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Duck & Apple Risotto With Bacon, Sage, & Forest Mushrooms


Apples that retain a touch of firmness are best here, such as Baldwin, Calville Blanc, Glockenapfel, Northern Spy and Rhode Island Greening. If it’s a thick-skinned variety, you might peel it. You can do this recipe without the mushrooms, the duck or the bacon, and it’s still very good.

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  • 1/4 pound sliced bacon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large (1-pound) duck breasts
  • 4 cups fresh wild mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup dry cider
  • 6 cups good chicken stock
  • 2 large apples, cored and diced
  • 15 fresh sage leaves, minced, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
  • Cider syrup, for garnish (optional)


Adapted from


Step 1

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Liberally season duck breasts with salt and pepper, rubbing seasoning into the skin and flesh with your fingers. Add duck to skillet, skin-side down, and cook until skin is crisp, about 5 minutes. (The duck breasts should render all the fat you need to cook the rest of this recipe.) Flip duck breasts and cook 2 minutes more. Move duck to a baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Leave duck fat in skillet.

Add mushrooms and onions to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until rice is glossy, about 2 minutes. Add cider and cook, stirring, until most of liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Pour ½ cup chicken stock into rice and cook, stirring, until liquid has almost entirely evaporated. Repeat with another ½ cup stock. Add apples and minced sage. Add another cup stock and cook, stirring, until liquid has almost evaporated. Repeat this step, stirring continuously, until rice is tender but not soft, about 30 minutes. Off heat, taste and adjust seasoning.

Remove duck from oven and cut breasts against the grain into ½-inch-thick slices. Serve risotto in a wide, shallow bowl with a fan of duck slices on the side and bacon crumbled over top. Garnish with a sage sprig and drizzle with cider syrup, if using.

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