Cast-Iron Duck & Red Flannel Hash

That's me on the left doing my worst Alton Brown impression.

My brother got me this cookbook several years ago just when I was really starting to get into food.  It is a fantastic cookbook for beginners or anyone with an interest in the science of cooking.  The book is divided into different methods of cooking food rather than the foods themselves, so you learn about searing, poaching, braising, roasting, grilling, etc. all from an elemental standpoint.  He explains many things, such as why it’s important to let meat rest after it cooks, why certain fats are more useful and better for you than others, when to use indirect heat vs. direct heat; all of which in the end help you to be a better chef overall.  He’s also really funny, like when he tells you to stock your kitchen with welding gloves because potholders are for sissies.

Did I mention this cookbook comes with removable magnets that teach you the different cuts of meat?  They’re a little flimsy, I wouldn’t really trust them to keep much on your fridge, but they’ll tell you where to find a sirloin steak on your cow.

I adapted these recipes to my liking.  Alton Brown’s Cast-Iron Duck (p.33) obviously calls for duck breast instead of chicken thighs, and I completely intended on doing that, but Central Market didn’t come through on the duck breast, which probably would have been super expensive anyway.  I opted instead to get the $3/lb chicken thighs, because I knew those would have a lot of flavor, and I’m sure Alton Brown also understands the science of saving money.

Cast Iron Duck /Chicken Thighs

  • 4 duck breasts / chicken thighs
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • canola oil
  1. With a sharp knife, trim breasts/thighs and score the skin.  Pat dry with paper towels and season with salt & pepper.
  2. Heat cast-iron skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Lightly coat the pan with oil and gently lay the meat in the pan.  Do not move them around, as you want them to brown.
  3. After about 3 minutes, flip the meat and cook for another 3 minutes.  Remove them to a resting rack, cover with foil, and allow them to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice on a bias and serve with Red Flannel Hash

Serves 4

Red Flannel Hash

  • 1 medium red beet, peeled & diced
  • 4 medium red potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 3 tbs duck fat or oil
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tbs chives, chopped
  • 1 duck or chicken egg (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Coat the beet & potatoes in 1 tbs of the duck fat or oil and spread on a baking sheet and season with salt & pepper.  Roast for 10-12 minutes or until slightly tender.
  2. Heat cast-iron skillet for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and toss for about 45 seconds.  Add the onions and cook for another 45 seconds.  Add beets and potatoes without over crowding and cook until crisp, working in batches if necessary.
  3. Crack duck or chicken egg on top of hash and cover, cooking egg to desired doneness. [Optional, I didn’t do this but I’m sure it’s amazing.]
  4. Add chives and season with salt & pepper.  Stir to distribute and serve.

Serves 4


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