Slow Roasted Duck Neck Meat Canapes with Berbere-spiced Caramelized Leeks, Dried Apricots, Pistachios on Gallega Crostinis and Garnished with Duck Skin Cracklings
There’s so much meat, and flavorful dark meat at that, on duck necks that they should be considered for more than just stock. Don’t get me wrong they would contribute to a pretty awesome stock but I don’t think it would be the best use of the meat on them, especially if you have a quantity of them. I slow roast the necks, pull most of the meat off the neck bones, and make cracklings with the skin. I do end up saving the leftover neck bones, which still have some meat on them, for stock, but have made better and more creative use of the meat on them.
Tim and Chelsea Clarkson, owners of Grove Ladder Farm in Sarasota, Florida raise American Pekin ducks, which are the most popular ducks raised for meat in the U.S. Like their egg laying Rhode Island Reds, and Cornish Cross hens raised for meat, they raise the ducks in large pens, which they move once a week, on open pasture on their farm. In addition to added non-GMO, non-soy feed, the ducks graze on fresh grass, insects, worms, and grubs. The large area in which they can roam and fresh pasture lead to lean and flavorful meat.
On to the recipe…
I love Ethiopian food and my favorite place to find it locally is a stall at the downtown St. Petersburg (Florida) Saturday Morning Market. The smell of the food is so exotic and distinctive that I just have to follow my nose to find them. I once asked the owners what spices they used (I should know better than to do that but I did). They started listing a bunch of ingredients but the only thing I recognized was “berbere”.
At first, I thought to create a rub with berbere for the duck necks but after noticing the very dark meat on the necks I knew they would already be quite flavorful. I decided instead to flavor the caramelized leeks with the spice mix so that the very mildly flavored leeks would be able to stand up to the more robustly flavored duck neck meat. The dried apricots and pistachios add color, flavor, and texture. Finally, I chose the fermented gallega bread (baguette) for the crostini for its tangy flavor and width to complete the overall dish.
- Korarima – cardamom
- Rue – fenugreek seeds
- Ajwain – caraway seeds
- Radhuni – celery seeds
- Nigella – mix of dried onion, black pepper, oregano
- Fenugreek – yellow mustard and fennel seeds
- 7 Pekin duck necks (1 Grove Ladder Farm pack)
- Berbere-spiced caramelized leeks with dried apricots and pistachios:
- 4 cups julienned leeks ( 2 to 3 leeks, white to pale parts of the stalk only, save the green for stock)
- 1 cup sliced dried apricots
- 1 cup roughly chopped roasted and unsalted pistachios
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 tbsp Berbere spice mix
- How much you use is a matter of personal taste as Berbere spice mix does contain chilis
- Kosher salt to taste
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 20 1/4 to 1/2 thick gallega crostinis
- You will need one gallega baguette to slice then toast (see Preparation below)
- Gallega bread or “Barra Gallega” is originally from the Galician region in northwestern Spain. It’s a rustic, fermented, baguette-style of bread, that has a very crispy crust, light crumb, and is very flavorful due to it being fermented. It is wider than French baguettes and perfect for these rather substantial canapes.
- French baguettes can also be used but you may have to include the additional step of chopping the cooked duck neck meat to fit on the smaller French baguette crostinis as the strands of duck neck meat can be long.
Note: There are three major prep steps in this recipe: toasting the gallega crostinis, roasting the duck necks and skins, and caramelizing the leeks.
Make the crostinis first. They don’t take very long and they end up pre-heating the oven for the duck necks. Start roasting the necks and skin next. This will take two hours, during which you can cook the leeks on the stovetop.
Toasting the gallega crostinis:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F, place a rack on the second from the bottom level.
- Slice the gallega baguette into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices (see photo above)
- Lay the slices onto a wire rack set into a baking tray.
- Place the tray into the pre-heated oven on the second from the bottom level.
- Toast for 15 minutes on one side, turn over, then another 10 on the other side, remove and allow to cool.
- Note: These can be made a day ahead but make sure to store them in an airtight container.
Prep/Roast the duck necks and skins (refer to below photos):
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F, place a rack on the second from the top level.
- Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish.
- The duck neck skins will render a lot of fat into the baking dish. The reason to very lightly grease the dish first is to keep the necks from sticking to the dish in the beginning.
- Make a cut through the skin down one side of the neck.
- Pull off the skin but try to keep it in one piece; set aside.
- Pat dry all sides of the de-skinned duck necks, season with salt and black pepper, place them into the baking dish.
- Season both sides of the duck neck skins with salt and black pepper, lay on top of the necks in the baking dish top-side up.
- Cover with aluminum foil.
- Place the baking dish in the pre-heated oven on the second from the topmost level.
- Cook for 2 hours, 1 and 1/1 hours into cooking remove the foil (do not discard), remove the duck skin, place on a smaller roasting pan (see photo below), place the pan in the oven alongside the baking dish with the uncovered necks.
- Cook for 15 minutes, turn over the necks and skins, cook for a final 15 minutes, remove the baking dish with the necks, cover once again with the foil to keep it warm.
- Raise the temp in the oven to broil, broil the duck neck skins until any remaining fat has rendered and the skin becomes crispy (about 5-7 minutes per side).
- Pour any excess fat in the pan with the skins into the baking dish with the duck necks.
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Once the necks are cool enough to handle, begin pulling the meat off the necks, return the bones to the baking dish (now you can make stock with the bones); set the meat aside but keep warm.
- Chop the crispy duck skins into bite-size strips; set aside but keep warm.
- Note: Pour the liquid/fat in the baking dish into either a pint or quart measuring cup, skim off and save the fat, which may be used in numerous other dishes including duck confit.
- FOOD SAFETY TIP!
- Make sure to wash everything used in preparing raw poultry such as kitchen tools, cutting boards, containers, surfaces, and especially your hands in hot soapy water afterward to prevent cross-contamination.
- Also, I use a yellow cutting board just for poultry as an added precaution against cross-contamination.
Berbere-spiced caramelized leeks with dried apricots and pistachios:
- Wash the leeks, remove and discard any discolored leaves, slice into 4-inch sections, slice each section in half, slice each half into 1/4 to 1/2 inch strips, place into a bowl with cold water, mix with your hands quite vigorously to remove any dirt or sand, drain; set aside.
- Slice the dried apricots into 1/4 inch wide strips; set aside.
- If not already shelled, remove the roasted, unsalted pistachios from their shells, rough chop; set aside.
- Heat a large saute or frying pan over medium-high heat, wait a minute or two for the pan to heat up, add the olive oil and berbere spice mix, cook 1 minute until aromatic, add the sliced leeks, cook, stirring frequently until they are nicely caramelized.
- Add the sliced apricots and chopped pistachios, stir to mix well, season to taste with kosher salt, stir again, spoon into a separate bowl; set aside but keep warm.
- This may be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge but should be reheated just before you’re ready to make the canapes.
Make (the Canapes):
This is the easy part!
- Place a tablespoon of the berbere-spiced caramelized leeks, dried apricots and pistachios onto a crostini.
- Place a few strands of the roasted duck neck meat on top of the leeks.
- Garnish with one (or two) of the duck skin cracklings.
- Your slow-roasted duck neck meat canapes with berbere-spiced caramelized leeks, dried apricots, pistachios on gallega crostinis and garnished with duck skin cracklings are ready!
Slow Roasted Duck Neck Meat Canapes with Berbere Caramelized Leeks, Dried Apricots, Pistachios, and Duck Skin Cracklings on Gallega Crostinis
This is part of a series of posts that are a collaboration between myself and Grove Ladder Farm, a small, family-run farm in Sarasota, Florida that specializes in pasture-raised, non-GMO, soy-free poultry for meat and eggs. I created recipes/dishes that featured their various products in order to provide them with photographs to use in their online and print marketing materials. The photos are used with their permission.