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.