Duck Tacos with Refried Black Beans

I usually think of duck meat as being too fatty to agree with me. ūüėČ 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. ūüôā 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.

One-Pot Chicken Thighs with Black Beans, Rice & Chiles

The New York Times recently posted a list of “The 13 Best Cookbooks of Fall 2019” along with one recipe from each book. Such a wonderful peek. ūüôā

Baked chicken and rice dishes are an absolute favorite in my house, so I was immediately drawn to this dish adapted from Diana Henry’s From the Oven to the Table: Simple Dishes that Look After Themselves, contributed to The New York Times by Margaux Laskey.

This Mexican-inspired dish was incredibly flavorful. I loved serving it with all of the garnishes as well. We ate it with sautéed greens on the side. Fabulous!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 8 to 10¬†(5 pounds)¬†bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil or peanut oil
  • 1 large yellow, Vidalia or white onion, chopped
  • 2 green or red bell peppers, halved, seeded and sliced (I used my CSA long green peppers)
  • 2 ¬Ĺ cups chicken stock
  • 2 red Fresno chiles or jalape√Īos, halved, seeded and chopped, plus one sliced chile for garnish
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 6 oz grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup white Basmati rice, rinsed in a sieve until the water runs clear
  • 3¬†T¬†chopped cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and sliced avocado, for serving, as desired
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (the pan size is very important) over medium-high. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.)
  4. In two batches, brown the chicken on both sides to give it good color, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Add the onion and bell peppers to the pan and sauté until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil.
  7. Meanwhile, add the chiles, cinnamon, garlic and cumin to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the black beans and cherry tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  9. Sprinkle the rice on top in an even layer. (It’s important that the black beans are beneath the rice and chicken. The rice will burn otherwise.)
  10. Add the stock and return the chicken to the pan, skin-side up.
  11. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. The chicken should be lovely and golden, the stock should be absorbed and the rice should be tender.
  12. Sprinkle with the cilantro.
  13. Serve with lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and avocado (squeeze some lime juice over the avocados in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper), as desired.

Chicken Chili with Chipotle and Poblano Chiles

This is my favorite chicken chili, although I have struggled in the past with the spiciness level for guests. I worry it will be too spicy‚Ķ.such a stress!! ūüôā I think that I finally got it just right this time. It has a perfect balance of spiciness complemented by the toppings and added rice.

It is fun to serve chili to guests with multiple topping choices. This chili is wonderful topped with any combination of diced red onions, sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, and fresh cilantro. We also had rice, tortilla chips, and corn bread on the side.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. Perfect on a cold day.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 

  • 2 poblano¬†chiles
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 chipotle¬†chile¬†in adobo sauce, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 medium¬†garlic¬†cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano or oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried epazote or 3T fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle¬†chile powder
  • 3 fifteen-ounce cans¬†kidney beans, drained
  • 1 fifteen-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • freshly grated Monterey Jack¬†cheese, for serving (optional)
  • diced red onion, for serving (optional)
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)
  • sour cream, for serving (optional)
  • sliced or diced¬†avocado, for serving (optional)
  • tortilla chips, for serving (optional)
  • rice, for serving, if desired (I served¬†brown Basmati rice)
  • cornbread, for serving, if desired

  1. Heat broiler. Toast poblano chiles until fragrant and beginning to blacken. Remove, cover to steam, and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  2. Peel, stem and remove ribs from toasted poblanos.
  3. Toast cumin seeds in a skillet, shaking skillet constantly, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder, and grind until fine. Set aside.
  4. Tear cleaned poblano chiles into pieces, and place in the jar of a blender. Add chicken stock and stemmed chipotle in adobo sauce. Puree, and set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add chicken, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the exterior turns white, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add reserved ground cumin, oregano, epazote (or cilantro), and ground chipotle chile powder; cook 5 minutes more.
  8. Stir in the stock mixture, beans, and tomatoes.
  9. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until flavors have married and liquid is thickened and reduced, about 40 minutes.
  10. Serve immediately over rice and/or with corn bread, as desired. Pass cheese, onion, cilantro, sour cream, avocado, and tortilla strips on the side as optional toppings.

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