Duck Tacos with Refried Black Beans

I usually think of duck meat as being too fatty to agree with me. 😉 After seeing Sara Moulton make these tacos, she convinced me to give it another chance. In this dish, the fatty skin is removed and the shredded duck meat was very moist and flavorful.

I often see the vacuum-sealed, cooked rotisserie duck at Costco. On my last visit, when most the fresh poultry was out of stock and the rotisserie chicken was limited to one per visit, there was plenty of rotisserie duck available. 🙂 These tacos could also be made with rotisserie chicken, of course, but this was a nice change. My son thought that they were “next-level.”

This recipe was adapted from Sara’s Weeknight Meals, via SaraMolton.com. I doubled the original recipe to use the entire rotisserie duck and added additional toppings. The leftover filling was just as delicious reheated and served with fresh toppings and taco shells. The healthy and quick refried black beans were fabulous too.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For the Spice Blend:

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

For the Filling & Toppings:

  • 1 half of a cooked rotisserie duck
  • 1 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 3 T water
  • 12 ready-to-eat regular-size taco shells, warmed according to package directions
  • chopped or shredded iceberg lettuce or finely-shredded cabbage, for serving
  • chopped tomatoes (I used chopped grape tomatoes)m for serving
  • shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese or a Mexican cheese blend, to taste, for serving
  • prepared salsa, for serving
  • light sour cream, for serving
  • cilantro, for serving
  • diced avocado, for serving
  • canned diced chilies, for serving
  • hot sauce, for serving (I used Chipotle Cholula)
  • rice, for serving, optional
  • Refried beans, recipe below

To Make the Spice Blend:

  1. Add the ingredients to a bowl and stir well to combine.

To Make the Fillings, Toppings, & To Serve:

  1. Remove the skin from the duck meat. Shred enough meat from one half of a rotisserie cooked duck to yield 2 1/2 cups.
  2. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the shredded duck and spice blend and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in the water and cook, covered, for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Divide the filling among the taco shells.
  6. Top with the lettuce and tomatoes, and sprinkle with cheese.  Top with cilantro, avocado, diced chiles, and hot sauce, as desired. Spoon on the salsa and sour cream, if using.
  7. Serve immediately with refried beans on the side. (The refried beans can be used as an additional taco filling, if desired.)

For the Refried Beans:

  • 2 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (I used 1 large yellow onion when I doubled the recipe)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups thoroughly cooked black beans or one 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  4. Stir in the cumin and chili powder and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the beans and chicken stock, cover, and cook until the beans are very soft and the flavors are well blended, about 5 minutes.
  6. Use a fork or potato masher to coarsely mash the beans.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Note: Cooked, rotisserie duck can be purchased online @Maple Leaf Farms.com.

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Thighs

This is another Mexican-inspired chicken dish. I coarsely hand-shredded this juicy chicken to serve as a taco filling with loads of toppings. It would also be wonderful in a burrito bowl or simply on it’s own with street corn, refried beans and rice. Yum.

The recipe was adapted from DamnDelicious.com. I marinated the chicken for 6 hours and it was very flavorful. I broiled the chicken instead of pan frying it as well. It would also be perfect grilled.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 1 T lime zest
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 4 large thighs)
  • cooked rice and refried beans, for serving, as desired
  • guacamole or avocado slices, for serving, as desired
  • corn, red onion, shredded cheese, tomatoes, and salsa, for serving, as desired
  • hot sauce and sour cream, for serving, as desired
  • flour or corn tortillas for serving as a burrito or tacos, optional
  1. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
  2. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken and cilantro mixture; marinate for at least 2 hours to overnight, turning the bag occasionally. (I marinated the chicken for 6 hours.)
  3. Preheat broiler or grill.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a rimmed baking sheet, if broiling.
  5. Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 4-5 minutes per side.
  6. Let rest and cool slightly to coarsely hand-shred (to use as a taco or burrito filling).
  7. Serve with rice and refried beans and assorted toppings, as desired.

Greek Stuffing

I have gone to a hair salon owned by a lovely Greek family for many years. Beyond being a relaxing experience to just be there, we often discuss food and new restaurants- it’s great. After hearing about this Greek Thanksgiving stuffing for almost as many years, I finally got the treasured family recipe. 🙂

This dish is reminiscent of one of my son’s favorite rice and meat dishes, Thai One-Pot, with a Greek twist. It incorporates cinnamon, raisins, roasted chestnuts, as well as pine nuts.

My friends eat it as part of their Thanksgiving feast, but it is also hearty enough to be served as a main course. We ate it for dinner with roasted broccoli on the side. I modified the original recipe by using fresh mushrooms and ground turkey instead of ground beef. It was very unique and delicious!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish

  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup flat parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 24 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup white Basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 13 oz organic roasted, peeled chestnuts, crumbled lightly
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pound ground turkey or ground beef
  • 1 turkey liver or 2 chicken livers, finely chopped
  • 1-2 T ground cinnamon
  • coarse salt
  • 1/2 T freshly ground black pepper
  1. Melt the butter in a 14-inch skillet.
  2. Add the chopped celery and onion; sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley, and continue to sauté for another minute.
  3. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the rice: In a medium pot, bring chicken stock, rice, and 1/2 tsp salt to a simmer. Add the chestnuts, crushed tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins, and cinnamon stick; mix. Cover and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes. (I used an enameled cast iron pot so that I could use it to finish the dish.)
  5. While the rice is cooking, add the olive oil to the hot 14-inch skillet, followed by the ground meat and chopped liver.
  6. Season the meat with 1 T salt, 1/2 T black pepper, and 1 T ground cinnamon. Cook until no longer pink, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  7. When the rice is tender, remove the cinnamon stick.
  8. Add the onion, celery, and mushroom mixture to the cooked meat, followed by the cooked rice mixture. Stir to incorporate.
  9. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk

  • 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 10 cloves garlic, skins left on
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 handful of fresh sage, leaves picked — around 15-20 leaves
  • 2 lemons
  1. Heat oven to 375, preferably on convection.
  2. Season the chicken aggressively with the salt and pepper.
  3. Place a pot that will fit the chicken snugly (I used a deep 4-quart pot) over medium-high heat on the stove, and add to it the butter and olive oil.
  4. When the butter has melted and is starting to foam, add the chicken to the pot and fry it, turning every few minutes, until it has browned all over.
  5. Turn the heat down to low, remove the chicken from the pot and place it onto a plate, then drain off all but a few tablespoons of the fat from the pot. (I left more fat than recommended but would reduce the amount next time.)
  6. Add the cinnamon stick and garlic to the pot, and allow them to sizzle in the oil for a minute or 2, then return the chicken to the pot (preferably breast-side down) along with the milk and sage leaves.
  7. Use a vegetable peeler to cut wide strips of skin off the two lemons, and add them to the pot as well.
  8. Slide the pot into the oven, and bake for approximately 1½ hours, basting the chicken occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and tender and the sauce has reduced into a thick, curdled sauce. (If the sauce is reducing too quickly, put a cover halfway onto the pot.)
  9. To serve, use a spoon to divide the chicken onto plates. Spoon sauce over each serving.

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Sheet Pan Chicken & Mushrooms with Parsley Sauce

This dish was a quick and special weeknight meal. The parsley sauce really made the dish fabulous. I loved the roasted lemon slices as well. We ate it with roasted potatoes and asparagus on the side. Eating it with a green salad and quinoa, suggested by the author, would also be lovely.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by cookbook author Julia Turshen. I increased the amount of chicken, mushrooms, and garlic. Delicious!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
 (I used 10 thighs)
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (for each sheet pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 oz) mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake and cremini, stemmed and halved if large
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus slices for garnish
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish, as desired
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°, preferably on convection roast, and place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven to heat. (I used 2 sheet pans but may try to use only one next time.)
  2. Season the chicken generously 
on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil onto each hot baking sheet.
  4. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the hot sheet and roast for about 5 minutes, until the chicken begins to brown.
  5. In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms and lemon slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  6. Remove sheet pan(s) from the oven and flip the chicken thighs.
  7. Carefully scatter the mushrooms and lemon slices 
evenly around the chicken.
  8. Return the sheet pan(s) to the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, rotating the pan(s) halfway through, until the mushrooms 
and lemon are browned and the chicken is cooked through.
  9. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil with the 1/2 cup of parsley, the vinegar and garlic. Season the sauce with salt.
  10. Transfer the chicken, mushrooms and lemon slices to a platter.
  11. Drizzle with some of the sauce and garnish with lemon and parsley. Serve, passing the remaining sauce at the table.

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Thai One-Pot

I made this quick one-pot dish so that my son could gobble it up before his swim practice. After practice, he used my husband’s phone to text me (repeatedly), “I’m starving! I need more ONE POT!!” He absolutely loved it. Needless to say, he ate all of the leftovers. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine. I lightened the recipe by using ground turkey instead of ground pork. I also used arborio rice. My serving had additional fresh lime juice squeezed all over the top. Tasty!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground pork or turkey
  • 3/4 cup short-grain rice (I used arborio rice)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 scallions including green tops, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • radishes, cut into thin slices, to taste, for garnish
  • 5 tablespoons chopped cilantro or fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • juice from about 1 lime, plus lime wedges for garnish
  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. (I used a 4-quart covered pan.)
  2. Add the bell peppers, shiitakes, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove.
  3. Add the ground meat to the pan and cook, stirring, until it is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Spoon off the fat from the pan, if using pork. Season with 1/4 tsp of salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Stir in the bell peppers and shiitakes, the rice, broth, soy sauce, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne.
  5. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, without removing the lid, until the rice is just done, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in the scallions, cilantro, and lime juice.
  8. Garnish with additional lime wedges, radishes, cilantro, and scallion slices, as desired. Serve.

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Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma

The New York Times described this dish as “an oven-roasted version of the classic street-side flavor bomb usually cooked on a rotisserie.” What a perfect description! This dish is insanely flavorful. We ate it with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, wheat flatbread, bulgur pilaf, and “white sauce.” The traditional white sauce that is served with this dish is plain yogurt or sour cream (I used sour cream on this occasion) mixed with a little bit of coarse salt, garlic, and lemon juice. It can also be served with hot sauce.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. My husband said he would eat it every day. 🙂 Fabulous!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • A pinch ground cinnamon
  • Red-pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Prepare a marinade for the chicken: Combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red-pepper flakes in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Add the chicken, and toss well to coat. Cover, and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425, preferably on convection roast. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade, and toss once to combine.
  4. Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and place on the pan, spreading everything evenly across it.
  5. Put the chicken in the oven, and roast until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 on convection roast, or up to 40 minutes in a standard oven.
  6. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 2 minutes, then slice into bits. (To make the chicken even more crisp, set a large pan over high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then the sliced chicken, and sauté until everything curls tight in the heat.)
  7. Scatter the parsley over the top and serve with tomatoes, cucumbers, pita or flatbread, white sauce, hot sauce, olives, fried eggplant, feta, rice — really anything you desire.

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