Zinfandel Risotto with Duck Confit and Wild Mushrooms

Serves 8 appetizer portions or 4 main course portions

1 lb. wild mushrooms, assorted
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 shallots, minced
10 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups carnaroli risotto rice
5 cups chicken stock
1 bottle Zinfandel wine
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 bunch garlic chives, chopped
4 duck legs, cooked confit style
1 bay leaf
4 oz. Reggiano parmesan cheese, grated

Pour the bottle of Zinfandel into a non-reactive saucepot and reduce the wine over medium to high heat until 1/4 cup is all that is left. Set aside. Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms removing any dirt that may be attached. If you cannot find wild mushrooms, an assort-ment of domestic mushrooms would make a good substitute. After the mushrooms are cleaned cut them into smaller uniform pieces; the size doesn’t really matter as long as they are all the same size, which allows them to cook evenly. In a large sauté pan over high heat, add one tablespoon of grape seed oil and then half of the mushrooms. Allow the mushrooms to begin to caramelize slightly then start to move them around in the pan. Season them with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. After all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, the sauté pan will begin to look dry, add 1 tablespoon of butter, and two sprigs of thyme and continue cooking until the mushrooms have caramelized evenly. (As the but-ter browns, it adds incredible flavor to the mushrooms) Remove the mushrooms onto a plate lined with a paper towel discard the thyme stems and set the mushrooms aside. Repeat this procedure with the remaining mushrooms. Remove duck meat from the bone and break it up into small pieces, discard the bone and any skin, set aside.

Place the stock into a saucepot and bring to a boil. In another large heavy bottom pot, over medium heat, add two tablespoons of butter and allow to melt, then add the chopped shallots. With a wooden spoon stir the shallots until they are translucent, but have no color, approximately 1 minute.Add the risotto rice and continue to cook and sir until the rice is completely coated with the butter. Tie about 4-5 sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf together into a small bouquet using butchers twine and add it to the rice. Add the reduced Zinfandel and continue to stir until the rice has absorbed as much of the wine as possible. Add 1 cup of chicken stock at a time while continuously stirring the risotto until the risotto is cooked “al dente” and the chicken stock has been absorbed. This should take approx. 18-20 minutes; taste a small spoon for doneness.

When the risotto is cooked, add the remaining butter piece by piece and continue to stir until all the butter has been incorporated. Season the risotto with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. (It is important not to season risotto until the end, the addition of salt at the early cooking stages will inhibit the rice’s ability to absorb the liquids evenly.) Remove thyme and bay leaf from the rice and fold in the wild mushrooms, duck meat, and the garlic chives. Mix well.

Divide the risotto among the desired amount of bowls and sprin-kle with a little parmesan cheese if you so desire. Serve immediately.

Note: Risotto should be loose enough to barely hold its shape when plated, if it sits to long before you serve it, it will continue to absorb liquid making it very thick. If this happens to you, just add a little more stock until you have the proper and desired consistency.


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