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Portuguese Recipe: Pato à Moda da Beira Baixa (Beira Baixa Duck Rice)

easy

Portuguese Recipe: Pato à Moda da Beira Baixa (Beira Baixa Duck Rice)

The ceramic pot harkens back to rustic cooking in remote Portuguese villages like those in the Beira Baixa (central Portugal). Ceramic pots conserve and distribute heat more efficiently at a lower temperature. It’s also an excellent way to seal in moisture that keeps a tougher meat, like duck, tender. The cuisine in central Portugal is heavily based on gamey meats such as wild boar and squab, as well as elaborate recipes using locally-raised lamb, goat, duck and rabbit, such as this recipe for Duck Rice. There are also the hearty soups, ideal meals during the harsh winters, which have been perfected and marked with the “sugerelha” herb commonly used in this area. 

Try this traditional Duck Rice recipe with a hearty, flavorful red from the Beira region, such as Quinta dos Termos. And if you’re keen to visit the region for a bespoke culinary tour of one of the most under-appreciated culinary destinations in Portugal, let us know!

Ingredients

  • 1 duck
  • 2 onions
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 6 slices of Pancetta (traditionally toucinho)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 bushel of parsley
  • 1 ½ cups of rice
  • 1 chouriço (Portuguese smoked sausage)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Dice the onions and mince the garlic and add both to a large pot (big enough to fit the duck) with the olive oil and the pancetta cut in to strips. Once all ingredients are golden, place the duck on top of them (either whole or cut into four parts) and add salt to taste. Sear the duck on both sides without charring, then remove the duck and set aside. Add water (about enough to cover the duck since you’ll eventually place it back in the pot) and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling add the duck and the chouriço (reserve some chouriço slices to top the dish). Let it boil again until the duck is cooked (about 20-30 minutes). Remove the duck and set aside.
  2. Sieve the broth; remove any extra fat and reserve. Save the onion, garlic, pancetta and the chouriço for use later and bring the broth to a boil again. Add the lemon juice and the rice when it begins to boil. After it boils, simmer until rice is cooked.
  3. While the rice is cooking puree the reserved onion, garlic, pancetta and chouriço and set aside (Though in most recipes these ingredients are discarded, my mother’s tip is to puree them to add an extra layer of flavor. It works beautifully.) Then break the meat of the duck off the bones and shred it (not too thinly) and set aside.
  4. Once the rice is cooked add a layer of it on the bottom of the ceramic pot (or any bake safe tray) and then add a layer of duck and one of the pureed ingredients. Keep doing that until you run out of ingredients.
  5. Finish it off with a few slices of chouriço and place in a preheated oven (475 degrees or depending on your oven and then bake for 20-30 minutes at about 375 or 400 degrees).
  6. Fifteen minutes before removing the dish from the oven, beat three egg yolks to cover the top of the dish (another of mom’s tips) and put back in the oven for the remainder of the time. Remove and finish with freshly cracked black pepper and parsley.

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