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Roasted Vegetable & Duck Confit Risotto

Chef Chris Hollis | Rothmann's Steakhouse & Grill, New York

Yield: Serves 4

Rothmann's was founded on Long Island's "Gold Coast" back in 1907, but a new chapter began when the much-loved eatery opened a branch in midtown Manhattan in September 2000. At the helm is Chef Chris Hollis, a Florida native who was first bitten by the restaurant bug when he got a job washing dishes in eighth grade. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he was chef at two popular New York bistros, Les Halles and Le Marais, before opening Rothmann's Manhattan. Alongside Chris's innovative menu offerings, Rothmann's also offers an outstanding wine list and was honored with a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2001.

Chef Hollis has paired the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with a roasted vegetable risotto enriched with duck confit. In the restaurant, he tops the risotto with a seared duck breast, napped with an elegantly simple sauce of reduced duck stock spiked with juniper berries.

"This is a big, fruity steak house wine," Chris says. But a juicy steak isn't the only pairing option. "The fruit in the wine plays off the sweetness of the beet and sweet potato in the risotto," he says, "and its richness is balanced by the wine's tannins. This dish and this wine go together very, very well."

Roasted Vegetable & Duck Confit Risotto

Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Peel the beet, celery root, onion, and sweet potato and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Combine the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of the oil and the sugar, herbs, salt and pepper. Spread on cookie sheets and roast until beets are tender, about 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the chopped onion until tender. Add the rice and the roasted vegetables and stir to coat with the oil. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, stirring continuously. As the rice absorbs the stock, continue to add more, stirring, until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender to the bite.

Cut up the duck confit. Add it, the truffle oil, and the cheese to the risotto, stirring over the heat for another minute. Serve immediately.

Note: Duck confit is available at many gourmet markets. Roast duck leg meat can be substituted. Or make your own confit, using Chef Hollis's recipe below:

Confit of Duck

Remove the skin and any visible fat from the duck pieces. Chop up the skin and fat and place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with 2 cups of water. If you can obtain additional duck fat from your butcher, add it to the pan. Cook over low heat until all the fat has liquefied, the water has cooked away, and the skin is brown and crisp. Pour the liquefied fat through a sieve and reserve.

Meanwhile, place the quartered duck or legs on a large sheet pan. Sprinkle with the salt, garlic, and rosemary. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, place the duck in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover with the rendered duck fat. Simmer over very low heat for 2 to 3 hours, until the legs are easily pierced with a fork.

Let the duck cool in the fat. The confit can be stored in the refrigerator for a month or more, as long as the meat remains covered by the fat.