I love risotto and chances are if I find it on a menu I will order it. Having said that I have recently had some really bad risotto when dining out. From a thick, cakey consistency to risotto that was NOT risotto- it seems like this is sometimes a catch-all menu item. Have rice you need to use? Mix it with cream and cheese and call it risotto.
This was the reasoning behind a particularly bad dish I ordered recently while traveling. When it was brought out to me I asked the server what is was. She called it cheesy rice. THAT is not risotto. That is cheesy rice. With a menu price of $17.00 I expected the slow simmered, arborio rice like I make at home.
Risotto: is a north Italian rice dish cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be based on meat, fish, or vegetable. Many types of risotto contain butter, wine and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.
If you have been following me for a while then you may have caught “Risotto Week” in 2011, 2012 and 2013. I spend a week each year highlighting some of my favorites along with tips and tricks to make this Italian favorite at home- for less money. On my radio show- Around the Kitchen Sink, I devoted 1 whole episode to tackling listener questions about this dish from stirring techniques to heating your stock for a creamier texture. If I were to name a dish I could make from memory, one that I would serve to guests, it would be risotto.
Need more tips? Click HERE
So there is no better dish to feature this week than my classic risotto with ground duck. Taking a recipe that is a blank canvas, I added in the flavor and healthy protein of duck. Specifically, Maple Leaf Duck. Using ground duck was a last minute thing. I had planned on searing 2 duck breasts, slicing them and serving atop a nest of creamy risotto. The more I thought about it the more I realized that the healthy fat that is rendered from cooking duck, specifically ground duck, would take this risotto to a whole new level as well as replace most of the butter in my standard recipe.
This is a fulfilling main dish recipe and makes a great sidekick to a light salad or roasted veggie. Traditionally, duck is served at a medium level of doneness (because duck is a red meat and overcooking ruins the taste) but with ground duck you can get away with cooking it to a temperature of 165 degrees also known as lightly browned. I want you to be able to try Maple Leaf Farms Duck for yourself. I even want you to call or email me when you have questions about preparing it. Really.
To make this easier for you, and because I believe in the healthy protein that is duck, I am giving away a $25 gift certificate for YOU to buy whatever YOU want from Maple Leaf Farms‘ website. All you have to do is leave a comment below with one duck item you would love to try. Need some ideas? Click HERE for inspiration. I am taking entries, as many as you would like, from NOW-September 27th 2014 at 9 pm est. I will then randomly draw a winner and notify the winner via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond and then I will send the gift certificate. Easy-peasy.
Now for that recipe! To make successful risotto you need a fantastic saute pan. One that conducts heat well and is balanced and not wonky, in my opinion. Use your handy skillet or one like this Browne Halco 2 QT Saute Pan that I have. Need more recommendations for affordable and durable cookware? Just let me know. I have more where that came from!
Don’t forget to enter below! I want YOU to experience Maple Leaf Duck like I have and realize that is is a great meat for family meals and the kind of lean protein that fits into any healthy lifestyle and cuisine!