El Vez & Alma de Cuba | Philadelphia, PA
Jose Garces does double duty as executive chef of two of Philly's
hottest restaurants - Alma de Cuba and El Vez. He elevates the classic
dishes of Cuba and Mexico to gourmet status using high quality ingredients,
labor-intensive techniques, and a contemporary aesthetic. A protégé
of Douglas Rodriguez, “the godfather of Nuevo Latino cuisine,”
Garces reaches deep into food's romantic roots to create dishes
that have bold flavors and a festive contemporary flair.
Duck Confit Flautas with Poblano
Chef Jose Garces of El Vez & Alma de Cuba – Philadelphia,
Adapted by StarChefs
Yield: 8 Servings
Duck confit flautas:
- 5 pounds duck legs
- 1 cup salt
- ¼ cup red peppers, chopped
- ¼ cup crushed red chiles
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 pieces Mexican dried cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon cumin seed
- 8 cloves, whole
- ¼ cup coriander
- 2 quarts duck fat
- 1 cup lard
- 4 chipotle peppers packed in adobo, chopped
- Zest of 5 oranges
- 16 corn tortillas
Poblano avocado sauce:
- 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 poblano peppers, roasted, seeded and chopped
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 quart chicken stock
- ½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 quart canola oil
- ½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 3 red radishes, finely sliced
- 1 ½ pounds queso fresco, grated
For poblano avocado sauce:
In a large sauté pan, sweat onions, garlic and poblano
pepper in extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add chicken
stock and simmer for about 5 minutes. Cool liquid in ice bath and
fold in cilantro, avocado and salt.
For duck confit flautas:
Preheat oven to 250°F. Pack duck legs in a large roasting
pan. Add peppers, crushed red chiles, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns,
cinnamon, cumin seeds, cloves and coriander. Add duck fat to pan
and roast for 3 hours. Remove meat and allow to cool in duck fat.
Once cooled, shred the meat off the bone. Heat lard in a large sauté
pan, and add chipotle peppers and duck. Finish with orange zest.
Cut corn tortillas to a 3-inch diameter, place duck filling in center,
roll and seal with a toothpick. Refrigerate and reserve for 2 hours
In a large saucepan, heat canola oil to 350°F. Fry flautas
until crispy, approximately 3-4 minutes and drain on paper towels.
Ladle 2 ounces of poblano avocado sauce onto plate. Place 2-3 flautas
in center of plate and garnish with shredded lettuce, sliced radishes
and grated queso fresco.
PL: What are your favorite
food haunts in Philly?
JG: Mark Vetri’s restaurant.
I like Morimoto…it’s probably the best in the city for
PL: What is your favorite
JG: Coriander. It has a lot
of nuttiness, spice, and an earthy tone. It compliments most of
my food. I love using cumin too.
PL: What is your favorite
question to ask during an interview for a potential new line cook?
JG: I like to ask them what
the five mother sauces are? Half of the time they get the answer
PL: What advice/tip do you
have for culinary students just getting started?
JG: I would say try to cook
as many different cuisines as possible and learn about many as possible.
Strive to find a cuisine that makes you happiest and then specialize
in that cuisine.
PL: Where do you see yourself
in 5 years? In 10 years?
JG: I’m pretty modest,
but I see big things for myself. I have a good foundation. I’d
like to eventually open a new restaurant, write a book... build