We have been raising poultry this summer so that we can offer heritage ducks, chickens and turkeys to our customers. My father has been feeding them a high hay ration, which in this time of ever increasing feed bills means we aren’t held hostage to grain prices. They are old enough to go out on pasture now, so they go out during the day and consume a lot of fresh grass too. Don’t the ducks look great? I can’t believe how quickly they’ve grown! They were chicks just a few months ago.
My father slaughtered two of the runner ducks on Wednesday and we had them roasted for dinner. I took back half a carcass for broth and was pleased by how beautiful and deeply colored the collegen-filled broth was. I wonder if this has to do with the fact that it’s a heritage bird with a good diet and room to run around–it certainly had good bones.
For the broth I added: half a duck carcass, two small carrots, an onion, two garlic cloves, two small bay leaves, 5 black peppercorns, a sprig of rosemary, thyme and lots of sage ( I didn’t have parsley but if you have it, use it!). I covered it with water and simmered for around 6 hours, adding water when needed. Then I salted it and drained it through a cheese cloth before putting it into a container. As luck would have it, that equaled about 2 cups— perfect for this romantic pressure cooker risotto for two. I am guessing if I had a whole carcass I could have gotten 4 cups.
My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Montreal, which was recently captured by Jessica Applestone in this beautifully written piece about its rapacious food scene. Montreal was the prefect honeymoon spot for us: it was budget friendly and we biked our way around the city eating fabulous food, a bit tipsy on wine, high on duck fat and fabulous oysters. One of the highlights of our trip was the duck fat fried fries and duck risotto with oyster mushrooms, sage and orange cream sauce at Boris Bistro. The orange duck risotto was out-of-this-world creamy at each bite the lusciousness was almost unbearable and I thought I wouldn’t be able to take another bite, but I also couldn’t stop because it was too good. The fries put the whole experience over the top. We then hopped onto our rented bixi bikes and explored the city with a filled belly and even higher spirits.
Risotto’s creaminess comes from the starch in the arborio rice–adding a bit of butter or cream* at the end along with the cheese makes it ethereal. Homemade duck broth and risotto are a match made in heaven. Trust me on this! I use a pressure cooker when making risotto because you don’t need as much broth (just remember the 1:2 ratio of rice to broth) not to mention you get perfectly cooked risotto in less than 15 minutes.
Duck Broth Risotto with Mushrooms for Two
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 ounce butter
- 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms, soaked in a cup of boiling water
- 3 ounces fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 teaspoon of whiskey
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 cups duck broth (recipe above in text)
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon cream (or butter)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- Pressure cooker
- In your pressure cooker melt the butter add minced shallots. Once they have softened add fresh sliced mushrooms.
- Saute mushrooms until browned and soft.
- Add whiskey, stir and let evaporate.
- Add rice and stir.
- Add the fresh sage.
- Then add the softened dried mushrooms and broth.
- Pressure cook the risotto for 7 minutes at high pressure.
- Release the pressure and finish the risotto with cheese and cream.
* cream is a risotto no-no, and I have read that technically butter becomes like cream when you add it at the end, but I put cream in this recipe because of Boris Bistro’s version, which had an orange cream sauce.