Saturday, March 12, 2011

Curry-ously Delicious

    A while ago I found the most delicious looking recipe for a Red Thai Duck Curry on a blog I frequently follow (The Pioneer Woman). I got around to making it for the first time tonight, and it did not disappoint. It had the perfect balance of sweet, salty, sour and spicy  very spicy, that you expect to get from eating Thai food. If you are a fan of curry at all, you must try this.
    The recipe calls for a Red Curry Paste. Coincidentally I had hunted down all the ingredients to make this myself on a recent trip to Montreal. Once I made it, I portioned it out and froze it for later use. It kept well, and I used it in tonight's recipe. You can purchase red curry paste already made in the Asian aisle of your supermarket, but the flavor nuances are lack luster in comparison to the homemade product.
    I had also found some beautiful looking duck breasts on the same trip, and couldn't pass on the opportunity to give them a try as well. This recipe originally suggested "pan frying" the breast until cooked. I decided to sear and reduce the fat on top of the breast until it was nothing but a delicious crust (Draining the fat as needed). I then flipped the breast over and transferred the entire oven proof pan to a preheated oven to finish cooking. I cooked the breast to a moist medium well, and let it rest until I was ready to use it on the curry.
   Typically, Thai style curry dishes are paired with an aromatic rice like Basmati or Jasmine. But in my quest to cut calories from an already calorie ridden dish, I replaced the rice with a cauliflower "rice". It added an unexpected "creamy butteriness", that I really enjoyed. As a lover of all rices, I was thinking I would regret my decision to subsitute. But I did not. This recipe has made my top 10 favorites list. I can't wait for Lunch to eat my leftover's.

Red Thai Duck Curry

Red Thai Duck Curry on Cauliflower Rice

1 whole boneless duck breasts, fat on if desired
2 tbsps. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsps. red curry paste (store bought or homemade)
1 14oz can full fat coconut milk
1 cups hot water
2 tbsps. fish sauce
1-2 tbsps. fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsps. olive oil (additional)
½ whole red onion, sliced
1 whole green or red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes (I omitted these)
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (the original recipe used basil)
Jasmine rice cooked (or you can use cauliflower "rice")


(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
(2) Wash and dry duck breast. Score the fat on the breast.

(3) Place in a preheated (oven safe) pan, that has been set over medium high heat, fat side down. Cook for several minutes, draining the fat as needed. You will know the fat is finished searing, when it has become crispy and golden brown in color. (Don’t worry about cooking the duck at this point. You just want to give the skin some great color. You will finish cooking in the oven).
(4) When the duck has rendered it's fat and has reached the desired crispness, drain off the remaining fat. Flip the duck breast so it is fat side up. Transfer to the oven for 8- 10 minutes. (8 minutes for med well, 10 minutes for well done).
(5) Once the duck breast has reached it's desired doneness, remove from the oven and let rest.

Let tht duck breast rest for a
few minutes.

Thinly slice the duck breast.

(6) Now, start creating the curry. In a clean saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. of  olive oil. Go ahead and add the minced garlic to the pan. Add red curry paste to the pan and stir. Cook paste for several minutes to release the flavors.

(7) Pour in the coconut milk, hot water, fish sauce, and minced ginger. Stir and allow to cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. Reduce until it reaches a sauce like consistency.

(8) In a second pan, heat the remaining oil over medium high heat. Add sliced onions and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. About 3 to 4 minutes.

(9) Add pineapple and cherry tomatoes. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
(10) Taste the curry sauce, which should be thickened by now. Add more spice if needed.

The sauce is thickened when a ribbon
appears after you scrape the bottom of
your pan with a spatula.
(11) Pour vegetables into the curry sauce. Stir to combine. Set heat to medium low, to keep warm. (Add a little hot water if it seems too thick, or allow to bubble longer if it needs more thickening). Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

(12) At the last minute, stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve curry mixture immediately over a hot bed of rice.

*Yields 2 Large Servings

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