Make George Mendes' Arroz de Pato

Categories: Featured, Recipes

In weather such as this, there are few cravings as strong as those for carbs and meat. The Arroz de Pato (duck rice) is the most popular dish at Aldea, the restaurant George Mendes opened last summer as an ode to Iberian cooking. Preparing the dish is no quick task, but the results are well worth the effort.

"I think the Arroz de Pato has become a popular menu item because it's a homey rice dish that has a lot going on as far as textures and flavors," says Mendes of his star entree. "There's the soft-chewy duck confit, the smoky-hot chorizo, the salty olives, the crunchy duck skin, and the sweetness from the apricot puree. It also has the reference point of being a classical Portuguese peasant dish, which I reinterpreted for Aldea."

Arroz de Pato

Yield: 8

For the Arroz (rice):

8 oz. Calaspara rice
1.5 oz. sofrito (recipe to follow)
2.5 cups duck stock
salt, to taste
fresh white pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Over medium-low heat, place the sofrito in a heavy-bottomed rondeau, and add the olive oil. Add the rice and toast, constantly stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add 12 ounces of the stock and mix well. Let the rice cook, stirring to avoid sticking for about 8-10 minutes. Remove the rice from the pan, and spread it onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. (Pre-cooking the rice can be done ahead of time, but the rice can also be finished at this point: add the the rest of the stock, as well as the seasoning.)

For the sofrito:

1/4 diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, peeled and diced
1 tbsp. pimenton
pinch saffron threads
2 tbsp. olive oil

In a skillet over medium-low heat, sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil until just slightly golden brown. Add the saffron threads, and cook 2 minutes more. Then, add the diced tomato and cook over medium heat until all the moisture is gone. Add the pimenton, and set aside.

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