Gluten Free, Main Course
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Portuguese Duck Rice – Arroz de Pato

Arroz de Pato – Portuguese Duck Rice recipe

The other day, I was going through some old photos and found the photos of a trip to Lisbon years ago with my sister and her husband.  It was such a lovely trip: beautiful weather, excellent food – and of course great company (my sister and her family live in Hong Kong, so it was a very special trip for us! And now that we have children, it could take some time before we can travel together again!).

Thinking about the trip reminded me of Portuguese food, which always gives me a nostalgic feeling.  In Macau, as I mentioned before, we have Macanese food (so it is called)– a fusion of Portuguese and Cantonese cuisine, using mainly local ingredients and various blends of spices such as turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and coconut milk etc.  These dishes are special because of their unique aroma and taste.  During the next weeks, I am planning to try out a few Macanese recipes and I hope you will like them as much as I do.  This week, I will start with a recipe that I learnt from a friend in Macau and which became later one of my family’s favorites – Portuguese duck rice.  I have made this many times in the past, but this time, I have made some changes to the original recipe: I add more spices and cook the rice differently.  And the end result is that the rice has not only soaked up all the flavors from the spices and the meat, it also gets an extra layer of flavor after baked in the oven.  It is – just delicious!


(serves 4)

For the duck:

  • 3 duck legs
  • 1 medium onion, halve
  • 1 small bunch of Parsley (stems and leaves)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 cloves, whole
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorn
  • 2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 400ml organic duck stock (use chicken stock if not available)
  • Water

For the rice:

  • 350g uncooked basmati rice, wash thoroughly and drain
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 170g chorizo, diced (reserve about 12 slices for garnish)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of Parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground sweet Paprika
  • 600ml of the duck stock (reserved from cooking the duck legs)

First we cook the duck.  Put the duck, the stock and all the other ingredients listed for the duck in a heavy based saucepan large enough to accommodate the duck legs.  Pour in enough water to just cover the meat and vegetables.  Bring to boil and reduced to simmer for 30-35 minutes until cooked through.  Lift the duck legs out on a platter and leave to cool slightly, reserve the stock for the rice.

While the duck is cooling, we cook the rice.  Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.  Put a medium saucepan on medium heat; add a splash of olive oil.  Sautee the onion and garlic until soft but not brown.  Add the chorizo dices and continue to fry until golden.  Now tip in the carrots, turmeric and paprika and fry until fragrant.  Add the drained rice, and fry until all the rice is coated with the spices.  Ladle the stock into the rice. As soon as it boils turn the heat down to low, put a lid on and let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Keep it covered for another 5 minutes while you shred the duck meat in small strips by hand, and discard the bones.  When the rice is cooked, add the duck meat and chopped parsley, mix well.  Then transfer to an ovenproof dish and garnish with the chorizo slices.  Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. By then, the chorizo should be cooked and slightly brown on the edges.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

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