Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Duck Risotto

This makes an excellent appetizer for six or could be served for half that number as a lunch or supper dish. Add a green salad, or serve with snow peas and sauteed red pepper slices. Recipe serves 3-4.


2 duck breasts
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
4-5 cups simmering duck, turkey or chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Strips of thinly pared orange rind, to garnish


1. Score the fatty side of the duck breasts and rub them with salt. Put them, fat side down, in a heavy frying pan and dry-fry over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes to render the fat. Transfer the breasts to a plate and then pull away and discard the fat. Cut the flesh into strips about 3/4 inch (2 cm) wide.
2. Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered duck fat from the pan into a cup or jug, then reheat the fat in the pan. Fry the duck slices for 2-3 minutes over a medium high heat until evenly brown but not overcooked. Add the brandy, heat to simmering point and then ignite, either by tilting the pan or using a taper. When the flames have died down, add the orange juice and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. In a saucepan, heat either 1 tablespoon of the remaining duck fat or use olive oil. Fry the onion and garlic over a gentle heat until the onion is soft but not browned. Add the rice and cook, stirring all the time, until the grains are coated in oil and have become slightly translucent around the edges.
4. Add the stock, a cupful at a time, waiting for each quantity of stock to be absorbed completely before adding the next. Just before adding the final cupful of stock, stir in the duck, with the thyme and mint. Continue cooking until the risotto is creamy and the rice is tender but still has a bit of "bite".
5. Add the orange rind and Parmesan. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave to stand for a few minutes. Serve on individual plates, garnished with the pared orange rind.

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