Friday, July 27, 2018

On This Week's MENU: Portuguese Duck Rice

This classic Portuguese dish originated in one of their Asian colonies many years ago and was adapted for the local taste. It has become a special dish that they eat at celebrations and high holidays like Christmas and New Year. 

This is the recipe using a whole duck, very luxurious, OR what you can also do is use a duck carcass that still has plenty of meat on it and less rice. We go to our local Chinese restaurant for special occasions and often order the Peking duck. You have paid for the whole duck, so ask for the carcass to take home – don’t let them chop it up. Put it into the freezer, whole, until you want to make this dish. Use just one cup of rice

If using a whole duck, this serves 6 - 8 people. If using a duck carcass, just 2 or 3, but you do end up with lots of extra duck stock which you can freeze till you are ready to make soup from it

A 2 kilo whole duck, cut up into 8 pieces - 2½ cups rice - 5 cups duck stock (from cooking the duck) - half of a Chorizo - 2 medium onions, quartered - 1 peeled carrot - 1 leek – 1 celery stalk, trimmed - 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole - 2 bay leaves - 4 cloves - 6 stalks of fresh parsley - 4 sprigs fresh thyme - 1 teaspoon whole Black peppercorns – 1 star anise – 1 T duck fat - salt- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Method: Push the cloves into pieces of the onion. Wash the leek very well and roughly chop it. Peel the carrot. Trim and wash the celery. Roughly chop both. Rinse the parsley and the fresh thyme

Wash the whole duck and cut into 8 pieces

In a big pot, add the duck, onion with cloves, leek, celery stalk, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, star anise, peppercorns and cover with water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered with a lid, for 1 hour. Remove the lid and allow to cook for a further 45 minutes until the duck is very tender and almost falling of the bones. This will slightly reduce and concentrate the stock. Do not overcook it or you will have a pot full of small bones. If using a carcass, leave it whole and cook until it is easy to take the meat off the bones, no more than an hour and a half

Remove the duck from the stock and let it cool. Remove the flesh, shred it into big pieces. Discard the skin and all the bones – be very thorough, because the duck has some very small bones

Pour the duck stock through a sieve– you will need 5 cups for the recipe. The stock will be very rich and have a lot of fat from the duck, which will give the rice its special flavour. If the duck was very fatty and SA ducks often are, there will be a very thick layer of fat. You can let the stock go cold in the fridge and take off some of the excess duck fat. Keep this for roasting potatoes, they are the best

In a big pan with a tight fitting lid, over medium heat, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of duck fat and sauté the rice for a minute or two until it is well coated in the fat and almost sticking to the pan

Add the duck stock, stir and scrape off any rice attached to the pan. Check the salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, tightly covered, for 17 minutes. During this time DO NOT uncover or stir the rice

Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes without uncovering the pan or stirring the rice

Fluff up the rice, so you don’t have any lumps

Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C / 375°F

In a deep oven-proof serving dish, spread half of the fluffed-up rice and add some of the chopped garlic. Spread  the shredded duck on top. Cover with the remaining rice and the rest of the chopped garlic. Or you can just mix in the duck and garlic with the rice if layering doesn’t work for you

Slice the chorizo and scatter the slices on top of the rice

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until the top layer of the rice is lightly golden and beginning to crisp at the edges. The chorizo should be crispy too. Sprinkle with some parsley or chopped chives and serve immediately. Great with a green salad and a good Chenin Blanc to cut through the richness and the spicy chorizo

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