Mole de Pato with Pastellitos
Akhtar Nawab | Yield: 2
Chef Akhtar Nawab serves our Rohan duck breast with a rich, pumpkin seed mole sauce and arepa dumplings, at his popular New York City restaurant, La Esquina.
FOR THE CURE
- 1 D'Artagnan Rohan Duck , trimmed into 2 breasts (reserve legs for another use)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup salt
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chile piquin
FOR THE PEPITA MOLE
- 5 medium dried ancho chile peppers, stemmed and seeded
- 1 small white onion
- 1/2 red onion
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 ripe plum tomatoes
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry-roasted pumpkin seeds
- 4 ounces firm white bread, torn into pieces
- 4 pieces canned chipotle chiles en adobo
- 4 pieces whole allspice
- 1 stick canela
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pieces Ibarra Mexican table chocolate
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
FOR THE AREPA DUMPLINGS
- 5 ounces milk
- 1 ounce queso supremo
- 5 ounces masa arepa
- 1 ounce butter
- 2 eggs
- 3 ounces flour
- For the cure: In a non-reactive baking pan, mix together sugar, salt, thyme and chile piquin. Add duck breasts, flesh side down. Cure in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- For the mole: Toast the ancho chiles in a large pot over low flame. Add the olive oil, onions, garlic and tomatoes. Cook until soft. Add the bread, canela, bay, chipotle and roasted pumpkin seeds. Continue to cook, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in red wine, cook for a few minutes, then add chicken stock, Ibarra chocolate and cocoa powder. Simmer for 1 hour.
- After an hour of cooking, remove bay leaf, discard. Using a stick blender or food processor, puree the sauce until smooth. Pass pureed sauce through a chinois or fine mesh strainer.
- Return strained mole sauce to a clean pot. Add cider vinegar, whisking to combine. Keep warm.
- For the dumplings: In a small pot, over medium flame, bring milk and butter to a low boil. Add in masa arepa. With a wooden spoon, stir until dough pulls away from the sides and forms a ball. Beat in eggs until combined. Slowly add in flour. Do not overwork. Roll spoonfulls of dough into dumpling shapes.
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a low boil. Carefully drop in dumplings, (like gnocchi) poach until dumplings float. Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside.
- After the duck breasts have cured, rinse the cure off of them under cool running water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Score the duck skin in a crosshatch pattern. Heat a dry skillet over medium-high flame until very hot. Sear the breasts, skin side down, until fat renders out and skin is evenly browned, about 5 minutes. Turn breasts over, reduce flame to medium and cook until medium-rare, about 5 minutes more. Rest duck breasts on a cutting board.
- While duck is resting, finish the dumplings. Melt a knob of butter in a medium skillet over medium-high flame. Saute the dumplings until golden brown.
- Plate each duck breast with a portion of dumplings and finish with warmed mole sauce.