Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Duck and Chorizo Risotto
I have always had a love affair with duck. I'm pretty sure it runs in our family. My dad's brother has 4 kids, and had very similar bar/bat mitzvah parties for each of them...same caterer and location etc. I distinctly remember my brother, who was young at the time, talking about the duck that they'd serve at the reception on the whole drive to Connecticut, and practically running to the duck serving station after the ceremony. I'm almost sure he's counting down the days until the youngest is bat mitzvahed.
For me, there are just some dishes made very special by duck. I'll never eat at California Pizza Kitchen again, since they took their amazing duck pizza off the menu. And I cannot wait to go to New York with my coworker to try the duck she raves about at one of her favorite Chinese restaurants. Proteins can become so monotonous but, especially because we eat it less frequently, I find that duck has such a unique flavor. It's fatty and sweet and simply delicious.
Unfortunately, the Monkey Scientist won't eat duck. Ducklings are one of those cute little animals with a family unit, and he's not into it. I keep telling him I only buy "childless, old maid" ducks, but he's not buying it. Oh well, more for me!
When PW posted this recipe, and said it was originally from David Leite's cookbook, I knew it had to be made. If a recipe sounds good, and it's a collaboration of chefs from 2 of your favorite blogs, I think that's a sign. Go home and make it. I obeyed. It's important to obey signs.
Surprisingly, I can almost always find duck at my local grocery store. It's usually sold near the organic or not-so-normal proteins (like where the lamb and bison is sold). Each piece (a leg or breast) is sold individually and cryo-vaced, shipped in from our neighbors to the north (yes, Canadian duck...old maid, childless Canadian duck, now will you eat it?). It's actually relatively cheap (a leg was a little over $2) especially because you can buy exactly the amount you want.
For whatever reason, I totally misread the ingredients before I went to the store and didn't get enough chicken stock. I don't know what I was thinking. I almost never buy stock in a can either, but I was feeling cheap I guess. It was no matter, I supplemented with water and added a little ancho chile powder for extra flavor. Since it was mixed with the can of stock, and the duck cooked it in, I thought it was plenty flavorful. In retrospect, I would have used all stock.... next time. You live and you learn.
Now normally, I love making risotto. I think there's just something special about a meal that you tend to the whole time it's cooking - you can really taste the love. However, the AC in my apartment does NOT reach my kitchen and man-oh-man did I get hot making this one. I have a magnet thermometer on my fridge that was off the scale (it only goes to 85). I was melting. But it was worth it.
This meal was absolutely delicious. The sweetness of the duck and the orange, the spiciness and smokiness of the chorizo, the creaminess of the risotto - it all blended in perfect harmony. This was one of those meals that my parents and brother would devour. I thought the extra kick from the red pepper flakes at the end was totally necessary. It may have been the best risotto I've ever made - and it didn't even have cheese in it! Maybe it was better that I didn't have to share!
Duck and Chorizo Risotto
adapted from David Leite on Pioneer Woman
1 tbsp olive oil
2 whole duck legs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp ancho chile powder
1 chorizo sausage, removed from casing
1 whole small yellow onion, minced
1 c Arborio rice
1/4 c dry white wine
Juice of 1 orange
Zest of one orange
Crushed red pepper to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the duck legs well with salt and pepper. When the skillet is hot, add the duck pieces, skin side down and sear until lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the legs to a medium pot and cover with chicken stock. Simmer, covered, over low heat, until the meat is tender, 1-1/2 hrs.
2. Drain most of the duck fat from the skillet but do not throw out. Add sausage to skillet and sauté over medium heat until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels and drain fat into jar with the duck fat. Wipe skillet clean.
3. Transfer the duck legs to a plate and shred into bite sized pieces. Set aside. Spoon the fat from the top of the stock and bring to a simmer over low to medium low heat.
4. Add 1 tbsp of duck/chorizo fat back to skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice to coat, and cool until translucent around the edges, about 2 minutes. Splash in wine and cook until absorbed. Add a ladleful of hot stock and cook, stirring continuously, until the liquid has almost burbled away. Keep up this rhythm of adding stock, stirring, and cooking until the rice is tender but offers just the slightest bite of resistance in the middle and almost all the stock has been absorbed.
5. Stir in sausage and duck, then add orange juice and stir until absorbed. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Add in orange zest and serve.