When most folks think of St. Patrick’s Day, they think of four-leaf clovers, beer and corned beef.  However, one of these three is not traditionally Irish.

While four-leaf clovers cover Irish pastures, and Guinness flows through the River Liffey, corned beef is not part of the traditional fare.  Actually, the dish Corned Beef and Cabbage originated in America, when Irish immigrants struggled in the lower class.   They could not afford the expensive cuts of meat, so had to settle with the less luxurious cuts, such as the brisket (which took hours of cooking to make tender).

More traditional Irish fare includes lamb, pork, poultry and plenty of potatoes.  On special occasions, special game is also prepared.

So what better day than today, St. Patrick’s Day, to prepare my favorite special game?  This recipe is inspired by the Chinese Tea-Smoked Duck, but with Irish overtones.


Duck of the Irish!Irish Breakfast Tea-Smoked Duck with Guinness Reduction

1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 Fresh D’Artagnan Pekin duck (approx 5 lbs)

1/3 cup Irish Breakfast tea, loose (or make your own: 1 part Assam black tea, 1 part Ceylon black tea)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

Guinness reduction, recipe follows

Toast the salt and peppercorns together in a skillet over a low flame until it starts to smoke.

Let cool and grind in a mortar and pestle.

Rub the mixture all over the duck, inside and out. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.

Place duck in a steamer for about 45 minutes, until juices run clear when thigh is pricked.

While duck is steaming, line your wok and lid with heavy-duty foil. Combine the tea and sugar in the bottom of the wok and place a cooking rack over the mixture.

Heat the wok until the mixture just begins to smoke.

Remove duck from steamer, making sure to pat the duck completely dry, then place on the rack in wok.

Tightly cover the wok and smoke the duck for about 10 minutes on high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and smoke another 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Leave duck in wok 20 minutes more.  Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Carve and finish the duck with Guinness reduction.

Guinness reduction

1 1/2 cups Guinness

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

Heat the beer and the sugar in a saucepan until the mixture boils, then reduce heat to a low simmer.  Let it reduce by half, stirring occasionally, and serve over the duck.