Thai Red Curry Duck with Pineapple and Cherry Tomatoes

This little umami feast explodes with flavor because of the wildly contrasting tastes… the rich deep dark pink meat of the duck breast match perfectly with the spicy red curry, and the bright sweet taste of the pineapple and the tomatoes contrast wonderfully with the richness of the coconut cream and the umami fish sauce.  It’s also addictive, like the best meals from Thailand, with the amazing fresh flavors of the lemongrass, Kiffir lime leaves, Thai basil, mint and cilantro. 

It’s just a perfect meal when you are in the mood for something really exotic and crazy tasty.

Ingredients

1 pound duck breast, already roasted, seared or smoked, cut into bite sized chunks

1/4 cup Thai red curry paste (we use Mae Ploy brand)

16 oz coconut cream (richer than coconut milk, which is just coconut cream watered down)

1 cup ALREADY reduced chicken or duck broth

8 oz haricot vert, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks, each about 3/4 inch square

2 inches ginger, grated, about 2 tablespoons

2 Thai or Serrano peppers, cut into fairly thin slices (only if you like this feast very hot)

4 large garlic cloves, crushed

8 Kiffir lime leaves, sliced into thin strips

1 small lemongrass, minced, about 1/2 cup

1 tablespoon galangal, shredded (optional but wonderful)

2 tablespoons fish sauce (we use Red Boat)

4-6 limes, depending on size and juiciness

2 tablespoons Mirin or 1 teaspoon light brown sugar

2 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil

20 – 25 cherry tomatoes, depending on size

8 ounces bamboo shoots

4 ounces baby corn

1/2 cup basil, roughly cut (Thai basil is best)

1/2 cup mint, roughly cut

1/2 cup cilantro, roughly cut

Prep Work

Remove the outer leaves of the lemongrass, cut into pieces and mince in a food processor.  If you are using the galangal, carefully cut about one inch of the extremely hard galangal root into smaller pieces and include with the lemongrass to mince in the food processor.

Cooking

In a 12 inch saute pan (preferably cast iron), or wok, heat the oil on medium heat until just hot and add the garlic, ginger and peppers (if you want this feast very hot).  Stirring often, fry until fragrant and sizzling, about a minute.

Add the red curry paste, stirring often, until aromatic and loose, about a minute. 

Add the chicken broth, Kiffir lime leaves, galangal, lemongrass, fish sauce, Mirin or brown sugar and haricot vert, simmer on high heat until the beans just begin to soften, about 6 minutes.

Add the coconut cream and simmer until married, about 2 minutes.

Add the duck, tomatoes, bamboo shoots, baby corn and pineapple, simmer until the pineapple is softened but the tomatoes are still whole and slightly crunchy, 5 to 6 minutes. 

You can also leave the breast intact, with the skin on and the whole breast sliced every inch or two, in order to open it up.  Just pour the sauce and veggies over the breast and serve it with a slight pink color still in the middle of the breast.)

Add the mint, cilantro, basil and simmer until the mint is softened, about 30 seconds. 

Enjoy this evocative umami feast on jasmine rice.