Rustic Duck Paella

How to make Rustic Duck Paella.

  • 4 -4 1/2 cups heated, seasoned duck broth
  • 7-9 Spanish saffron threads, toasted and steeped in 1/2 cup of the hot duck broth above
  • 1 1/2-2 pounds succulent cooked roast duck, cut up
  • 3/4 pound fresh chorizo
  • duck skin, optional
  • olive oil for pan
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • red cippolini onions, chopped
  • red heirloom tomatoes, grated, skinned, seeded and salted
  • 2 ounces Cornelian cherry jam
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac (or more lemon zest)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 4-6 ounces cherry fruit ale
  • 1/2 cups bomba or arborio rice
  • red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 15 ounces cranberry beans (borlotti beans), fresh or canned
  • 2 ounces Cornelian cherry jam
  • a generous splash of cherry ale
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • bay leaf
  • kosher salt to taste
  • fresh milled black pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges for squeezing on each portion


  1. Heat the duck broth in a saucepan, bringing to a boil, then a simmer. Take out 1/2 cup of the liquid and add the saffron. After infusing, add this back to the broth. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat until ready to add to the rice.
  2. Heat olive oil in the paella pan. Saute the chorizo and optional sliced duck skin on medium high heat. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Have the remaining roasted duck meat cut into small pieces for later.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add the red pepper, lemon zest, garlic and onion. Cook until limp, but not brown. Transfer the peppers to a plate and peel off their skin when cool.
  4. To make the sofrito add the salted, grated tomato, Cornelian jam mixed with sumac and smoked paprika to the onions and garlic in the pan Stir often. Cook until this turns burgundy. Add the cherry ale and reduce. Cook until this down to a compote consistency, about 20 minutes or more. Don’t rush this. Make sure this is seasoned with enough salt because this is the flavor base.
  5. Set the paella pan over a larger burner on medium high. Add the rice, stirring until it is opaque, 1-2 minutes. Spread the rice out over the pan evenly. Pour in the hot broth. Arrange the duck, chorizo, beans, and red peppers in the pan. Do not stir the rice from this step forward. Vigorously simmer. When the rice reaches the same level as the liquid, about 10 minutes or less, reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to simmer gently rotating the pan if necessary. When the liquid is absorbed test a grain of rice. It should be al dente with a tiny dot in the center. If it is not done, then add a bit more liquid (broth or cherry ale) to the pan and cook a few more minutes. I used all 4 1/2 cups of broth in addition to the ale.
  6. To make the socarrat, increase the heat to medium high and rotate the pan. Cook for 2 minutes until the bottom layer of rice caramelizes. If you smell burning, remove the pan from heat right away. Let the paella rest; remove the pan from the heat (5minutes), and cover.
  7. Simmer the Cornelian cherry jam with sumac, paprika, bay leaf, and reduced cherry ale, in a small sauce pan. Just before serving add this to the center of the paella pan (bay leaf removed) . Set the paella pan in the center of the table. Invite folks to gather to eat, directly from the pan; provide enough lemon wedges for each portion.
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