Smoked Mallard with Miso, Caramelized Mushrooms, Garlic and Truffle

Photo by Jesse Morris

Photo by Jesse Morris

Every now and then I come up with a dish on the fly that in its simplicity also seems so complex. I tend to cook what I have on hand at the moment, adding this, adding that. I feel like my best dishes come from that style of cooking, a feral art.

Miso Garlic Butter:

10 cloves peeled garlic

Vegetable oil to cover

1 cup blonde miso

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 stick unsalted butter

In a heavy bottom pan add 10 cloves of peeled garlic and cover with a vegetable oil. Cook on low heat until garlic is soft and caramelized set aside to cool. Save oil for vinaigrette or other projects.

In a mixing bowl add 1 cup of miso 2 tablespoons of soy and all 10 cloves of garlic. Mix well. Add in one stick of room temperature unsalted butter and fold together. This would be good used as a vinaigrette base as well. I’d like to add a few pinches of chili flake for spice, but this is optional.


Smoked Duck:

2 pieces of duck breast

Black pepper

1 king oyster mushroom

Truffle salt

1 slice good bread like brioche

Season two cleaned and dried mallard breast heavily with black pepper. Smoke at 220°F until Duck reaches an internal temperature of 125°F.

On medium high heat, sauté small mushroom dice until they have nice color strain out of pan and add in duck breast for two minutes adding a tablespoon of the miso garlic paste to coat at the end. Set aside to rest.

Toast a slice of nice bread with butter until golden brown. I used a toast a slice of nice bread with butter until golden brown. Are used a round cookie cutter to make it look nice. Top toast round with diced duck and mushroom mixture and seasoned with truffle salt. I get my truffle salt from Los poblanos in Albuquerque New Mexico. I garnished mine with onion flowers and nasturtium flower petals.

Dove Carnitas

Photo by Jesse Morris

Photo by Jesse Morris

One of my all time favorites and go to recipe is carnitas.  They are flavorful and easy to cook. My version of the recipe is not totally traditional. I like to lighten it up and use things that I can find around me in the late August early September months. If you don't like the idea of using real sugar cokes, then don't use it.  You may substitute piloncillo, an unrefined sugar, and water.

1 pound salt pork, large cubed

Pig skin or pig ears, you may use the skin from the salt pork

1 white onion, rough chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1 pound block of lard

10 dove plucked and cleaned doves quartered and hearts (trust me)

1 bunch fresh thyme, whole

1 bunch fresh oregano, whole

2 sticks Mexican cinnamon 

1 Meyer lemon (or small orange), peeled, rind and juice 

3 Mexican real sugar cokes

In a deep, heavy bottom pan or dutch oven brown the salt pork.

Add onions and garlic to pan and and saute for a few minutes.

Then add lard and allow it to melt and begin to slightly fry ingredients in pan.  

Next add dove and remainder of the ingredients and simmer for about an hour on medium/high heat until meat is tender and the cloudy look of the coke and lard turns semi clear. 

Pick all the meat and some of the lemon peel out.  Pull apart the meat to prep for serving. 

Finish off on flat top or cast iron pan till caramelized.

I prefer to garnish with charred jalapeno, chimichuri and a slice of lime or Meyer lemon.

Here is a video I did a few years back with my friends from Original Fare. 






I first took care to clean the duck breast thoroughly making sure to leach the blood out of the meat.  To do this I rinse the breasted out teal in cold running water till the water runs clear. After I do this I pat the breast down with a paper towel and place in a glass container to cool in the refrigerator.

Flatbread (recipe below)

Whiskey Fig Jam (recipe below)

4 marinated and grilled Duck Breast halves, sliced thin (recipe below)

Mixed salad greens

Red onion, sliced thin

Bleu cheese, crumbled

Place a spoonful of Whiskey Fig Jam on the flatbread and spread thin.  (You can substitute homemade or store bought apple butter if desired).  Place 2 to 3 slices of duck breast on each flatbread and top with red onions, greens and Bleu cheese.  

Serves 6-8 people


Whiskey Fig Jam

2 lbs of fresh figs (stems cut off and cut in half)

1.5 lb sugar 

Zest from one lemon 

Juice from one lemon

i cup whiskey

2 jalapeños chopped


Place everything into a mixing bowl and let sit in refrigerator overnight.

Transfer into crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours.  Blend using stick blender.  Continue cooking on high, uncovered, until it becomes a thick dark jam consistency (1-2 more hours).  Ladle into sterile jars and follow typical canning methods.   Or you could allow to cool in refrigerator if you don’t want to can the jam.



Roll out dough and use a desired cutter to cut out perfect circles. Brush with olive oil and place on hot grill.  Brush other side with olive oil and flip it (really doesn't take long only a minute on each side).  You can cook these in advance and just warm them when you are ready to prepare the dish.


Duck Marinade

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

1-2 Tbsp red chili flakes (depending on desired level of spice)

10 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped

4 Tbsp water (approximate, see below)

Next I take the cloves of garlic and smash them on the cutting board and rough chop with a sharp knife.  I then add thyme, chili flakes, extra virgin olive oil, lemon and water to coat breast meat.  Finally cover return to refrigerator to marinade overnight.

Southern Boiled Custard

Christmas time is here which means it’s time for a trip to the south to see family and to do some duck hunting. There are a few foods that you would probably never eat any other time of the year - boiled custard and egg nog are top of the list. Here is a recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation and is well worth breaking out whenever you want. 


Things you will need:

1 quart milk

1 cup sugar

5 eggs

1 vanilla bean, split


Set a double broiler on medium heat on the stove top and add milk to the upper pan.

In a mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar together till incorporated. 

When milk is hot, add a ladle worth into the egg sugar mixture to temper. 

Repeat this step a few times till eggs are warm and add back to milk (the problem you can run into is scrambling the eggs so you want to make sure that everything heats and cooks slowly - take your time.)

Constantly stir the custard in the double broiler till thick enough to coat the wooden spoon. 

Add vanilla bean and cook for another five minutes.  

Strain through a fine strainer or cheese cloth into a metal bowl and place over ice to cool. 

When cool put into a sealable container and put into refrigerator.  When serving my wife likes to add fresh grated nutmeg and I like a good homemade or high quality amaretto.