The Perfect Wine Companion: 'The Ratbag' Merlot with Duck & Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto with Duck & Mary’s Dark Horse (Serves 6)


6 cups chicken broth

1 packet dried porcini mushrooms

3 tbls olive oil

2 banana shallots, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

6 large Portobello mushrooms - sliced

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

½ cup 'The Ratbag' Merlot

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese – freshly grated

4 Duck breasts or 500g mixed mushrooms (field, shitake, porcini, anything!) roughly chopped

Mary’s Dark Horse


In a saucepan, pour the chicken broth and warm to simmering.  Add the dried mushrooms and turn off the heat.  Put aside and allow to soften for 1 hour, strain out the mushrooms and keep the liquid in the saucepan.  Reheat to simmering. 

In a large straight-sided pot, pour the olive oil in and put the heat on medium.  Add the shallots and garlic and stir regularly, cooking until translucent.  Add the Portobello sliced mushrooms and cook until soft as well.  You may need more olive oil if the mushrooms soak up all the oil.  Add the rice and stir through until coated thoroughly with the oil and other ingredients. Add wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Continuously stirring, add the stock one ladle at a time, only adding after the previous ladle has been absorbed.  Once all the stock has been absorbed, taste the risotto – should be al dente, then add the parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Veggie Option - In a separate frying pan, heat a combination of butter and olive oil on high heat, add the mixed chopped mushrooms and sauté until soft.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add to the top of the risotto along with a drizzle of Mary’s Dark horse.

Meat Option – Heat a separate frying pan on high until very hot.  Put the seasoned duck breasts skin side down to render the fat and crisp up the skin.  Cook on this side for about 8 - 10 minutes, then turn over and cook for a further 5 - 6 minutes.  Take the duck off the pan and set aside to rest for 5 – 7 minutes before slicing.  Serve over the risotto and drizzle with Mary’s Dark horse to finish.

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