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Food science/ duck disaster/ mush

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Any food scientists out there? Or anyone that can answer this question I would appreciate it.

I have a question regarding a dish (duckhen) that turned into a disaster. I have made this dish times before it was they are all fantastic. A duckhen is a turduckhen minus the turkey so you all know. Traditionally they have stuffing. I do not stuff them however.

The last time I made this dish I used a different marinade, (with fresh pineapple), both the duck and the chicken meat turned to mush. Please see below

I de-boned both the duck and chicken without any problems. I applied marinade to the duck and chicken. The duck meat was perfectly wrapped up with twine around the chicken with no holes and put in the refrigerator for 24 hrs.

I put it in the oven at 300 degrees and I noticed the skin started breaking down and the chicken started falling out through the duck skin after about ½ hour of cooking. So I had to wrap the duckhen in foil to keep it in together. I tried to cook it wrapped in foil at that point.

After about 1 more hour at 350 degrees all the meat turned to mush. I tried removing the foil, no help. I have never seen anything like it. It was like the meat completely broke down to a mush like consistancy, the skin was almost dissolved. It was gross.

Here is the recipe:
1 duck - free range organic, use liver as well, deboned
1 chicken – free range organic, deboned

Marinade – blend up with hand blender
1 1/2 cup pineapple (fresh chunks)
1/4 cup orange juice
juice from 2 tangerines
fresh ginger – 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons pear jam
1/2 cup honey
thyme – at discretion or whatever fresh herbs you are in the mood for
salt – to taste
pepper – to taste
cinnamon – to taste
nutmeg - to taste
walnut or hazelnut oil – 1/4 cup

Apply marinade to chicken and duck, wrap up in the traditional manner.

So my questions are, have you ever heard of anything like this? Was it the pineapple that broke the duck and chicken meat down? It was like the entire dish was meat tenderized for a week. The meat was the conistancy of the meat like mush

Normally this comes out fantastic

All help is appreciated.

Sincerely,
Michael

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post #2 of 7
I have to admit, I didn't read any farther than "The last time I made this dish I used a different marinade, (with fresh pineapple), both the duck and the chicken meat turned to mush." The answer is right there. Fresh pineapple contains an enzyme that breaks down protein, much like papain in papayas. Same reason you should never use fresh pineapple in gelatin -- it prevents it from gelling by working on the proteins.

If you want to use pineapple in a marinade, use canned juice or canned fruit. Never use fresh. Simple as that.

There is a story that I think Molly O'Neill tells about trying to make grilled shrimp she marinated with pineapple. Fresh pineapple. When she put them on the grill, they pretty much dissolved into nothingness. :cry: If it wasn't Molly, please feel free to correct me, everyone. :o
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
I thought it might be the pineapple before I posted. I did some research and found out pineapple contains as you mentioned an enzyme called bromelain. I was having a hard time believing 1.5 cups of fresh pineapple chunks (blended up)could completely breakdown a 5 pound duck and a 6 pound chicken. But that exactly what happened

Thank you for answering this.
post #4 of 7
You're welcome. :) Pineapple is one of the few fruits/vegetables that works better canned than fresh for use in recipes that way. The processing -- high heat -- destroys that enzyme.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #5 of 7
You could bring the juice to a boil and cool again, killing the enzyme. I believe ginger is another, that fresh juice has the same enzyme.
" Never fry bacon naked!"

-Powers
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" Never fry bacon naked!"

-Powers
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am either going to do that (boil it) or not let the meat sit for more than 1 hr. The thing I forgot to mention is that it was my 14th anniversary dinner for my wife and myself. On top of that I was trying to do something impressive for my wife’s sister and my brother in-law. I was cooking it at their house in chappaqua. Whole thing was a disaster.
post #7 of 7
im gonna have to agree with the pineapple, also the ginger and perhaps the orange juice too. most of the time these 3 ingredients have enzymes that as said, do break down protien. also being citric most of the time is slightly acidic.
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