Duck Confit with Walnuts Sauce & Pomegranate Glaze Cabernet-Leek Risotto

Serves 6

This is a wonderful fall and winter appetizer.

Pomegranates have a wonderful balance of sweetness and acidity. You can purchase pomegranate molasses in many markets, but I prefer to make my own. The bitterness of the walnuts, the richness of the cream and risotto help keep the tannins in balance. The walnut sauce in great for grilled chicken.

  • 3 each duck confit legs
  • 1/2 pound Trumpet Royale Mushrooms
  • 3 cups Cabernet-Leek Risotto
  • 1/4 cup Pomegranate Glaze
  • 3 Tablespoons Walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Walnut Sauce


Duck confit is a wonderful addition to many dishes: pastas, casseroles, soups and even salads. It is made by first salting and seasoning them overnight, then removing the excess salt and slowly cooking the legs in their own fat (4 hours or more). What you end up with is a tender, flavorful and rich duck leg. We make this at Park Avenue Catering Company, but I recommend you purchase it at your local gourmet market.

Remove the skin from the duck legs and scrape off any excess fat. Place them on a baking pan in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Any extra fat will end of melting off the duck leg. Pour off the excess fat from the pan. Cut large trumpet royale (or any other mushroom of your choice) in half, toss with a bit of salt and a small touch of the duck fat. Add the mushrooms to the pan with the duck legs and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Warm the risotto in the molds at the same time.

To serve, drizzle some room temperature pomegranate glaze on large dinner plate. Un-mold the risotto onto the plate (see photo). Pull the duck meat off the bones (it will come off in nice, neat sections) and place on top of the risotto. Sprinkle with toasted, chopped walnuts. Garnish with trumpet royale mushrooms and serve with a small bowl of warm walnut sauce.

Cabernet-Leek Risotto

Makes 3 cups

  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Tablespoons Olive oil, extra virgin
  • 2 Tablespoons Leeks, rinsed and finely diced (white and light green only)
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup Cabernet sauvignon
  • 3/4 cup Chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • To taste salt and pepper


In a medium sauce pan, place butter, olive oil and leeks and set over a medium flame. Add a touch of salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for 3-5 minutes until the leeks are soft and cooked. Add the rice, stir to coat, and then add the Cabernet. Simmer until the cabernet has been absorbed into the rice and the pan is almost dry. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and allow to simmer. Stir with a wooden spoon. In about 5 minutes, the chicken broth will also have been almost fully absorbed. Add 1/4 cup of broth and 1/4 cup of water and repeat the above process. Once this has been absorbed, add the rest of the water and stir gently until the rice is cooked. Risotto should have just a little bite to it when done, and should be a bit “soupy” as well. Cook the risotto until it is done to your liking, adding a little extra water if needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Pomegranate Glaze

3 cups Pomegranate Juice (you can buy this at the market)


Place in a heavy duty, small sauce pan and place over a medium flame. Allow to reduce slowly until the juice starts to thicken. You will end up with about a 1/2 cup. Pour into a small bowl. This will last refrigerated indefinitely and can be used as an ingredient in many dishes. It adds some sweetness that is beautifully balanced with acid.

Walnut Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons butter, unsalted
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon flour, all-purpose
  • 2 Tablespoons Chardonnay
  • 3 Tablespoons Chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 each bay leaf
  • 5 Tablespoons Walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • To taste salt and pepper


Place butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the onions and cover. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the onions are soft and cooked through. Add the flour, stir it in so the mixture is smooth and reduce the heat to medium –low. Cook for 5-7 minutes more, stirring every so often to make sure the flour mixture does not get too dark. A little brown is OK.

Remove the pan form the heat and add the chardonnay. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mix is smooth and return to the heat. Bring to a simmer, then add the chicken broth. Stir until smooth, then add the water. Once it comes to a simmer, add the bay leaf, walnuts and the cream. Simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Puree the mixture in a blender, then strain it through a fine strainer. Do not push the gritty ground walnuts through, rather tap the sides of the strainer and let as much of the liquid strain into a bowl as possible.

Return this mixture to the sauce pan and re-warm. Taste and add salt and pepper until you like the flavor.

Leave a Reply