Duck Breast Kebab, Pomegranate Narsharab and Corn Plov

Azerbaijani Cuisine - Duck Breast Kebab

When it comes to making kebabs, duck probably isn’t the first meat that comes to mind. And yet, duck breast has all it takes to be a success on the grill: tender meat and an ample layer of fatty skin. In fact, by assembling two breast halves together, the meat is completely wrapped in fat, which produces perhaps the juiciest and most tender duck breast you’ll ever eat!

A drizzle of narsharab (reduced pomegranate juice) and grilled vegetables is all you need for accompaniment. However, if you want to add some variety to your kebab routine (and because this blog is called Food Perestroika, not Food Stagnation), try my Azerbaijani corn plov. Granted, I have over 60 recipes of Azerbaijani plov, and not a single one of them contains corn (incidentally, I found renditions with goose and wheat). But not to worry: there’s corn in Azerbaijan, and there’s nothing stopping the locals from adding it to their plov. The reason why I’m so adamant about the corn is that it goes well with duck, upholding a theory that pairs meat with common foods eaten by the same animal.

You will need to buy whole breasts, with the two halves still attached by the skin. You can find some at some at D’Artagnan here, or you can buy a whole duck and cut them yourself — make some confit with the legs (recipe here). I use transglutaminase (purchased here) to make sure the two halves stick together, but that’s optional.

Azerbaijani Cuisine - Duck Breast Kebab

Duck fabrication
Yields 4 servings

2 duck breasts (whole breasts, with the two halves attached by the skin), 18-20 oz each
3 g salt
black pepper, ground
transglutaminase (optional)

  • Season the duck breasts skin side down with salt and pepper. Optionally, sprinkle with transglutaminase.
  • Roll each breast into a cylinder so that the meat is totally wrapped in fat. Tie with butcher’s twine, and tightly wrap in two layers of plastic film. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Azerbaijani Cuisine - Duck Breast Kebab

Duck breast kebab
Yields 4 servings

prepared duck breasts
salt
black pepper, ground

  • Prepare a fire like I explain in my lyulya-kebab recipe, but let the coals burn a bit longer. In my pictures above, you can see that the coals are already well consumed by the time I add the meat. If you plan to grill vegetables, you can cook them first, and reheat them once the duck is done.
  • Remove the duck breasts from the plastic wrap, and fork them across 2 skewers, as shown in the pictures.
  • Place the skewers on the mangal. When grease starts dripping from the meat, the coals will catch fire. Flip the skewers and move them to a different spot until the flames go out. To have enough room, you’ll need to keep most if not all of the mangal clear. Repeat until the fat turns a nice brown (but not burnt) color. Remove from the heat, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the meat from the skewers, rotate each piece by 90 degrees along its “axis of revolution”, and return to the skewers — the idea is to grill the sides that are still white. Keep grilling, flipping whenever flames start to appear, until all the sides are the same brown color. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slice and serve with warm narsharab sauce.

Azerbaijani Cuisine - Duck Breast Kebab

Narsharab
Yields over 4 servings

10 oz pomegranate juice
0.3 oz sugar

  • Place the pomegranate juice in a small saucepan, and reduce to 2 oz over medium heat.
  • Mix in the sugar until completely dissolved, then remove from the heat.
  • Serve warm.

Azerbaijani Cuisine - Corn Plov

Corn fabrication
Yields 4 servings

2 ears of corn
20 oz water

  • Cook the ears in their husks in boiling water for 10 minutes. Take out of the water and let cool. Do not discard the water.
  • Discard the husks. Cut the kernels off of the cobs and reserve — you should have about 9 oz of kernels.
  • Chop the bare cobs into large chunks, and place in a small saucepan with the water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the stock, return to the saucepan, and reduce to 9 oz over medium heat. It is likely that the stock will already have reduced quite a bit.

Corn plov
Yields 4 servings

0.2 oz water
4 threads saffron
1.2 oz butter
1.5 oz thinly sliced scallions (white part only)
3 oz rice
9 oz corn stock
9 oz corn kernels
salt
5 oz feta
1/8 tsp finely sliced scallion greens

  • Place the water, saffron and 1/3 of the butter in a very small saucepan (such as a flambé pan), and bring to a simmer over low heat. Remove from the heat, and let steep for 30 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, sauté the scallion whites with the rest of the butter until soft. Stir in the rice, then add the corn stock and the corn kernels, and season with salt. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring regularly, until the liquid is fully absorbed. Remove from the heat, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Crumble the feta between your fingers, and mix into the rice.
  • Strain the saffron mixture, and drizzle onto the rice.
  • Top with the scallion greens, and serve.

Azerbaijani Cuisine - Corn Plov

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One thought on “Duck Breast Kebab, Pomegranate Narsharab and Corn Plov

  1. Pingback: Kutab, Azerbaijani Stuffed Flatbread | Food Perestroika

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