This recipe is adapted from Chef Richard Sandoval's book, Modern Mexican Flavors (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2002). The original calls for the traditional hominy, but for summer, he says, fresh corn, grilled right on the cob, makes a delightful substitution.
Wine recommendation: Robert Mondavi Carneros Pinot Noir. "The Pinot Noir will stand up to the hearty pozole. It would be earthy, a little more complex, but it still has a nice acidity, and it would pair well with the duck," says Sandoval.
For the pozole:
8 ears fresh corn, shucked
3 tablespoons canola oil
Â½ cup white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
4 cups duck or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
For the duck and cabbage salad:
1 cup green cabbage, shredded
¼ cup red radish, shredded (about 4 radishes)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless duck breast halves, with skin
1 tablespoon honey
Sliced radish for garnish, optional
Chile powder for garnish, optional
Grill the shucked corn, turning it a few times, until the kernels start to color. Remove the ears from the grill and allow them to cool. When cool enough to handle scrape the kernels off the cobs with a knife and set aside. Discard the cobs.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes or until softened. Add the chilies and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds or until slightly darkened. Add 2 cups of the stock and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the chilies are softened.
Pour the chile mixture into a blender and purée. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve back into the saucepan, pressing on the solids with the back of a ladle or rubber spatula.
Discard the solids in the sieve. Add the corn to the saucepan along with the bay leaf and remaining stock and keep warm.
Mix the cabbage, radish, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the duck breasts, skin-side down, and sear for about 5 minutes, until crisp. Turn and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until cooked through. Transfer the duck to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then slice each breast diagonally across the grain into 3 thin slices.
Add the honey to the pozole and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve: Divide the pozole between 4 shallow soup bowls. Spoon Â¼ cup of the cabbage salad into the center of each. Then, in each bowl, arrange 3 pieces of duck breast angled upright around the cabbage. If desired, garnish with radish slices and sprinkle the rims of the bowls with chile powder.