Chipotle Duck Taco with Duck Chicharrón, Pineapple Cucumber Salsa, and Spicy Crema

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Preparation info

  • Makes


    large tacos.
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Amor y Tacos

Amor y Tacos

By Deborah Schneider

Published 2010

  • About

Duck? Belgian endive? This sophisticated taco is an example of the kind of innovative cooking stirring things up in Mexico City. The upper tier of modern chefs in Mexico (as the city is called) generally have classical kitchen training, as well as experience working in Europe and, often, in Asia. They turn tradition on its head, mixing up preparations, adding Mexican flavors to other cuisines (and vice versa), incorporating new ingredients and rediscovering old ones, and generally having lots of fun. There are several steps to creating this nuevo taco, but everything up to the final steps may be done well ahead of time, and at the last minute you need only do the final duck cooking. Just before serving, warm the tortillas and assemble the tacos.


  • 2 (12-ounce) duck breasts
  • tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried chipotles
  • 1 teaspoon ground California or guajillo chiles
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, rubbed to a powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • Spicy crema
  • Pineapple cucumber salsa
  • Shredded red and white Belgian endive (or Savoy cabbage)
  • Lime wedges
  • 12 warm corn tortillas


  1. Remove the skin from the duck breasts. Cut the skin into thin strips and set it aside.
  2. Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil and sear the duck breasts for 3 minutes per side. Remove them from the pan—the duck will still be rare. At this point, you can refrigerate the duck for up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Arrange the duck skin pieces in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet lightly coated with about ½ teaspoon oil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the skin is browned and very crisp. Remove the strips from pan while hot, salt lightly, and drain them on paper towels. At this point you may store the duck chicharrón for 24 hours; re-crisp them in a 400-degree oven before using.
  4. Prepare the chipotle rub by combining the dried chiles, paprika, oregano, salt, and sugar in a small bowl (see note).
  5. Half an hour before serving, thinly slice the duck. Toss the duck meat with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 or 3 tablespoons chipotle rub, enough to coat the meat lightly but evenly.
  6. Five minutes before serving, heat a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the pan is hot, but not smoking, add the duck meat all at once and cook it quickly, stirring often, until the meat is barely pink. Serve right away with the duck skin chicharrón, spicy crema, salsa, endive, limes, and tortillas, and allow guests to assemble their own tacos.

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