Forget the sour cream: Neil Perry's duck tacos

Neil Perry
Forget the sour cream overdose: Neil Perry's duck carnitas tacos.
Forget the sour cream overdose: Neil Perry's duck carnitas tacos. Photo: William Meppem

Try using chicken instead of duck for the tacos. Just be sure to reduce the cooking time by 30 minutes. You can also use corn tortillas if you prefer.


6 duck legs

Mexican-style king prawn cocktails.
Mexican-style king prawn cocktails. 

2 small white onions, peeled and sliced

1 head garlic, cut in half

1 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces

1 tsp ground cumin

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 medium orange, quartered

2 limes, quartered

tomatillo chipotle salsa

400g tin tomatillos, rinsed

3 cloves garlic

4 chipotle chillies in adobo (including a little adobo liquid)

juice of 2 limes

¼ cabbage, shredded

1 white onion, finely chopped

1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped

12 flour tortillas

Makes 12 tacos

Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Place the duck legs, onions, garlic, cinnamon and cumin in a casserole dish with a lid, and season to taste with salt. Squeeze the orange quarters over the duck, add the orange skins, mix well, place on the lid and cook in oven for about 2 hours, until the meat comes easily off the bone.

Remove the duck from liquid and fat in the casserole, let it cool a little and pull the meat off the bone in large chunks.

Strain the duck fat through a sieve. Heat 2 tbsp in a large frypan over medium-high heat, add the duck and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the meat is golden brown and crisp. Season to taste. Place on a plate surrounded by the quartered limes, ready to serve.

For the salsa, put tomatillos and garlic in a small pot with 3 tbsp of water and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the chillies and adobo liquid and process in the pot with a stick blender until smooth. Season and add the lime juice. Pour into a serving bowl.

Shred cabbage and onion and place in a salad bowl. Sprinkle coriander on top.

To serve, heat the tortillas - these can be microwaved, steamed or cooked in a pan. Add duck, salad and salsa with a squeeze of lime, then wrap your tortilla.


1 iceberg lettuce

1 ear sweetcorn, peeled, kernels removed

1/2 Spanish onion, finely sliced

2 jalapeño chillies, deseeded, finely diced

1/2 cup chopped coriander

1 avocado, finely diced

extra virgin olive oil

juice of 2 limes

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

16 large cooked king prawns, peeled and deveined, tails intact


3 tbsp tomato ketchup

2 chipotle chillies in adobo, minced

5 drops Tabasco sauce

250ml good-quality mayonnaise

Serves 4

To make the sauce, simply fold the ketchup, chipotle and Tabasco through the mayonnaise until well incorporated.

Wash the lettuce and discard the outside leaves, then shred finely. Distribute the shredded lettuce over a serving plate, then scatter corn, onion, chillies, coriander and avocado over the top. Drizzle with olive oil and lime juice and season to taste.

Scatter the prawns over the salad and dollop a bit of sauce on each prawn. Serve immediately.


* The chipotle will come in bigger tins than you need. Cover the remainder with a little olive oil for future use.You can use it chopped and blended with butter for meat and seafood barbecues - delicious!

* Tomatillo, a member of the nightshade family, is a staple in Mexican cooking. They're also known as "tomate verde" (green tomatoes).


Gamay may not be a well-known grape, but Sorrenberg in Beechworth, Victoria, is producing outstanding examples. The 2012 vintage ($44) is light and bright, with flavours of redcurrants and cherries and soft, silky tannins. It's a very happy match for duck.

Photography by William Meppem; Jennifer soo. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Dominic Smith.