It’s always fun taking a classic Instant Pot dish to the next level. And when it involves one of the richest and creamiest mac & cheeses you’ll ever have combined with the most tender of all birds out there, you know you’re onto something unforgettable.
You got that right! We’re talking Smoky Duck Mac & Cheese, or, Quack Quack Mac as I like to call it!
Not only is this dish very easy to prepare, it may change the way you prefer to eat Mac & Cheese forever! What’s more? It will serve as the STAR side to any meal (especially Thanksgiving!) OR it will be absolutely perfect as a meal on its own!
But enough of this rambling. You’ll soon see for yourself that I’m no quack (or maybe only partially one)!
Here’s How I Made It!:
Start off by preheating your oven.
Then take some handsome, fully pre-cooked duck…
…and lay it on a foil-lined baking sheet because we’re about to make an insane glaze to go over it.
This magical glaze will consist of some melted butter…
…and liquid smoke.
Stir everything together until nice and combined.
Take a basting brush and brush that glaze right onto both sides of the duck…
…and then pop it in the oven, turning over halfway through.
Meanwhile as the duck’s cooking, let’s make our Mac & Cheese by adding in the pasta of your choice (I like Cavatappi)…
…some chicken broth…
…mix well, secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
Now while the mac & duck are cooking, take some smoked Gruyere AND smoked Gouda…
When the duck’s all done, take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool for a few.
Once the macaroni has finished cooking, leave the Instant Pot on the “Keep Warm” setting. Give it a stir…
…add the shredded cheese in batches…
…and mix in until melted and melded and repeat until all the cheese is blended in.
Then, add in the cream cheese…
…and also mix until felly incorporated.
Lastly, add in some yellow mustard (if you hate mustard, don’t worry – I SWEAR you won’t taste it – it simply enhances the flavor)…
…some hot sauce (it won’t be spicy at all)…
…and just 1-2 drops of liquid smoke!
Give it all a good stir and set aside.
Now that our duck has cooled, shred it up either by knife or by hand…
…add it to the mac & cheese…
…and stir it up until everything has come together.
And there you have it! A Mac that Quacks!
SO phenomenal and rich. Enjoy!
- 2 1/2 cups of Macaroni (I like to use Cellentani/Cavatappi – it’s like if Shirley Temple’s hair were a pasta)
- 2 cups of chicken broth (I use 2 cups of water + 2 tsp of Chicken Better Than Bouillon)
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tbsp (1/4 stick) of salted butter
- 1 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
- 8oz of smoked Gouda, shredded
- 8oz of smoked Gruyere, shredded
- 2oz (1/4 brick) of cream cheese (or 1/2 brick if you want it SUPER thick)
- 1 teaspoon of yellow mustard (you don’t to use this but I assure you you can’t taste any mustard flavor once added – it just really enhances the cheese flavor)
- 1 tsp of hot sauce (or more if you wish to give it more heat)
- 1-2 lbs of duck (pre-cooked – I got mine at Costco in the section near where they keep the spiral hams – brand was Maple Leaf Farms)
For The Duck Glaze:
- 1 tbsp of salted butter, melted
- 2 tsp of light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp of low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of ketchup
- 1 tsp of crushed garlic
- 1 tsp of liquid smoke (plus a 1-2 drops for adding into the mac & cheese)
- Prepare the duck. Preheat your oven to 375, place the duck on a foil-lined baking sheet and then make the glaze by adding the melted butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, crushed garlic, liquid smoke and mix together. Brush the glaze on both sides of the duck (with the skin on) and pop in the oven for 10 minutes on one side and then flip and cook for another 8-10 on the other side. When done and cooled, remove and shred up the duck either by hand or by slicing into bite-sized pieces. It is totally your choice if you choose to reserve some of that delicious duck skin to add to the macaroni when adding all the meat at the end
- While the ducks’ cooking in the oven, let’s make our macaroni simultaneously. Add the pasta, broth, water, butter and Parmesan to the Instant Pot. Stir well, secure the lid and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure and set for 6 minutes
- When the pasta’s done, quick release. Add the shredded smoked Gouda and Gruyere, cream cheese, mustard, hot sauce, just a couple drops of liquid smoke and stir until it gets creamy – a few minutes! It may not appear so at first, but let it set for a few minutes after stirring as it will really begin to thicken up
- Add the shredded duck to the mac & cheese, stir well and serve!
I personally feel like some of the best reason to eat duck is for that succulent skin. I like adding some of it to my mac & cheese along with the duck meat – especially since it’s SO flavorful with that amazing glaze and the fact it melts in your mouth. But I realize others may not be as into this. Try a piece of it when you cut up the duck and decide if it’s right for you. The choice is yours!
Want to set it over the top? Instead of transferring the finished product to a serving bowl, transfer it to a casserole dish, top with some additional sliced smoked Gouda followed by a sleeve of mashed Ritz Crackers mixed with 3-4 tbsp of melted butter and bake for an additional 5-10 mins on 400.
The more cream cheese you add, the thicker this will be. I suggest beginning with 2oz (1/4 brick) and then adding more according to preference (but I wouldn’t exceed 4oz).
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge and they will definitely become congealed due to all the cheese and duck. All you need to do is take whatever leftovers you desire, put in a bowl and microwave for about 30-60 seconds. Perfection.