Celebrate the final season of Game of Thrones with some duck head stew! Yea, you read that right, actual duck heads. Because after all, heads get cut off on that show a lot, so this is kind of a morbid tribute to that.
Now where in the world would one procure duck heads? An Asian supermarket, of course, particularly one of the smaller supermarkets that isn't a big Asian supermarket chain, like Super FL Mart on Long Island. The best thing is that 6 duck heads cost $2, or about 33 cents a head.
I cooked the duck heads two ways to hedge my bets in case one of the methods failed, both boiled and simmered in a stew, as well as roasted in an oven. Fortunately, both methods of cooking the duck heads were successful.
So okay, now to eating it. Surprisingly, there's a lot of meat on a duck head, more than on a chicken head, which is slightly easier to find. Ducks have bigger brains than chickens. In fact, all you have to do is crack open the duck head to access it. There's two ways of eating the brains:
Yea, my dad didn't approve of me eating animal brains. In fact, in the video, he signaled off-camera for me not to eat it. I listened to him, only when we were filming. When it was time to eat leftovers, though, I'd gulp down the brains when he wasn't looking or when he wasn't in the room. He's always afraid I'll get mad cow disease or something. It's true cow brains as food are off limits because they carry mad cow disease, but that doesn't apply to brains from other species It's called mad-cow disease, not mad-duck disease, mad-pig disease, mad-goat disease, mad-lamb disease, etc.
You may be thinking that eating the cerebral matter from animals is an exotic thing not done in America, but that's false. In fact, canned pork brains are sold in Southern supermarkets and there's a dish in the Midwest called a fried brain sandwich, created from that region's German immigrants. Sure, you have better options in terms of eating healthy meat since a serving of pork brain has 3,500 mg of cholesterol. The brains from ducks are a lot smaller, so you don't need to worry about cholesterol.
As for duck eyes, they're not as juicy as the peepers from a chicken. In fact, they don't have much taste, with the texture of a dried out, flattened olive.
Duck meat itself tastes like a fattier version of chicken.
So how about the other ingredients that didn't come from a duck. I didn't put any beans in the stew because I replaced that with a different kind of ingredient: dragon fruit, and yes it's a fruit, not a legume, but it's very hard to find in its fresh form, so I ordered the dried version online instead. It tasted like sweet yet bland with the consistency of a potato chip. But surprisingly after cooking it in the stew, it rehydrated itself from all the liquids it was cooking in.
Speaking of liquids, I used a Game of Thrones-themed beer that I bought two years ago but never opened(beer stays good for quite a while if left uncorked) that's now out of production, so I'd recommend you use white ale instead, as that's the type of beer it was. The label on the bottle said the beer tasted like a lot of things but the only I got from it was a hint of honey.
The vegetables I used were onions and mushrooms, 2 common types of veggies that were grown and consumed in the Middle Ages, which is the period Game of Thrones takes place in. I also kept the spices simple for this recipe, using cinnamon, allspice, and Chinese five spice.
For obvious reasons, I stated above, my dad did not try this recipe.
HELPFUL LINK: Dried Dragon Fruit: https://nuts.com/driedfruit/dragonfruit.html
You will need:
Roasted duck head ingredients:
3 duck heads
1 cup Game of Thrones-themed beer or white ale
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lemon olive oil
Pinch of Chinese five-spice
Pinch of curry powder
Stew Ingredients :
3 duck heads
4-8 oz. dried dragonfruit(see HELPFUL LINK)
15 oz. canned mushrooms, drained
15 oz. canned Holland-style onions, drained
2 cups beef stock
2 cups Game of Thrones-themed beer or white ale
2 oz. or 2 little packets of raisins
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp. black bean garlic sauce
Pinch of chili powder
Pinch of apple pie spice
Serve with garlic bread(highly recommended if you're going to consume the brains, as they're very salty)
Preparation for all duck heads:
1. In a large bowl, soak the duck heads in enough water to submerge them for at least 6 hours. This is so the bloody taste is removed.
For the roasted duck heads:
1. Place 3 duck heads inside a lasagna pan.
2. Combine the beer, lemon juice, olive oil, and both spices to form a marinade.
3. Pour marinade over the duck heads.
4. Cover the lasagna pan with aluminum foil and marinate the duck heads in a fridge for an hour.
5. Spoon the marinade on top of the heads. Pour water on top of the heads so they don't burn while cooking in the oven.
6. Drizzle BBQ sauce on top of the heads.
7. Put the foil back on top of the lasagna pan and roast the duck heads in a 400℉ oven for 10 minutes.
8. Flip the duck heads over onto their sides and roast for another 10 minutes at the same temperature, or until the internal temperature of the heads reaches at least 165℉.
For the stew:
1. Place the duck heads, mushrooms, and onions into a large saucepot.
2. Pour the beer and beef stock into the saucepot. Then, add the raisins, bay leaves, and black bean garlic sauce.
3. Stir the black bean garlic sauce into the stew before adding the chili powder and apple pie spice. Mix all the ingredients together.
4. Turn the stove on and bring the stew to a boil. Put the lid on the saucepot and let the stew simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
6. Serve everything with garlic bread.
To (morbidly) commemorate the 10-year anniversary since my mom's passing from pancreatic cancer, I made a chicken parmesan recipe(my mom made me this when I was a kid) except the chicken is replaced with veal sweetbreads(cow pancreas) and the breading is pistachio flour, as pistachio was my mom's favorite flavor of ice cream!
I can't believe it's been a full decade since my mom died from cancer. It almost seems like yesterday I was 2 months from graduating high school, sitting on the bed that came out of my living room couch watching Wheel of Fortune when my dad got the dreaded phone call that my mom died in the hospice facility she was staying in after only 2 days since being placed there. She was only 54.
My mom was the kindest, sweetest, most selfless person I've ever known. She advocated for me when I was in school.
I've eaten a lot of animal organs by this point on this channel to commemorate different times in my life:
The Chicago Cubs finally breaking their century-long curse and winning the World Series: Goat Meatloaf
To celebrate my top surgery: The Melon-Coated Chicken Breasts
To celebrate my hysterectomy and oophorectomy: The chocolate pig uterus and quail eggs
(Probably in 12-18 months from now)To celebrate my bottom surgery: Some sort of recipe involving bull penis and buffalo testicles. 😳
I think I've said enough about that by this point. Seriously, if Fear Factor was a matter of individuals playing and not pairs, I'd totally ace the eating weird shit portion. Anything with swimming or diving, not so much.
So what does sweetbread taste like, anyway? It has the consistency of scallops with a hint of sweetness to it. The way I cooked this recipe, it honestly looks like a breaded veal or chicken cutlet on the inside.
The great thing about this recipe is that if you screw up like I did and end up with broken pieces of sweetbread, you can put them back together with some egg and pistachio flour, which is both expensive($25 a pound) and very heavy.
This is an intermediate-level recipe, I'd say, but a pretty long one. It took me over 4 hours from start to finish, but that's par for the course when it comes to cooking offal, with most of that time being a matter of just soaking the organ(s) you plan to cook in some water to get rid of any bloody taste.
My dad is normally not into eating animal organs but he made and exception for this recipe since it's in honor of his late wife. He said it tasted cooked. Not very helpful but at least he didn't spit out the sweetbreads.
HELPFUL LINKS: Veal Sweetbreads: https://www.dartagnan.com/veal-sweetbreads/product/ZVEAFRA013-1.html?dwvar_ZVEAFRA013-1_freshFrozenWeight=frozen-ZVEAFRA013#q=sweetbread&start=1
Pistachio Flour: https://nuts.com/nuts/pistachios/flour.html
2 lbs. veal sweetbreads(see HELPFUL LINKS above)
Enough water to soak the sweetbreads
Enough water to submerge the sweetbreads for blanching
Bowl of cold water
3 beaten and whisked eggs
1 lb. pistachio flour(see HELPFUL LINKS above)
Olive oil for frying
15 oz. jar of pizza sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Serve with garlic bread
For the preparation:
1. Soak the sweetbreads for at least 2 hours in water.
2. Take the soaked sweetbreads out of the water and into a large saucepot. Submerge the sweetbreads with water. Add white vinegar and salt. Combine all ingredients.
3. Bring the sweetbreads to a boil. Simmer the sweetbreads on low heat for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the sweetbreads from the water and with tongs, place into a bowl of ice cold water. Let the sweetbreads soak in the water for 20 minutes, or you are able to touch them with bare hands without burning yourself.
5. To remove the membrane, pllace sweetbreads onto a plate and gently flatten the sweetbreads with another plate to place on top of them. If you end up breaking these fragile sweetbreads, you'll still be able to reconstruct them during the breading process.
For preparing breading stations:
1. Place 3 beaten and whisked eggs in a medium-size bowl.
2. Pour the pistachio flour into a large bowl.
3. Place a plate to the left of the medium-size bowl and another plate to the right of the large bowl.
For breading broken sweetbreads:
1.Grab a handful of broken sweetbreads and place them in the whisked eggs.
2. Transfer the egg-soaked sweetbreads into the flour and coat the egg in the flour. Pistachio flour is heavy enough that it will act as a glue.
3. Place the breaded sweetbreads to the adjacent plate and flatten them into a patty shape.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 for all broken sweetbreads.
5. Cut each patty in half so transferring it to the frying pan is easier.
For breading intact sweetbreads:
1. Coat each sweetbread in the egg and then transfer it to the flour.
2. Coat each sweetbread in the flour and place onto the adjacent plate.
For frying the sweetbreads:
1. Pour olive oil into a frying pan and spread the oil throughout the pan.
2. Heat the oil up. Place the sweetbread patties into the pan.
3. Press down on each sweetbread, broken or intact, with the back of a spatula. Cook the sweetbreads for 30-60 seconds.
4. Flip the sweebreads over and cook for an additional 30-60 seconds on the other side.
1. Spray 2 lasagna pans with nonstick cooking spray. Place each fried sweetbread into the lasagna pans.
2. Coat all of the sweetbreads with pizza sauce.
3. Top the pizza sauce with the mozzarella and then the Parmesan.
4. Bake the sweetbreads in a 350℉ oven for 3-5 minutes to melt the cheese.
5. Serve with garlic bread.
1. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
2. To reheat the sweetbreads, place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 30 seconds.
Why pay $1500 for a really expensive ice cream sundae when you can make a kobe meatloaf with all the components of it for a fraction of the price?
I didn't calculate how much this meatloaf cost to make, but if I had to make an estimate it would definitely be less than $1500. The kobe wagyu beef was $11.00 and that may have been the most expensive ingredient, save from the $23 I paid for the edible gold leaves. What about the caviar, you say? Well, I got the cheapest kind possible, the one found in most supermarkets in the Northeast if you look hard enough. Price = $7.00.
I think you can see a pattern here of using the cheapest version of each ingredient in the Golden Opulence Sundae, which is a menu item in NYC. Will I ever try the actual sundae? Hell no! I could pay for most a new Macbook with that money.
So what does kobe wagyu beef taste like? It's very rich and melts in your mouth(well, not like M&Ms, but the texture anyway). Surprisingly, the almond flour is a good meatloaf binder and you taste no almond flavor whatsoever.
There's a reason why I don't eat caviar, and it's not just the price of it- it's salty AF! Drizzling the meatloaf with chocolate syrup made eating it palatable. You also taste the dried cherries and remnants of the chocolate truffles too.
Edible gold, in my opinion, is overrated. It has the texture of skin you can't help peel off of a sunburn as it's healing and the gold has a Midas touch in that if you touch it, the gold disintegrates and stains your fingers, which is why you must retrieve it from the paper it was in from with chopsticks.
My dad didn't try this meatloaf, as it had chocolate and champagne vinegar in it.
Edible Gold Leaf: www.amazon.com/Ians-Choice-Genuine-3-15X3-15-Decorations/dp/B07BN5N4RD/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1532876364&sr=8-1-spons&
You will need:
For the cooking equipment:
A large bowl
A lasagna pan
Nonstick cooking spray
For the meatloaf:
2/3 tbsp. onion powder
2 beaten and whisked eggs
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup milk chocolate flakes
3-4 Ferrero Rocher chocolate truffles
1 tbsp. champagne vinegar
The fruit puree from 2 containers of passion fruit yogurt
1 tbsp. chocolate syrup
Pinch of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 cup almond flour
1 pound ground kobe wagyu beef
Sheets of edible gold(see HELPFUL LINK)
More chocolate syrup for drizzling
1. Put the first 4 ingredients into the large bowl. Crumble up the truffles into the bowl and add the next 9 ingredients as well.
2. Mix all the ingredients up until you get a firm mixture.
3. Spray a lasagna pan with nonstick cooking spray. Form 2 loaves from the mixture.
4. Bake the meatloaves in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for an hour or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Slice one of the loaves in half and put on a plate.
6. Retrieve a slice of gold from the paper it's in using 2 chopsticks- it's very fragile. Place the gold on top of the slice.
7. Take some caviar out of the jar using a plastic spoon and spoon the caviar on top of the gold.
8. Drizzle some more chocolate syrup on top of everything to counteract the saltiness of the caviar. Eat with plastic utensils, otherwise the caviar will taste metallic and you definitely don't want that!
I knew a just had to eat a dove or two when I heard the doves were released as part of the torch relay before this year's Olympics. Yes, they are peaceful creatures, but there's also a brand of chocolate also called Dove and I knew I had to combine the two together.
My initial idea was to stuff a meatloaf inside doves, but seeing as the doves are so tiny, it wouldn't make sense to brown a pound of ground meat, end up only using an ounce of it, and disposing the rest. So I stuffed it with kimchi(because the Olympics are in South Korea and kimchi is a national dish of both Koreas), Sno-Caps candies(those nonpareils, because it is the Winter Olympics going on, not Summer), Dove chocolate, pizza chips(I had a couple left and I wanted to use them all up, but alas, I could only stuff 1/2 a chip per dove, and panko breadcrumbs.
However, doves, like many wild game, are lean in fat, so to bump up the fat content, I wrapped them in bacon.
The ultimate goal for every Olympic athlete is to win a gold medal and hear their country's national anthem on the podium(except if you're an Olympic Athlete from Russia, so no Russian national anthem for you). Fittingly enough, Hershey's started selling gold chocolate bars, which is essentially a caramelized creme bar and that was the basis for the sauce I made to douse the doves in. I used ketchup seasoning as the rub for the doves because I gotta root for team USA(who basically suck this year, save for only 5 gold medals won so far and all of them were either in snowboarding or skiing).
Let me tell you, handling those dove carcasses, combined with the ketchup seasoning, made the plate the meat it was on look like a bloody crime scene. Disgustingly, the ketchup seasoning stuck onto the meat thanks to the blood on it! I made a hole in one of the doves but then I found there was already a cavity there.
The dove meat tasted like really dark meat chicken combined with liver pate or calf liver(the meat looked like pate and had a metallic, irony taste to it). I felt like a giant vulture digging into the doves because you have to break apart the carcasses to get to the edible meat.
My dad was too disgusted to dry the doves. He said they're peaceful creatures not meant to be eaten, those "poor little doves".
HELPFUL LINKS: Doves: www.exoticmeatmarkets.com/Dove-Meat-2-Birds-Farm-Raised-for-Food-p/dovemeat2-birds.htm
Ketchup Seasoning: www.amazon.com/Gourmet-Fries-Seasonings-Bottle-Ketchup/dp/B005SSM4V2/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1518972846&sr=8-2&
You will need:
For the cooking equipment:
A large plate
A lasagna pan
A medium saucepot
For the doves:
2 doves(see HELPFUL LINKS)
Ketchup seasoning(see HELPFUL LINKS)
2 pieces of kimchi(see HELPFUL LINKS)
2 pieces of Dove chocolate
2-4 tbsp. Sno-Caps nonpareils
1-2 tbsp. panko breadcrumbs
1 pizza chip
2 slices of bacon
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of onion powder
Pinch of salt
For the gold chocolate sauce:
1/4 cup rose wine
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup bouillon mixed in 1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 Hershey's Gold Chocolate Bar,
Serve with croutons(optional)
To cook the doves:
1. Wash the doves thoroughly and put them onto a large plate. Find the cavities on the bottom of each dove and remove as much blood and organs as possible from the cavities.
2. Coat each dove in ketchup seasoning. Stuff each dove with a piece of kimchi, a piece of Dove chocolate, 1-2 tbsp. of Sno-Caps nonpareils, 1/2-1 tbsp. of panko breadcrumbs, and 1/2 a pizza chip.
3. Wrap each dove in a slice of bacon and season the outside with the garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
4. Wrap each dove in aluminum foil and put the wrapped doves onto a lasagna pan.
5. Bake the doves in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make the gold chocolate sauce:
1. Put the rose wine and rice wine vinegar into a medium saucepot and cook the mixture for 3-4 minutes, or until it has a syrupy consistency.
2. Add the broth and thyme to the mixture. Break apart the gold chocolate bar and put it into the saucepot. Stir the chocolate into the sauce until it melts. It's normal to see chunky peanut and pretzel pieces in the sauce, as those were in the bar.
Take the doves out of the foil and onto a plate. Pour the sauce over the doves. Serve with croutons(optional).