Executive Chef Jared Van Camp
To purchase a copy of the book:
Chicago Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Windy City
DePaul University Bookstore
1 E. Jackson Blvd
Harissa Duck Wings with Cucumber-Mint Raita
(Serves 68, with extra harissa)
For the duck wings:
5 pounds duck wing drumettes
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
10 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cups duck fat canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
For the harissa:
2 ounces dried chile de arbol peppers
2 ounces dried ancho peppers
4 ounces dried chipotle peppers
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
dash freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
For the cucumber-mint raita:
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
First, cure the wings. Using a sharp knife or cleaver, chop about 1/2 inch off the narrow end of the drumettes. Mix together the drumettes with the salt, sugar, garlic, and thyme. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate, at least 46 hours, up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 275F. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the duck fat over medium heat to 250F. Carefully add the wings, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake until wings are tender, about 4 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the harissa. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. In a dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the chile de arbol, ancho, and chipotle chiles until softened and fragrant but not blackened. Discard stems and seeds. Add to the warm water. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.
Finely grind the caraway, coriander, and cumin seeds in a blender or spice grinder. Set aside. Drain the chiles and place in a blender along with the spices, olive oil, garlic cloves, and a splash of water. Puree to a smooth paste. Season with salt, sugar, and lemon juice. Measure out 1/2 cup of the harissa paste and set aside. Cover and refrigerate remaining harissa for later use, up to two months. Next, make the cucumber raita. In a medium bowl, mix the cucumber, shallot, cilantro, mint, yogurt, and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate. Remove wings from the oven, allowing to cool slightly, uncovered. Drain the wings and transfer to a sheet tray until cool enough to handle. Reserve the fat, refrigerating or freezing for another use.
In the same pot used to bake the wings, add oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat to 350F.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the 1/2 cup harissa paste. Remove from heat, allowing to cool slightly. Stir in cold butter, a cube at a time, until smooth and velvety. Set aside. To finish the wings, place flour in a large, shallow bowl. Working in batches, dredge wings in flour, shaking to remove excess, then lower carefully into the hot oil. Fry wings until golden and crispy, about 45 minutes. Drain on paper towels. In a large bowl, mix the wings with the warm harissa-butter mixture. Serve wings with cucumber-mint raita for dipping.