Portuguese Rice and Duck


Something about this traditional Portuguese rice and duck dish reminds me of South Africa’s Spice Route era, where our cuisine got a wonderful dash of colour. Arroz de Pato (duck rice) is the result of the 500-year-long era during which Portugal was under Islamic rule (until 1249), which introduced a culture of rice cultivation to the country. Apart from the duck and rice, which forms the base of this hearty meal, the dish is not complete without a topping of chorizo. The result is a richly satisfying feast to enjoy around a large family table, Mediterranean style. “Bom apetite!”


for the duck

1 whole duck

2 bay leaves

2 star anise

4 thyme sprigs

1 leek

1 carrot

1 onion, peeled and halved

peel of 1 orange


for the rice

45 ml olive oil

1 leek, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

500 ml SPEKKO Basmati Long Grain White Rice

625 ml duck liquid

salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the layering

30 ml olive oil

2 x 225 chorizo sausage, sliced

100 g parmesan cheese, finely grated (optional)


for the duck

Place the duck in a large saucepan. Add the bay leaves, star anise, thyme, leek, carrot, onion and orange peel.

Cover with water and close the saucepan with a lid and bring to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 1 hour.

Take the saucepan off the heat and let the duck cool in the brine. Don’t throw the liquid away.

Strain the liquid through a sieve, then carefully remove the duck and the skin. Shred the meat of the carcass and keep to one side.

for the rice

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the leek, onion and garlic. Fry until soft and translucent. Add the rice and fry for about 1 minute.

Measure 625 ml of the liquid and keep another 250 ml to one side, then add the liquid to the rice and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Take the saucepan off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Open and stir the rice with a fork to loosen it.

for the layering

Heat the oven to 180 °C.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the chorizo and fry for about 2 minutes.

Spoon a layer of rice in a 30 x 20 x 6 cm oven dish. Top with chorizo and then shredded duck. Repeat this process two more times.

Pour over the 250 ml duck liquid you kept to one side.

 You now have a choice if you want to top it with the finely grated parmesan cheese.

If you are not going to top with the cheese, place it in in the oven for 35 minutes. Once it comes out, you can garnish it with fresh mint.

If you like more of a crispy topping, sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top and place it in the oven for 35 minutes. Take it out and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.

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