Jacinta was a cook in our house for many years. From savoury to desserts, she turned every meal into a special event. I learned a lot just by watching her cooking and one of our favourite dishes was Duck Rice. Duck Rice is a traditional recipe from the North of Portugal and is normally served on special occasions, mainly in Christmas and New Year. The duck is cooked in a broth, then the flesh is removed and shredded. The duck stock is used to make the rice, which comes out very tasty from the duck flavour and fat that has a rich taste. It’s then layered, normally in a glazed terracotta deep baking tray, garnished with Chourizo slices on top and finished in the oven. It’s brilliant to serve a big party and it’s also easy because you can make it up to 2 days ahead and just finish it off when your guests are about to arrive. The duck flavour is wonderful and the melted chourizo on top and the top crispy rice layer are delicious. —Maria Teresa Jorge
Peel the garlic and the onion and leave whole. Insert the cloves in the onion by pressing them in.
Wash the leek very well to remove any earth attached.
Peel the carrot. Trim and wash the celery stalk. Wash the parsley and the fresh thyme leaving the stalks.
Wash the whole duck and cut in 8 pieces.
In a big pot over high heat, add the duck, onion with cloves, leek, celery stalk, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, peppercorns and cover with water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered with lid, for 1 hour. Remove the lid and allow to cook for a further 45 minutes until duck is very tender and almost falling of the bones.
Remove the duck from the broth and let it cool. Remove the flesh, shred it in big pieces. Discard the skin and all the bones – be very thorough because the duck has some very small bones.
Sieve the duck broth and reserve – you will need 5 cups. The broth will be very rich and have a lot of fat from the duck which will give the rice its special flavour.
In a big pan with a tight fitting lid, over medium heat, add the olive oil and fry the rice until it’s well coated in olive oil and almost sticking to the pan.
Add the duck broth, stir and scrape any rice attached to the pan. Check the salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 17 minutes. During this time DO NOT uncover or stir the rice.
Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes without uncovering the pan or stirring the rice.
Fluff up the rice so you don’t have any lumps.
Pre-heat the oven to 375’ºF with rack in the middle position.
In a deep oven proof serving dish, spread half the fluffed up rice. Spread with the shredded duck on top. Cover with the remaining rice.
Slice the chourizo and add slices on top of thef rice.
Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until the top layer of the rice is lightly golden and the chourizo is crispy.