Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A Slightly Unconventional Arroz de Pato


I made this dish for a friend's birthday celebration last month. Last month! But I've been so consumed by robotics that I haven't had a chance to post about it. Geez...

This was a hit albeit a slightly unconventional way to make Arroz de Pato, Peruvian duck rice. It's not normally made in a tagine. But, I was feeding a lot of people and it was the biggest pot that wasn't already being used.

Arroz de Pato

Arroz de Pato is a combination of rice and duck that's popular all over northern Peru. Muscovy duck was domesticated there by pre-Inca civilizations and it benefited from long, slow cooking. The dish is perfumed by a purée of cilantro and spinach that's used to cook the rice. And I was fortunate to find Muscovy duck breasts!

Ingredients serves 10 to 12


  • 5 duck breasts, about 3 to 4 pounds, Muscovy if you can find it
  • 5 dried guajillo peppers
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced, approximately 2 C
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced, approximately 1 C
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 2 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 bottles dark beer (I used Guinness)
  • 4 C water
  • 2 C baby spinach
  • 1 C organic cilantro, rough chopped + more for garnish
  • 4 T long grain rice
  • 2 C shelled peas

Procedure

Destem and deseed the dried peppers. Place them in a small saucepan with 2 C of water and bring to a simmer. Cook the peppers until softened, approximately 15 minutes. 


Place the peppers, red wine vinegar, and enough of the soaking liquid into a blender so that it will blend nicely. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a pot over medium heat; I used an oval Dutch oven. Prick the duck breasts all over with a fork and place skin side down in the pot. Brown on both sides until the fat begins to render, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the browned duck breasts to a plate. Pour off the excess fat and reserve. 


Add 2 T duck fat back into the pot and add garlic. Stir and sauté for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook until beginning to soften, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the red bell pepper and cook until it soften, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper.

Pour in the beers, chile mixture, and 4 C water into the pot. Nestle the duck breasts in the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the duck is tender, approximately one hour. Remove the duck to a plate, again.

Add the spinach, cilantro, and one generous ladle-full of the hot duck broth to a blender. Process carefully and pour back into the pot.

Rinse the rice and drain or pat dry with paper towels. In a large pan, add 2 T of the reserved duck fat. Add the rice and stir to coat with the fat. Let the rice cook for a few minutes until the grains look dry and a little toasted.

Add the toasted rice to the hot broth. Bring to a low boil and simmer, uncovered, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, approximately 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add the peas to the top of the rice, cover the pot, and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, and fluff the rice with a fork, incorporating the peas into the rice. Cover and let steam, off the stove, for 10 more minutes.

While the rice is finishing, shred the meat from the duck breasts. To serve, fold the shredded duck into the rice. Garnish with more cilantro. Serve hot.

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