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Featured Recipe: Arroz de Pato

Mediterranean Inspired Cuisine by Chef George Mendes
Arroz de Pato

This September, Greenville, South Carolina will host the highly anticipated Euphoria, a weekend-long event that includes exclusive tasting events, cooking demonstrations and wine seminars, as well as multi-course dinners and live musical performances.

As part of the festivities, chefs from five Greenville restaurants will collaborate with guest chefs from across the country to present superb wine dinners for guests.

George Mendes will be a guest chef at the Saturday Wine Dinner at the Lazy Goat, accompanying The Lazy Goat's Executive Chef, Victoria Moore. The Lazy Goat, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant, prides a menu that accommodates a variety of dining preferences, with meat and cheese plates, small plates to share with the table, and main dishes.  Mendes and Moore will combine their Mediterranean influences with perfectly paired Spanish wines from Gil Family Estates and Beverage Professional Jordi Flos for one of Euphoria's most coveted Saturday dinners.

Mendes is visiting Greenville from New York, NY, where he opened is first restaurant ALDEA, in May 2009.  In its debut year, ALDEA was named one of the ten best restaurants to open nationwide by Alan Richman of GQ magazine, and was ranked third among the ten best new New York restaurants by Bloomberg restaurant critic Ryan Sutton.  Mendes, himself, was ranked by New York Magazine as one of 2009's four best new chefs.  ALDEA is the Portugese word for village, and the restaurant's menu is a culmination of Mendes's Iberian experiences and Portugese heritage.


Arroz de Pato

Chef George Mendes

Serves 8

for rice:
calaspara rice 8 oz  
sofrito (recipe below) 1.5 oz  
duck stock 2.5 cups  
salt to taste  
fresh white pepper to taste  
olive oil   
onion 1/4 cup  
garlic 3 cloves  
tomato, peeled, diced 1  
pimenton 1 tbsp  
saffron, threads pinch  
olive oil 2 tbsp  
duck confit:   
duck legs 2  
onion 1/2 peeled, sliced  
carrot, peeled and sliced 1  
celery, sliced 1 rib  
garlic, cloves, sliced 3  
duck fat 3 cups  
white peppercorn 1 tbsp  
coriander 1 tbsp  
star anise 2 pc.  
thyme 1/4 bunch  
bayleaf 1  
kosher salt and pepper to taste  
duck breasts, skinless 2  
duck fat 1 tbsp     
chorizo, sliced 1/4 cup  
black olives, pitted and sliced  2 tbsp   
apricots, dry 1/2 cup  
white wine 1/4 cup  
sherry vinegar 1 tbsp  
duck skin, crisped in oven   
(use skin from breasts) 2

Method: Make the duck confit:  Set oven to 300 degrees F. Season the duck legs with salt and pepper on both sides and then sear in a tbsp of duck fat until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook until tender.  Next add the the coriander, white peppercorn, star anise and herbs (all tied in cheesecloth--sachet)

Continue cooking for additional 5 minutes.  Add the duck fat, melt, and then transfer all to oven-proof casserole.  Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 6-8 hours, until duck meat falls off the bone.

When cool enough to handle, pull the duck meat of the bone, discard the bones and be careful of loose cartilage.

Make sofrito:  Over medium-low heat, sweat onion and garlic in the olive oil until just slightly golden brown.  Add the saffron threads and cook 2 minutes more.  Then, add the diced tomato and cook over medium heat until all moisture is gone.  Add the pimenton. Set aside.

Make the apricot puree:  In medium saucepan, combine the apricots with the white wine and cook over medium-high heat until wine is reduced by half. Add the sherry vinegar then puree in vita-prep at high speed until smooth.

Pre-cook rice:  Place the 1.5 oz of sofrito in heavy-bottomed rondeau.  Add additional 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Place over medium -low heat.  Add the rice and toast, constantly stirring with rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  Add 12 oz. of the stock and mix well.  Let cook stirring to avoid sticking for about 8-10 minutes.  Remove rice from pan and spread onto parchment paper-lined sheet pan.  (Pre-cooking the rice is a step we take at ALDEA to expedite the service, but rice can also be finished at this point, add the the additional stock as well as garnishes)

Cook duck breasts:  Season duck breasts with salt and pepper. Vacuum pack with the duck fat and cook in water bath at 65 degrees celsius for 20 minutes.

To finish:  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.   In large paella pan, Spread rice along the bottom in even layer.  Add the duck confit, chorizo, olives, and season with salt and pepper.  Mix well and flatten out again. Add the additional 6 oz of stock and place in oven.  Cook for 7 minutes until rice is crisped around the edges and a "soccarat" has formed on the bottom of pan.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes covered with aluminum foil.

To serve: Dish out onto plates and garnish with the sliced duck breast, crisped up skin, and the apricot puree. Or place entire rice at center of table with garnishes on top and let guests serve themselves.



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