I’ll be honest and say I was not a fan of curry duck nor goat, growing up on the islands. While I do eat curry goat occasionally now, I did develop a weakness for spicy curry duck in my adult years. Especially when it’s summertime and I can use my outdoor wood-burning stove, as we’re doing in today’s recipe. Nothing beats the deep flavor you get cooking over a wood fire.. the spices which makes up a good curry powder seems to take on a totally different flavor profile, compared to when cooked indoors or even on a propane flame outside.
8-10 lbs Duck
1 tablespoon salt (adjust)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
1 teaspoon Roasted Geera (Cumin powder)
1 tablespoon Amchar Masalla
8 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 scallions (chopped)
1 small onion (diced)
1 medium tomato (diced)
1/2 small onion (diced)
5 sprigs thyme
1 big leaf thyme (podina aka Spanish thyme)
2-3 scotch bonnet peppers
2-3 cups water.
4 tablespoon curry powder
3-4 tablespoon veg oil
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 cups water
Important! If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure that they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Especially the curry powder you use as some may contain flour as a filler.
Have your butcher use his band-saw to cut the duck into 1 – 2 inch pieces as the bones can be rather tough and brittle as well. Additionally, if you source your duck (Muscovy) at a Caribbean store, ask them to fire roast it (outer skin) if they can. This will help burn off any baby feathers. I’m not a huge fan of the skin and fat (duck can be very fatty) so I trimmed off as much as I could, then I washed the now trimmed pieces of duck with the juice of a lemon and cool water. Drain and get ready to season.
In a large bowl, place the duck, tomato, salt, black pepper, 2 scotch bonnet pepper (be mindful that this is supposed to be a spicy dish but you can tailor it to your own liking) , thyme, Caribbean Green Seasoning, Geera, Amchar Masalla, the small onion, scallion and big leaf thyme (crushed of chopped finely -optional). Give this a good mix and allow to marinate for at least a couple hours, but overnight in the fridge is probably best.
I had a good bed of coals and a couple logs in my fire, so on went a heavy iron pot over the heat, along with the vegetable oil. This was followed by the diced 1/2 onion, which cooked for 2 minutes (try to have a low heat if you can), then I went in with the garlic. After 30 seconds I added my curry powder and cooked until it got fragrant and darker. This step allows us to cook off any raw curry taste which could happen at the end and allow the spices which makes up the curry powder to fully bloom.
It’s now time to start adding the seasoned duck to the pot and try your best to stir well, so every piece of duck is coated in the lovely curry base we created. If you can, turn up your heat (I can adjust the heat by how much oxygen I allow into my wood burning stove) and allow the pieces of duck to sear a bit. Then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir it a couple times.
It’s now time to burn off all the liquid which will naturally spring-up. This step is to give the duck that rich curry flavor and color. Do NOT skip this step please. So basically all I did was add a bit more fire, removed the lid off the pot and got things back to the oil we started off with. Be sure to stir well, so it doesn’t burn during this step. This may take between 5-10 minutes to burn off.
Put the water in the same bowl you marinated the duck in, to pick up any marinade which may have been left back. Then pour it into the now ‘dry’ duck meat in the pot. Give it a good stir and bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook with the pot closed for about 40 minutes. Be sure to stir every 5-8 minutes or so and if you find that it’s drying up too fast, do add a bit more water. NO.. do NOT add any type of stock to the pot. Add some coconut milk if you want to add a different flavor to the curry.
Here’s where you’ll now personalize things. Taste for salt and adjust, see if the meat is tender enough for you (depending on the age of the duck, it can take a bit longer to get tender).. if not cook a bit longer, and adjust the gravy to the consistency you like. Finally add the chopped cilantro (shado beni will be the typical choice in Trinidad and Tobago) and I like adding another finely diced scotch bonnet at this point as well.
Remove the pot off the heat source and allow the residual heat to warm the diced pepper and cilantro. Get ready to enjoy the best ever curry duck you’ve ever made/had. You may thank me by sharing this recipe with your friends. (smile)
Couple things.. be sure to wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling the Scotch Bonnet peppers and you can control the amount of heat in this dish by how many peppers you choose to use as well as by using the seeds of the peppers or not. The seeds and white membrane surrounding the seeds is where the raw heat will be.
Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2