skin and edges. The quick, pickled onions are ready after fifteen minutes in their bath of vinegar and honey, and they are a little sweet, a little tart, and nice and crunchy.
- 2 pounds fresh duck legs (four legs)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper, to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 navel orange
- 1 cup water
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the duck legs in a single layer in your heavy, oven-safe pot, with the skin sides up. It is o.k. if they overlap a little bit but try to keep them in a single layer. Sprinkle on all of the spices, and then juice the orange over the duck, getting out as much juice as possible. Pour in the water and put the lid on the pot.
- Braise the duck for an hour and a half, then remove the lid from the pot and roast for another hour, or until the skin has crisped up. Let the meat cool enough to handle, and then shred the meat and the skin and discard the bones. Serve with quick pickled onions, fresh cilantro, and some lime wedges.
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Stir together all of the ingredients until the honey has dissolved. Toss a few more times before serving. These are ready after they have "steeped" for fifteen minutes.
Now, on to the giveaway! Maple Leaf Farms has put together a wonderful gift pack of their products for the giveaway, including all of the following items:
- 2 Roast Half Ducks with Orange Sauce
- 2 All Natural Boneless Duck Breasts
- 2 Packages All Natural Duck Legs
- 1 package DUCK BACON
Retail value of the package, with shipping, is approximately $75.
In addition to making some of these delicious duck carnitas, the giveaway winner might also want to experiment with developing some recipes for Maple Leaf Farms’ Strut Your Duck recipe contest–the top prize is $4000!
Here’s how to enter the giveaway:
Giveaway has ended! Congratulations to Danielle, who won the Maple Leaf Farms duck package, and thanks to everyone who entered.
- In the comment section below, tell me which Maple Leaf Farms duck product you would like to try and/or your favorite way to cook duck.
- For a second entry, share this giveaway on Twitter or Pinterest, and leave a second comment saying that you shared and including the URL of the tweet or the pin.
- Entry period ends on Sunday, August 17th, at 5 p.m. M.S.T. I will select a winner using Random.org and will contact the winner via the email associated with their comment. If the person selected does not respond within 48 hours, I will select an alternative winner using the same method.
- U.S. mailing addresses only, please.
It’s just that simple!
Thanks for reading,