Up Your Squash Game With This Recipe for Duck Confit Butternut Squash Risotto

Sent over from the five-star Destination Kohler in Kohler,  Wisconsin, this recipe for Duck Confit Butternut Squash Risotto looks like a great way to refresh your cooking skills. Chef Trent Hazelberg from the resort's Cucina Italian Restaurant came up with this dish, giving step-by-step  directions on everything, from preparing the duck to getting the perfect risotto. If you're a cooking novice, you may want to do a trial run before inviting all of your friends over, just in case.  

Duck Confit Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients and Directions for the Duck Confit:

  • 1 large head garlic
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 6 fresh Moulard, Muscovy, or Long Island (Pekin) duck legs (5 pounds total)
  • 5 (7-ounce) containers rendered duck fat

Rub the duck legs liberally with salt and let sit in your refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Next pull the duck out and rinse off with cold water, removing as much salt as you can. Once thoroughly rinsed, dry them out with a paper towel.  Now place them in a baking pan.

In a separate pot slowly warm up the duck fat. Once it is liquid, pour over the duck legs and add the remaining ingredients: garlic, thyme, shallots, and bay leaves. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours. You will know when they are done when you take a fork and the meat just falls off the bone, like properly cooked ribs. Let the duck rest in fat until they are cool enough to work with; remove all meat and make sure you do not dispose of the fat, because it can be used again if you store it in the freezer.

Ingredients and Directions for the Butternut Squash and the Risotto

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of white dry wine
  • 1 gallon of chicken stock/vegetable stock or water.
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the entire butternut squash, then cut it in half by laying it on its side. You want the cup-like section with the seeds to be separated from the top section with no seeds. Then cut the bottom in half so you have two shell-like pieces. Remove the butternut seeds with a large serving spoon. Add oil, butter, salt and pepper, and place in foil. Place them in the oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes or until soft. While those are roasting, medium dice the top half of the butternut squash. Once diced, place them on a sheet tray with oil, salt and pepper, then put into the 350-degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Once the bottom is roasted/tender, place in to your food processor until puréed.

For the risotto, in a heavy bottom pot start with the butter, olive oil, shallots and garlic. Stir them together over high heat. Once the shallots and garlic are fragrant, add the rice and continue to stir. Once you smell popcorn, add the white wine.

Now you want to pay attention. You are going to start adding in your stock, but it is very important that you keep stirring and don’t let your rice stick to the bottom of the pot. Using one cup of stock at a time, start adding in with the rice until each cup is almost gone, then add another. Keep repeating this until the rice is almost finished. You’ll notice the rice starting to become tender, but a hint of crunch, and this is when you will add the duck, squash purée, and roasted squash and mascarpone. Season with salt and pepper, and taste to ensure all flavors are present.  Once satisfied with the flavor, serve and enjoy!


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