June 2020 – Recipes (Traditional Portuguese Duck Rice)
I have long had a fascination with duck rice, having first eaten it in Macau many years ago. Since then I have been trying very hard to recreate it. It’s taken forever to find a recipe that looked even vaguely plausible, with the ones I’ve tried in the past lacking flavour or being too watery or just ending up mushy. The book was one I picked up in Porto last year and it was big on suggesting that these were traditional recipes. I decided to give it a go one more time.
With a duck carcass to hand, and having already stripped the meat off it after we’d eaten the original dish it was used in (an Indonesian duck dish from one of my favourite cookbooks, “Fire Islands”, the Spice-Stuffed Smoked Duck) I was able to make a head start and skip the first couple of steps.
I should say that I also used a broth that I’d stewed the duck carcass in instead of the duck stock and it packed something of a punch. It would be just as good with an “ordinary” stock, I’m sure but this gave it an extra level of depth and flavour.
I should also say that interestingly, the book I got the recipe from does not mention how many people it serves though I suspect if you make the amount shown you’ll need a smallish army at your disposal to eat it all! I made a quarter of the quantity and it fed two of us for two days easily, with a portion left for my lunch the day after.
Oh and for anyone who, like me, has no clue what vapourised rice is, it’s apparently parboiled rice (also sometimes called converted rice) that is partially precooked in its husk before it’s processed for eating. Easy cook long grain rice is sufficiently similar that you can use it instead or you can do what I did and use arborio rice and just make sure you keep an eye on it.
It was very, very good indeed and I think I’ve finally cracked the secret!
Traditional Portuguese Duck Rice
- 1/2 duck cut into pieces
- 3 large onions
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 carrots
- 1 smoked sausage (chourico de carne)
- 200g dry-cured ham
- 1/2 glass of Port wine
- 4 cups of vapourised rice
- 8 cups of duck stock
- Black pepper
- Duck fat to taste
- Salt to taste
- Place the duck pieces in pan with the chourico and ham. Add the carrots, 2 onions, the garlic, bay leaf and finally the Port.
- Cover with water, season with pepper and cook for 45 minutes to an hour.
- When the duck is well cooked, remove and shred the meat.
- Reserve the chourico, the ham, part of the stock and the residual fat from cooking.
- To make the rice, start by chopping an onion and frying it in the duck fat.
- In the meantime, wash the vapourised rice in cold water, drain it and then add it to the pan so it fries lightly.
- Cover the rice with the duck stock, season with salt and leave to cook for about 12 minutes.
- Cut the chourico into rounds and the cured ham into small pieces.
- Put a layer of rice in a roasting dish, places the shredded duck and the ham on top, cover with another layer of rice, garnish with the chourico, and bake at 200C in the over for 10 minutes until browned.
- Serve very hot.