Roast duck with porcini & pearl barley risotto

This is a rich dish packed with earthy flavours, which makes it the perfect partner for the light, fruity Sixteen Ridges Vineyard Early Pinot Noir. Slow-roasted leg of duck with crispy, herby skin is served on a bed of pearl barley risotto made with white and porcini mushrooms. I always make extra risotto as it’s so good made into arancini the next day, so you’ll probably have a bit left over here – simply shape the cold risotto into balls, roll in panko breadcrumbs, and fry in olive oil until golden.

Roast Duck with Porcini & Pearl Barley Risotto Recipe

Ingredients

Serves 2, with risotto left over for the next day.

  • 2 duck legs
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Thyme
  • 1 fat garlic clove
  • 50g butter
For the risotto:
  • 1 onion
  • 2 fat garlic cloves
  • Butter for frying
  • 200g pearl barley
  • A glass of dry white wine
  • 10g dried, chopped porcini mushrooms
  • 1.5 pints of water
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150˚C (130˚C fan). In a small baking dish that will snugly fit the two duck legs, melt 50g of butter. Peel the clove of garlic, cut into four, and add to the dish. Add the duck, skin-side-up, and brush the skin with a little of the melted butter. Sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt and dried thyme, and then place in the oven for two and a half hours. In the meantime, place the dried porcini mushrooms in a pint of cold water to soak.
  2. When there’s about an hour left on the timer for the duck, you can start preparing the risotto. Dice the onion and garlic as finely as you can, and get them frying gently in a generous amount of melted butter – don’t turn the heat up too high, you want to soften the onion without it taking on any colour.
  3. When the onion is nice and soft, add the pearl barley and fry for a few minutes. Then turn the heat up to medium and add the white wine. Let it all sizzle and bubble for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Drain the porcini mushrooms, being careful to save the soaking liquid – you will use this mushroom stock to make the risotto. Begin adding it to the barley a bit at a time, pouring in enough to cover the barley and stirring regularly until it’s all absorbed, before adding some more. When you run out of mushroom stock, use boiling water – you should need about another half pint.
  5. When you’ve added a total of 1.5 pints of liquid, the barley should be cooked – it will be soft but will still have a bit of a bite to it. Remove from the heat, season with salt and black pepper, and stir through a generous handful of freshly grated parmesan.
  6. By now, the duck should be dark golden and crispy on the top, and beautifully tender underneath. Remove the legs from the baking dish and lay on kitchen paper for a few moments to drain off any excess fat, and then serve on a bed of risotto.
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