Duck Risotto

by Veronica on July 7, 2011

We had a duck damage herself yesterday morning and somehow, she ended up with broken ribs and internal bleeding. I originally thought that it was a broken leg, but it doesn’t matter either way, when you’ve got a hurt duck, you need to put them down.

Sooner than I liked and in weather colder than I appreciated, I was catching and holding onto the poor thing, while Nathan did the deed. Five minutes later, she had splashed blood all over me, and I was ready to start cleaning her.

It’s been a while since we had to kill anything and I was shaky and cold as I dressed her out. It wasn’t until I had my hands inside her that I discovered the large blood clots and broken ribs.

I don’t like killing, but the pay off is so very worth it and we got to eat duck for two nights running.

Yesterday, I poached her, in a light veg stock, with some extra salt, onions, carrot, celery and garlic, saving the poaching stock for tonight.

I reduced down the stock until it was suitably flavoursome and then made a basic duck risotto, using the left over meat and veg from the stock, plus the stock itself. Nothing fancy, just delicious.

No photos because it wasn’t until some people asked for the recipe on twitter than I decided to blog it.

Ingredients:

Duck stock, brought to a boil and reduced slightly.
Boiling water, in case the flavours get too intense
1/4 of cream
1 c of chopped cooked duck pieces.
the veg from the bottom of the stock from yesterday (I had garlic, onion, celery and carrot, all suitably duck flavoured)
a little less than 1 cup of arborio rice.
1 TB each oil and butter

Method:

Melt the oil and butter together and then add the rice. Cook until the rice is translucent and then add a ladleful of hot duck stock.

Stir until the stock is absorbed, and then add another ladleful. Stir.

Repeat until the rice is just about al dente, before adding in the cooked vegetables and duck meat. Somewhere in there, taste it and make sure the flavours aren’t too strong. If they are, use boiling water instead of stock for the final few ladles full.

Finish with the cream and serve with chopped parsley and Parmesan on top.

***

It also would have been nice with chopped mushrooms added, or with peas, or with other veg. I was working with what I had in my pantry and fridge, which was not very much.

Normally, if I hadn’t made the stock with veg in, I would saute off onion and garlic in the butter/oil mix, before adding the rice. You could also saute off the veg of your choice before starting the rice, adding it back in at the last moment.

The trick to good risotto is to stir, gently and constantly and to keep it simple. Finish with cream to loosen the grains of rice and season to taste.

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Where did my summer go?

by Veronica on March 26, 2011

I was looking through the archives here this morning, because after this years terrible tomato harvest, I needed to remind myself that yes, I can actually grow tomatoes and that yes, in previous years, the garden has done very well.

Which unfortunately wasn’t the case this year. An early freak frost killed my entire garden, some bastard stole 17 of my ducklings and it got cold, rather fast. I was left wondering what happened to summer and all my grandiose plans of preserving lots of tomatoes and drying peas and beans and having lots of produce to spare.

The best laid plans and all that jazz.

My autumn crop is in now, turnips and kohl rabi, carrots and beetroot and lots of kale and greenery. Hopefully this lot will do well. We’ve covered the garden in chicken wire to prevent the chooks scratching up the seedlings, but from the mess of hay that is scratched around in there, I suspect the only thing that will actually keep the chooks out is a quick axe blow to their neck and a long slow cook. That is the plan of course, but first one has to catch the bastard things, which is not as easy as you would assume and is definitely more energy than I can be bothered expending. I might just ask my brother to do it all for me. Again. If I promise to feed him, I’m sure he’ll process the roosters for me when I’m feeling too lazy to do it myself.

Of course, things always work out better inside my head.

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Updates:

by Veronica on October 4, 2010

My duck hatched 13 babies out of 15 eggs. They’re 3 weeks old now and super cute.

My chook had chickens, they’re 6 weeks old now. From what I can see, we’ve got 2 roosters and 3 hens. Or maybe the other way around. It’s really hard to tell. I’ve got another hen broody and she’s on 11 eggs, so I’m hopeful we’ll get 6 chickens out of her.

We had to kill the rooster, as he started to attack Amy. He was rather stringy and tough, so a slow poach probably would have been a better idea than a slow roast. We’ll know for next time though. I turned his leftovers into an amazing chicken casserole and it was great.

I do however want to invest in a hand mincer, so that I can mince the older birds, who for whatever reason, aren’t working out.

I’ve got 2 ducks sitting on eggs at the moment, with ducklings due in a fortnight and just under 5 weeks respectively (the latter duck has only been sitting for a few days). 16 eggs and 22 eggs under them. I found another (!) nest in the shed too, at last count there were 12 eggs in there and no duck sitting yet.

I was annoyed to lose a duck to the highway, some idiot driving too fast hit her. Even worse, she was sitting on 25 eggs. I checked them over and as they hadn’t started to develop – she hadn’t been on them long – I’ve given some to my father for eating, and popped some into another nest. Hopefully it will be okay. Disappointing to lose a laying adult though.

It’s going to be interesting in a few weeks when everything hatches. Somehow it looks like we might have just fallen into duck farming, if the interest in what we’re doing with them when they’re grown is anything to go by. I think I can deal with that, I like my duckies.

So that’s me. How are you?

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Ducks and chooks and eggs galore

by Veronica on August 11, 2010

One of my ducks has (fingers crossed) started to sit on her clutch of eggs. While she ate breakfast this morning, I got a chance to count the eggs and it looks like there are 16. Of course, there were only 15 yesterday, so either she is still laying, or one of the other ducks has been using the same nesting box. I hope it’s the former, not the latter.

I also did my standard wander around and check all the other nests.

At last count there were:

1 egg in a nest in the stable.

6 eggs in the blackberries

5 eggs in the shed (our shed, not the ducks shed)

2 eggs in 2 nesting boxes

Plus the 16 the oldest duck is sitting on.

That is twenty seven duck eggs, waiting to be sat on.

I also suspect another duck is laying in the paddock next door, and I haven’t found that nest yet.

Every morning is a bit like a duck egg treasure hunt, as for a while, I had ducks laying everywhere and nowhere twice. Under my hedge, on the side of the road, under the pine tree (on the side of the road).

Everywhere.

I’ve also got a broody chook who is on 9 eggs, care of Mum and freecycle.

My biggest issue however, is that I am certain my light grey bantum hen is laying, but do you think I can find a nest? One of the chooks lays in a nesting box every day and yesterday I found one sole egg in the stable in the opposite corner to the ducks eggs, but nothing today.

Let’s just say, hunting for eggs isn’t much fun once you grow up and those eggs are no longer chocolate.

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Lazy food.

by Veronica on August 9, 2010

We’ve been eating a lot of lazy food lately. Whether that’s because I keep forgetting to get meat out of the freezer, or because of a distinct lack of energy on my part, I’m not sure.

See, the end of winter gets to me, badly. It’s cold still, nothing is growing properly, my garden looks desolate due to not planting a proper winter crop and meals? really? I’ve got to cook them for the family? dammit.

Lazy meals are, for me, things I can throw together in half an hour or less, with no preparation.

Tomato pasta.

Tuna Mornay.

Rice and vegetables.

Cheesy pasta.

All the things I never bother to photograph because really, who wants to see it?

And the meals are a little bit comfort food-y too, boiled potatoes with cheese and garlic butter, plain risotto (although the last risotto I made went cold, because Isaac broke his arm while I was stirring it. Sigh) and pasta with butter and cheese.

Not the healthiest meals exactly, but I console myself with making everything from scratch, so at least it seems healthier.

I’m craving freshly picked greens and stirfry with chicken and garden veg. Craving fresh tomato salsa, made with my own tomatoes. Dreaming of peas and beans and chinese cabbage and butter.

Yep. I think winter is getting to me.

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