Aguadito de Pato | Stewed Duck with Potatoes, Peas, and Chiles

4 serving(s)



4 whole duck legs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large Spanish onion, finely diced

4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño chile, finely diced

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon ají amarillo chile paste (available in specialty grocery stores)

2 (12-ounce) cans or bottles lager-style beer

2 quarts + 1 quart chicken stock


Cilantro Purée

2 cups tightly packed chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons vegetable stock

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil



2 cups long-grain white rice

1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)

1/2 pound English peas, shelled and blanched (1/2 cup)

2 Serrano chiles, roasted and peeled and finely diced


To Serve

Pickled Red Pearl Onions (recipe here)

8 slices baguette, toasted

1/4 cup Red Chile Butter (recipe here)




To cook the duck, season the duck legs with the salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the duck legs, and sear them for a couple of minutes on each side. Lift the duck legs out of the pot and set them aside. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic, jalapeños, and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the cumin is fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir in the ají amarillo paste and cook until very fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the beer and 2 quarts of the chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the seared duck legs and cook until very tender, about 1 hour. (At this point you can store the soup for several days.)

To make the cilantro purée, combine the cilantro and the vegetable stock in a blender and purée until very smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream and continue blending until the purée is emulsified.

To finish the stew, add the remaining 1 quart chicken stock to the duck, add the rice and potato, and continue to simmer until all are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro purée, peas, and roasted serranos and cook for 5 additional minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with pickled onions and baguette slices spread with red chile butter.

Michael Klein