Recipe: Wild Duck With Rice

We love this dish because it uses an entire duck and highlights the distinct flavors of breast and quarter meat. The rice preparation here is a meal unto itself, using the deep and rich flavors of duck thighs and legs for a hearty base. The breast recipe was new to us and resulted in a beautifully prepared, medium rare breast that was unmistakably duck without gaminess, all from a bird that was killed on the same day we cooked it. Give it a try and we think you’ll be impressed with how easy the preparation is relative to the end result. 

Wild Duck With Rice


- 1 whole wild duck, plucked
- 1 onion cut in brunoise  
- 1 red pepper diced small (brunoise) 
- 5 garlic cloves chopped finely
- 2 cups of short grain rice  
- 5 cups of duck or chicken broth
- 1 can of beer (personal choice)  
- Olive oil  
- Salt  
- Pepper
- Thyme 
- Butter  


Note: the most important step in this recipe is browning the duck’s breasts, while still attached to the carcass, and then letting them rest, cool, and release their juices before removing and completing cooking. This simple technique removes the gaminess of the bird without eliminating or masking its flavor. 

  1. In a saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until golden. Add the garlic and the peppers. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook over low heat stirring every 2 minutes. Cook until caramelized and then reserve. 
  2. Separate the thighs and legs from the duck, leaving the breast whole with the skin on.
  3. In a saucepan, bring the broth to a boil with the duck thighs and legs. 
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the duck until the meat can be separated from the bone easily but before the duck is falling apart, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. 
  5. Remove the duck from the broth. Carefully remove the bones from the thighs and legs, and reserve only the meat.  
  6. Score the fat of the duck breast being careful not to score the meat.
  7. Season the duck breast with salt and pepper on both sides and let it rest for at least 30 minutes or until room temperature (if longer than 30 minutes). 
  8. Sear the duck breast with olive oil in a heavy cast iron skillet over low heat making sure not to burn the skin, rotating and pressing down on all sides until evenly browned all over. 
  9. Once golden brown, remove from the heat and let it rest on a wire cooling rack for at least 30 minutes or until it has released its juices.
  10. Place 1/4 cup of olive oil into a 15 inch iron skillet or paella pan, over medium heat.  
  11. Add the cooked vegetables, followed by the rice. 
  12. Deglaze with the beer and stir ingredients together, adding the reserved leg and thigh meat.
  13. Season with a teaspoon of salt, add the hot broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. 
  14. Cook for 20 minutes, taste, and adjust salt if necessary.  
  15. While the rice is cooking, remove the browned duck breasts from the carcass and finish cooking breasts in garlic, thyme, and butter. 
  16. Once the broth has evaporated and the rice is cooked completely, arrange the duck slices over the rice, and let rest for 5 minutes. 
  17. Serve directly from the pan. Serves 4 to 6 people

About the Chef
Stefano Mastracchio splits time between José Ignacio, Uruguay and Montauk, New York, where he explores Latin American and Asian cuisine with knowledge and experience built from a career of working in great restaurants around the world. Stefano has worked with renowned chefs such as Francis Mallmann, Frank Castronovo, and Frank Falcinelli doing catering, events, cooking lessons, and coordinating filming productions, with a particular interest in woodfire techniques. For the last six years, Stefano has been working and leading different operations with Fernando Trocca, including in Jose Ignacio, Buenos Aires, Manhattan, Montauk, and London.