the appetizer:

Mexican cuisine combines the traditional indigenous foods of the Aztecs and Mayas, like chocolate, corn, tomato, avocado, beans and chile peppers, with the meats, rice and garlic brought to Mexico by the Spanish conquistadores.

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Duck and Pomegranate Tacos  


Duck and Pomegranate Tacos

Serves 4

Pomegranates are a Spanish import to Mexico, where people have taken to them because they are both sweet and brightly colored. This recipe uses one of my favorite treatments for game: a tenderizing and flavorful marinade of pomegranate juice and mint. It works well on venison and quail, and equally well on lamb and duck. When pomegranates are out of season, I have found that pomegranate molasses (available in Middle Eastern groceries) is a good substitute.

4 large boneless duck breasts (about 2 pounds each), with skin on
Mint Recado
1 cup pomegranate juice or cranberry juice,
   or 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses mixed with 3/4 cup water
Oil for grill
Small tortillas, heated
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
Charred Habanero Salsa

Score skin side of duck breasts in several places. Place them, skin side down, in a cold sauté pan and put over low heat. Slowly render fat from breasts, about 10 minutes. Remove duck breasts to a large, nonreactive bowl; pour fat into a jar and reserve for other uses. Add the recado and pomegranate or cranberry juice to duck and mix well. Cover, refrigerate, and let marinate overnight.

Light the grill and let burn down to a medium fire. Oil grill. Remove duck from marinade and shake off excess. Start to grill duck, skin side down, then turn and cook second side. Duck should be done to medium rare in about 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Chop meat coarsely and wrap in tortillas with chopped scallions and salsa.

La Parilla: The Mexican Grill
By Reed Hearon
Photographs by Laurie Smith
Chronicle Books, 1996
Price: $19.95, paper
ISBN: 0-8118-1034-8
Reprinted by permission


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This page modified January 2007