Rum Duck Tostadas with Crunchy Mango-Cabbage Slaw

That title sounds like kind of a mouthful. But then again, so are these tostadas.

They’re also a little dangerous, if you count inexperienced, spontaneous flambeing among high-risk activities. I didn’t really mean to flambe when I saw the almost-empty bottle of mango rum begging to be poured into the hot skillet with the duck. But I suppose there was a subconscious desire to see if it would work, since I turned the heat to the max before splashing it on. Call  me lame, but despite adding alcohol to dozens of dishes, I had never actually flambeed before. 


Oh man, did it work. If you know my darling husband, you might think he was freaking out and yelling “evacuate!” as the big orange flames jumped from the pan. And later scolding me for almost burning the house down (surely he would have saved it with a big bucket of water and a call to the fire department.) But on the contrary, he immediately asked, “Can we do it again?” Yep, he thought it was pretty cool.

Later on, there was a repeat of that line: “Can we do it again?” This time he was referring to making mango-rum-flambeed duck tacos with mango slaw, avocado, and queso fresco. See, it really is a mouthful. But all those ingredients together in your mouth is a must!

This meal evolved from my desire the use up a fully cooked rotisserie half duck I had in the freezer. Why did I have such a thing in my freezer? Back in January in BJ’s Wholesale Club, I saw this and I had  to have it. Certainly I could do something really cool with this – it just took me four months to figure out what.

When you buy this you actually get both halves of the duck, each wrapped separately and ready to freeze. Since the meat is fully cooked, the directions simply say to thaw it and cook quickly on the grill or in the oven, just to warm it through. I figured my best bet for flavoring the meat was to pull it all off the bones and turn it into a filling (duck ravioli perhaps?) or topping (for a taco or tostada, maybe?). I went with the latter.

I knew I wanted some fruit in this meal too, so I threw together a sweet and spicy mango and cabbage slaw. To flavor the duck, I simply tossed it in some adobo sauce (perfectly convenient, since there’s usually an open can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in my fridge), cumin, and coriander, and sauteed it on a hot skillet to warm it up. Despite what 99% of my recipes might lead you to believe, I didn’t measure or weigh anything. As much as I see the value in measurements for accurate nutritional information and recipe repeatability, it’s a refreshing change of pace to just fore go it every once in a while!

This turned out even better than I expected. I thought the flavor of the duck might get lost under everything else, but it most certainly stood up. Not that you couldn’t make this with chicken thighs if you don’t have a half roasted duck in your freezer (come on, what kind of person are you??) but you might want to strongly consider picking one up to treat yourself.

Rum Duck Tostadas with Crunchy Mango-Cabbage Slaw
Printable Recipe

Serves 2

Note: Measurements are approximate, use your judgment!

2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1/2 of a mango, sliced into matchsticks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 teaspoons minced hot pepper
2 large scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (light green & white parts only)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice from one lime
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
salt, to taste

1 fully cooked rotisserie duck half, such as Maple Leaf Farms (or leftover cooked duck meat, or 2 large cooked boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
1 tablespoon of adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
pinch of ground allspice
splash of mango rum

4 small corn tortillas
2 oz crumbled queso fresco (a mild Mexican cheese; you could substitute feta)
1/2 of an avocado, diced

Preheat oven to 425F. Place tortillas on a baking sheet and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Toss together the cabbage, mango, cilantro, scallions, hot pepper, lime juice, cider vinegar and salt. Let sit, allowing flavors to blend, while you prepare the duck and tortillas.

Bake the tortillas for 10 minutes, or until crispy and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, remove the skin and bones from the duck meat and roughly chop it. (Or, chop up leftover cooked duck meat, without skin, or cooked boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Place in a bowl and add the adobo sauce, cumin, coriander and allspice; toss to coat.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, spray with nonstick cooking spray, and add the duck. Stir for a few minutes to warm through. Increase heat to high and add the rum (then step back!). When flames subside, cook for a couple more minutes, until the duck is lightly browned and slightly crispy in spots.

Assemble the tostadas by topping each tortilla with some of the flambed duck meat and the mango-cabbage slaw. Finish with diced avocado and crumbled queso fresco.

And one more thing… I got an award!

This one comes from my friend Dawn at Florida Coastal Cooking. Thank you so much, Dawn, for the kind words and being a great blogging friend!

I would like to pass on the award to a few bloggers who always bring some extra sunshine to my day, by asking thought-provoking questions that allow me not only to help others with my answers (at least, I hope I’m helping someone!) but also remind me of how far I have come in my health, fitness, and cooking journey, and inspire me to keep being the best I can be.

First there is Katie at Health for the Whole Self. With a never-ending discussion of all things health-related and tasty eats, Katie helps women (and men) everywhere realize all the components to good health and encourages us to discuss our trials and successes.

Next is Bree at Bees Knees Life, a fellow New Rules of Lifting lady. I love reading about her weight lifting routines – a great place to turn when I find myself needing something new! I also love her practical approach to eating and fat loss.

Brandi at Bran Appetit is another source for daily delicious eats. Her pretty plates make me think, “why aren’t I eating that?” Plus, she brought me a slew of sunshine the other day when I won her giveaway for beautiful blue cast iron dutch oven! Thanks again, Brandi!

Nicole from PreventionRD is another go-to source of good health information. A couple weeks ago when I had a question about a nutrient, my first course of action was to search her blog. When I couldn’t find anything on it, a quick email did the trick. Thanks again for that enlightening response, Nicole!

Another Nicole I really admire is Nicole from Healthy Chow. I love her fun and informative posts about good food and recipe experiments and just enjoying life in Boston.

Last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank Elina at Healthy and Sane for being so open and honest with her thoughts and experiences with calorie counting versus intuitive eating, fitness as a means of personal improvement versus a competition, and in general, deciding when enough is enough!

To all the wonderful blogs I follow daily – you are all a source of sunshine in so many ways. Thank you for blogging!

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17 Responses to “Rum Duck Tostadas with Crunchy Mango-Cabbage Slaw”

  1. 1

    Brandi — April 14, 2010 @ 1:12 pm Reply

    aw, thanks Cara!can you believe I've never had duck?!? I need to change that.

  2. 2

    yumventures — April 14, 2010 @ 1:42 pm Reply

    I adore duck! This looks INCREDIBLE! Like, I wish it was in front of me right now so I could enjoy every amazing bite. Who cares how much of a mouthful the title is, these bad boys look to die for. I've never flambed either, something to try!

  3. 3

    Elina — April 14, 2010 @ 2:00 pm Reply

    Thanks for the award!!! You are such a sweetheart. More thoughts on intuitive eating and happiness in general are to come. I had a lot of time to think about all of this while lying on the beach and sipping on a pina colada ;)

  4. 4

    Dawn — April 14, 2010 @ 2:57 pm Reply

    You are so gourmet…flambeing and duck no less! This looks so amazing…flavorful and colorful. You always outdo yourself girl.

  5. 5

    preventionrd.com — April 14, 2010 @ 3:25 pm Reply

    Congrats to you, Cara…and thank you, as well :) So sweet! I'm flattered! And I am happy to help whenever I can :)The duck looks amazing! That is one protein I haven't tackled, and I really ought to. LOVE duck! :)

  6. 6

    beeskneeslife — April 14, 2010 @ 4:38 pm Reply

    Yum, congrats, and thanks! I am also flattered :) You bring ME sunshine all the time!

  7. 7

    luckytastebuds — April 14, 2010 @ 4:40 pm Reply

    Wow, your blog is so professional and the dishes you cook at home so gourmet that it puts my home cooking to SHAME!!! Thank you for such great recipes and ideas….i gotta try that sesame maple ginger tofu!!

  8. 8

    *Naomi* — April 14, 2010 @ 9:28 pm Reply

    crunchy mango slaw sounds AMAZING!

  9. 9

    Taste of Beirut — April 15, 2010 @ 2:06 am Reply

    CaraYou are so funny! I could just picture the scene! I have not flambeed things that often myself! I figured that was passé, but hey if I had a bottle of rum and some duck, I would remember you! Looks irresistible.

  10. 10

    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — April 15, 2010 @ 12:11 pm Reply

    Congrats on your sunshine award! You deserve it.Way to go with these duck tostadas. Soooo gourmet, I am very impressed with the flambée. I think I would be too scared to do that around here….especially with the kiddos around.

  11. 11

    Nicole Chow - HealthyChow.com — April 16, 2010 @ 1:32 am Reply

    Thanks for this award, Cara! You are too kind and sweet! I love duck! I don't have it very often but when I do, I manage to savor every bite of it. It's soooo good! The colors in this recipe are amazing! I love the deep reddish-purple of the cabbage against the green from the avocado. Your pictures are beautiful! And you are so brave for flambeeing…I would be so scared. But once again, you prevailed! NICE! Thank you again for my award :)

  12. 12

    Kate at Serendipity — April 16, 2010 @ 10:34 am Reply

    Oh, man, I just had some duck–I wish I'd seen this! I think this would be perfect with duck confit. Thanks. LOL, once you've flambeed you'll never go back…Bookmarked!

  13. 13

    katiehealthforthewholeself — April 16, 2010 @ 5:36 pm Reply

    Oh my gosh I am so behind on reading blogs! This looks amazing! I adore duck but have never cooked it myself; I've always been too intimidated!Thanks for the award, Cara! I really appreciate your sweet words! :)

  14. 14

    grace — April 18, 2010 @ 9:15 am Reply

    i detect a little budding pyromania in your home–excellent (as long as it doesn't get out of control, of course…)!tostadas make for a great, versatile meal. your ingredients are unique and i have no doubt that they combine wonderfully!

  15. 15

    Kate at Serendipity — April 5, 2011 @ 1:24 am Reply

    Oh, man, I just had some duck–I wish I'd seen this! I think this would be perfect with duck confit. Thanks. LOL, once you've flambeed you'll never go back…Bookmarked!

  16. 16

    Nicole Chow - HealthyChow.com — April 5, 2011 @ 1:24 am Reply

    Thanks for this award, Cara! You are too kind and sweet! I love duck! I don't have it very often but when I do, I manage to savor every bite of it. It's soooo good! The colors in this recipe are amazing! I love the deep reddish-purple of the cabbage against the green from the avocado. Your pictures are beautiful! And you are so brave for flambeeing…I would be so scared. But once again, you prevailed! NICE! Thank you again for my award :)

  17. 17

    beeskneeslife — April 5, 2011 @ 1:24 am Reply

    Yum, congrats, and thanks! I am also flattered :) You bring ME sunshine all the time!

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