If you want to mix it up, a duck stir-fry fits the bill


Want to expand your culinary horizons in 2018 without expanding your belt? You could start by picking up a package of duck breast fillets. More stores are carrying them fresh, but you can typically find them frozen. Americans eat precious little duck; the 2016 per person average was something like 5 pounds, versus a whopping 92 pounds for chicken. Yet duck breasts are less expensive than several different cuts of steak.

In this recipe, the skin and fat are removed from the duck breast fillets — feel free to render the latter for sauteing something heavenly, or create cracklings for a friend who isn’t on a January diet — leaving meat that is as lean as chicken but much more interesting. It has a satisfying chew, yet it’s tender.

Cornstarch, rice wine and pomegranate juice help form the glossy, not overly sweet sauce, and strips of dark kale leaves have the oomph to stand up to it. Those jewels of the fruit world, pomegranate seeds, bedeck the plate and add texture.

Hoisin Stir-Fried Duck With Pomegranate

Serve with long-grain white or brown rice. Fresh duck breast fillets are available at Whole Foods Markets; frozen ones are available at many large grocery stores. If you can’t find duck, you can substitute skirt steak.

For the marinade and duck:

About 12 ounces duck breast fillets (from about 1 pound skin-on duck breast fillets)

1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce (may substitute 1/4 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce plus 1/4 teaspoon molasses)

For the stir-fry:

One 2-inch piece fresh ginger root

2 cloves garlic

4 leaves Tuscan or lacinato kale

2 scallions

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon peanut oil or grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine (may substitute mirin or dry sherry)

1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup pomegranate juice

1/3 cup fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)

For the marinade and duck: Use a sharp knife to remove the cap of skin and fat from the duck breast fillet(s), leaving as much meat intact as possible, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Stir together the Chinese five-spice powder, toasted sesame oil and dark soy sauce in a mixing bowl or shallow baking dish. Add the duck slices and toss to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prep the stir-fry ingredients: Peel the ginger and grate (to yield 1 tablespoon). Mince the garlic. Rinse the kale leaves. Cut away and discard the stems, then cut the leaves crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips. Trim the scallions, then cut on the diagonal into thin slices.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch evenly over the marinated duck slices and toss gently. Heat a wok over high heat. Once it’s quite hot, swirl in the oil and reduce the heat to medium-high; add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the duck slices and cook, undisturbed for about 10 seconds on the first side, then use tongs to turn them over. Add the rice wine or sherry, then half the kale; stir-fry for 10 seconds or just until the kale strips start to wilt.

Whisk together the broth, hoisin and soy sauces, pomegranate juice and the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch in a liquid measuring cup, then pour into the wok. Cook for a minute or two, just until the mixture thickens and becomes a glossy sauce for the duck. Remove from the heat, then stir in the remaining kale.

Divide among individual plates. Garnish each portion with the scallions and pomegranate seeds, if using. Serve right away. Serves 4.

— From “Stir Crazy: 100 Deliciously Healthy Stir-Fry Recipes” by Ching-He Huang (Kyle, $25.95)



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360 Eats

Diabetes Quick Fix: Scaloppine al Marsala with Penne alla Siciliana

Succulent veal with a sweet Marsala wine sauce and pasta brings a touch of Sicily to your table. Marsala wine is a sweet fortified wine that is produced in Sicily by families who have owned their vineyards for many generations.  — Sherry can be used instead of Marsala.   — Boneless skinless chicken breasts can be substituted...
This 20-minute lemony shrimp dish is a weeknight hero
This 20-minute lemony shrimp dish is a weeknight hero

Shrimp wins as America's favorite seafood in polls year after year; you know those scenes in the film "Forrest Gump" where Pvt. Bubba Blue rambles through all the ways it can be prepared? I think I've had them all. This 20-minute dish ranks high on my list. I could eat it once a week, warm or as cold leftovers. It starts with a bag of frozen...
'Home of Sliced Bread': Small Missouri town champions its greatest thing
'Home of Sliced Bread': Small Missouri town champions its greatest thing

U.S. Route 36 stretches for 200 miles across the flat farmland of northern Missouri, connecting Kansas to Illinois. At one end is the Pony Express Bridge in St. Joseph and at the other is the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge in Hannibal. The route is called "The Way of American Genius" because some of the nation's best-known innovators, creative...
A bean stew that is far from ordinary
A bean stew that is far from ordinary

Many Americans fall in love with the food of Georgia (the country, not the state) after sampling khachapuri, a savory cheese-stuffed bread often served with a runny egg on top. For others, it’s a plateful of handmade khinkali, the country’s meaty version of soup dumplings. For me, the obsession started with a humble bean stew called lobio...
These tasty enchiladas take only 5 minutes in the microwave
These tasty enchiladas take only 5 minutes in the microwave

Enjoy this Mexican-inspired turkey and refried bean enchiladas dish that takes 5 minutes to make using a microwave oven. It’s topped with a spicy tomato sauce.  Esquites, or fried corn, is a typical Mexican side dish. Using diced onion and green peppers found in the produce department and frozen corn kernels, it takes only minutes to prepare...
More Stories