Duck Carnitas Tacos

Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!

From: Kappy

To: RR

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:25am

Subject: Duck Carnitas Tacos – Yeah, I Said That!

Hi RR –

What do Chef John Besh and Duck Carnitas have in common? Well, it’s a long story. But, long story short, I was honored to be chosen by Chef Besh as one of 11 people to receive an advanced copy of his new book, Cooking from the Heart. The deal was, I had to make a recipe and document it. I chose Duck Confit. While I’m a huge fan of this dish, I had never made it at home, or had even thought to make it at home. With this straightforward and delicious recipe, I was able to do so and hope others give it a try, too. Be sure to check out my complete write-up.

But what to do with leftover duck confit, you ask?! The possibilities are endless, but I chose to make Duck Carnitas Tacos with Goat Cheese-Green Chile Crema, Pickled Red Onions and Roasted Delicata Squash. (You may also make this recipe with leftover rotisserie chicken.)

Here are the recipes and my plan of attack:

1. Pickled Red Onions


1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2-3 limes, juiced

A pinch of salt


Put the sliced onions in a food storage container; add the lime juice and salt and cover. Give it a good shake and let stand for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Give the container a good shake every now and then to distribute the lime juice. These stay good for at least a couple weeks.

2. Goat Cheese-Green Chile Crema


1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

2 tablespoons canned chopped green chiles (more if you like spice)

Salt and pepper


Mix all the ingredients together and let stand for 20-30 minutes for the flavors to come together.

3. Roasted Delicata Squash

You may use butternut squash or acorn squash, but be careful when slicing as their skin is tougher than delicata squash.


1 small delicata squash, sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch rings, seeds removed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or cooking spray

Salt and pepper

A pinch of paprika (optional)

A pinch of ground coriander (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Place the squash rings in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with EVOO or spray with cooking spray and season with salt, pepper and paprika and coriander, if using. Flip over and do the same on the other side. Place in the oven and roast until golden brown and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut each slice into half moons if you’d like – or just eat as is.

4. Duck Carnitas


1-2 cups pulled duck, leftover from duck confit

2 tablespoons olive oil


Place a medium to large size skillet over medium-high heat; add oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the pulled duck in an even layer and let cook until crisp, about 2-4 minutes. Turn the duck and let the other side get crisp, another couple minutes or so. Remove from pan and build tacos.

To assemble the tacos: To each his own, but I charred some white corn tortillas, placed some duck on them, and topped it off with pickled red onions, crema, and squash.

And that’s what’s on my plate!

~ Kappy, @OnKappysPlate

Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o! Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray