Arroz de pato, or duck with rice, is a specialty of the Minho region. Traditionally it’s made by first boiling and then roasting duck to cook it to tenderness and make a rich stock, then later roasting the shredded meat along with rice. But I find this technique often leaves the bird flavorless and dry. Plus, it takes an entire day of waiting to chill the stock and then degrease it. This cheaters’ version of the dish is inspired by a risotto made by my friend, chef Vitor Veloso. It calls for braising the legs in chicken stock, then shredding the meat and stirring it into a creamy risotto made with the de rigueur ingredients, including presunto (cured ham), chouriço (spicy sausage), and orange zest. Adorning the top are slices of perfectly seared duck breast. Much faster, infinitely easier, and far more sophisticated.–David Leite
LC David Gets His Ducks in a Row Note
[Editor’s Note: This LC Note brought to you by David Leite himself.] Risotto has a potential to send people shrieking into the hills. And for what? It’s really a cinch to make a great pot of risotto. All you need is patience and a lot of broth. I’ve made this risotto more times that I can count. But a few weeks ago, I was rushed and I did the unthinkable–I resorted to a bargain brand of canned chicken broth and I bought some duck on sale. Needless to say, the dish had nary a hint of flavor. Properly chastened, I made it again shortly thereafter, but this time I returned to my old duck standby, D’Artagnan, which I’d used previously. Then I made a duck stock out of some excellent chicken stock along with D’Artagnan’s Duck and Veal Demi-Glace and two of their moulard legs and a magret half-breast. This time, the risotto was as I’d remembered: sensational. I don’t often mention brand names, as it feels like a commercial, but considering how much better the dish was, I believe it’s my duty. I also believe D’Artagnan is well worth the price. Carry on.
Portuguese Duck Risotto | Arroz de Pato
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 30 M
- 2 H, 45 M
- Serves 6 to 8
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Recipe Testers Reviews
I made this recipe last night for my husband's birthday dinner. I admit, I was a tad skeptical, as he's not a big risotto fan and he loves the Portuguese rice with duck that I have made for years. So you may be wondering why I chose to do this for his birthday. Well, as I was reading the recipe, it all made sense, and I could fully imagine that, though this is a different recipe than the traditional Portuguese dish, I knew the familiar flavors would still be there. The end result? A very happy husband—and two very happy daughters—who filled their plates twice! Just as I was hoping, the flavors were there and it was very creamy, yet it was a much nicer and more sophisticated dish than the traditional. It was also much less heavy of duck fat. The breasts were outstanding. Now a few things I did differently: I bought a whole duck which was not very big, so I used both breasts. With its bones I made the stock, so did not use the chicken stock. I did use 2 tablespoons orange, but next time will only add 1 tablespoon.