Arroz de Pato à Moda de Braga
When I was travelling in Portugal many years ago this dish was right at the top of my list to try. However, it’s such a homestyle classic dish it was difficult to find a restaurant that served it. Luckily, my Portuguese friend called ahead to one of Porto’s most respected restaurants, Líder. The chef said that although they didn’t have it on the menu, he would be happy to make it especially for me if I came for dinner the next night. Of course, we eagerly accepted. It’s become a favourite of ours ever since – not just because it’s a delicious dish, but because it reminds me of the exquisite hospitality we received in Portugal. I’ve never felt so welcomed in a country.
1 whole duck (around 2kg)
½ cup pinot noir or other light red wine
1 small bunch parsley, leaves picked
1 brown onion, halved
3 tsp salt
3 bay leaves
50g butter, plus another 25g for topping the rice
1 Portuguese chouriço, or Spanish chorizo
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 small carrot, finely diced
700g uncooked rice
50g pancetta or other cured ham, sliced
lemon wedges, to serve
Place the duck in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add half of the onion, the stalks of the parsley, salt, bay leaves, cloves and red wine and bring to a simmer. Skim the scum rising to the surface of the pot and simmer, covered for 1.5 hours. Remove the duck from the pot, strain the stock and cool the stock until the fat solidifies. (This can be easily done by transferring it to smaller containers and chilling in the fridge.) Remove the fat and reserve it for another purpose.
Pick the meat from the duck, removing the skin and any visible fat. Roughly chop or tear the meat and place it in the base of a large, heavy baking dish.
Heat your oven to 180C. Finely dice the remaining onion. Slice about 10 thin slices of chouriço and finely dice the remainder. In a large saucepan heat the butter over medium heat and fry the onion, garlic and carrot for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the diced chouriço and fry until lightly browned. Add the rice and stir to coat. Measure 1.5L of the duck stock and add it to the pan. Bring the rice mixture to the boil, and simmer for around 5 minutes until the level of the stock reaches the top of the expanding rice.
Pour the rice and any remaining stock in the pot over the top of the duck and smooth the top. Arrange slices of the chouriço and pancetta over the top, and dot the top of the rice with the remaining butter. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and grill the top of the rice until it is lightly browned.
Finely shred the leaves of the parsley, season the rice with a little more salt and pepper and serve the rice with the parsley and lemon wedges.
- I prefer not to use the duck fat to fry the rice, as I feel it begins to overwhelm the dish with rich duckflavour. The reserved fat is great for roasting potatoes, though.
- You really need to skim the scum from the stock well. The protein in the scum will remove a lot of the purple characteristics of the wine, so it doesn’t stain your final dish.
- If you prefer, you can use white wine in the stock instead of red.