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Wild Duck Carnitas

Recipe Courtesy of Rikki Folger
You can check out her other recipes at Wild and Foraged and Harvesting Nature.

Serving Size: 2 servings
Time to make: 5 hours

Special Equipment: Dutch Oven, Cast iron Pan, Blender

Also works with: Turkey, Chicken, other game birds


  • duck breasts, skinned  ·  4 
  • yellow onion, diced  ·  1 
  • duck fat  ·  ½  cup 
  • garlic, rough chopped  ·  5 cloves 
  • chili powder  ·  2 teaspoons 
  • cumin  ·  2 teaspoons 
  • dried oregano  ·  2 teaspoons 
  • cayenne pepper  ·  2 teaspoons 
  • cinnamon  ·  1 teaspoon 
  • coffee  ·  1/2 cup 
  • duck stock (can use chicken stock)  ·  4 cups 
  • kosher salt  ·  1 tablespoon 
  • ground black pepper  ·  1 teaspoon 
  • bay leaves  ·  2 
  • sour cream  ·  1 cup 
  • cup heavy whipping cream  ·  1/2 cup 
  • bunch cilantro, minimal stems  ·  1 
  • lime, juiced  ·  1 
  • kosher salt  ·  to taste 


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Sear duck breast in duck fat over medium heat in a dutch oven until brown on each side. This is for color and duck will still be raw in the middle. Remove and set aside when done.
  3. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. You can add more duck fat if needed.
  4. Add duck back to the pot with the rest of the ingredients listed.
  5. Place pot with the lid on in the oven for 4 hours. The duck is done when it can easily be shredded.
  6. While the duck is cooking, make the cilantro lime crema. Add sour cream, heavy cream, cilantro leaves and lime juice to a blender and mix until just combined. Add salt to your taste. Place in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
  7. When the duck is ready, remove from braising liquid and shred. Be sure to save the liquid!
  8. When the duck is shredded add a little duck fat to a cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add shredded duck and ½ cup of the braising liquid, cook for 5 minutes until slightly crispy.
  9. Take off heat and assemble with the crema and toppings. These can be made into tacos, burritos, tostadas… really whatever you want to make. The world is your oyster!

How I served mine: I made my flour tortillas from scratch earlier in the day and warmed them in the oven just before serving.
To add some tangy spice to my dish I quick-pickled fresh jalapenos and radishes. This is so simple and takes only 10 minutes. We added my mother-in-law's homemade salsa, cotija cheese, sliced avocado, white rice and beans.

Other Variations:
You can make your own corn tortillas using masa flour for a street taco vibe. This will also make the dish gluten-free!
The crema can be made dairy-free using your favorite dairy-free sour cream and heavy cream substitutes. Be sure to leave off the cotija cheese!

Paired Wines