This is about as much wild earthy flavor as you can pack into a dish. Slow-simmered wild duck meat gets folded into a rich, creamy base of wild rice and Arborio rice (sold at most supermarkets; don’t substitute long-grain rice) that’s spiked with wild mushrooms and leeks. This can easily be made a day ahead, up through Step 4; you can also omit the duck breasts, if you want to save them for another use, for a less meaty but no less satisfying dish. Be prepared to be glued to the stove while the risotto cooks—it requires almost constant stirring—but don’t expect leftovers. This is a crowd-pleaser.
- 1 large wild duck (or 2 smaller ones)
- About 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1⁄2 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 oz. wild mushrooms (morels, chanterelles, porcini, or shiitakes), stemmed and sliced
- 11⁄2 cups Arborio rice
- 2 Tbsp. chives
- Kosher salt and freshly
- ground black pepper
1. Divide the duck: Slice out the breast meat, so that you have two breast fillets, and reserve these in the refrigerator. Chop off the leg quarters and then roughly hack the backbone and wings. If there’s any visible fat, remove it.
2. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a large deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Generously season the leg quarters and wing pieces with salt and pepper, then sear them in the skillet, skin side down, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the duck pieces to a stockpot over medium-high heat and add the chicken stock. (Don’t clean the skillet.) Bring the stock to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 11⁄2 to 2 hours, or until the leg meat is very tender.
3. While the duck is simmering, cook the wild rice: Bring 11⁄2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in 1⁄2 tsp. salt and the wild rice. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the rice is tender but still a bit chewy. Drain any excess water.
4. When the duck is finished, turn off the heat and remove the pieces with a slotted spoon, transferring to a plate to cool. Remove and discard the skin, and pull the meat into shreds. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve and return it to the pot. Skim any fat from the surface of the stock. Return to a simmer when ready to make the risotto.
5. Place the skillet over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the breast pieces, then sear them, skin side down first, for just a few minutes per side, until just shy of medium-rare. When done, transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
6. Make the risotto: Add enough olive oil to any fat remaining in the skillet, or subtract some if there’s excess, so that you have about 3 Tbsp. Place the skillet over medium heat and add the onions and leeks and sauté, stirring, for about 4 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring, for another minute or so. Add the Arborio rice and wild rice and sauté for another minute to thoroughly coat the rice.
7. Ladle about a cup of the simmering stock into the rice and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the rice absorbs almost all of the liquid. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Repeat this process, ladling more stock each time the rice has absorbed the last addition, and stirring as often as possible, for about 25 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and creamy and the rice is tender but still slightly firm. Stir in the meat from the duck legs and continue to cook until the meat is warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Divide the risotto among four bowls. Thinly slice the duck breasts and drape these slices atop the risotto, sprinkling with the chives. Serve hot. Serves 4
Meet Your Match Maker
The go-to wine for both duck and mushrooms is a Pinot Noir, which makes this pairing an easy shot. The 2013 La Fenêtre À Côté Pinot Noir, from California, tastes as deep and lush as this dish does. A bottle of Nebbiolo would also be great company for the risotto. As for beer, a malty Belgian Dubbel is your top candidate; the Westmalle Trappist Dubbel and Sierra Nevada’s Ovila Abbey Barrel-Aged Dubbel are two robust standouts.