Duck Confit Arancini with Cherry Port Dipping Sauce

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  24 arancini
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour 20 minutes

Duck Confit Arancini with Cherry Port Dipping Sauce

Do not fear the confit! This recipe is made in stages and works very well when made in advance. First, make the risotto style mixture, then shape the arancini, coat and refrigerate or freeze. Ten minutes before serving, fry them up and serve, or fry and reheat in the oven. These arancini are so indulgent you’d never know that they meet so many dietary needs.



3½ cups low-sodium chicken or beef stock

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup arborio rice

½ cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 duck leg confit, skin removed and set aside, meat finely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped caramelized onions


½ cup rice flour (we used Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour)

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup gluten-free Italian style or plain breadcrumbs

5 cups olive oil, or olive oil and canola oil mix, for frying (see Kitchen Tips)

Dipping Sauce:

2 cups low-sodium chicken or beef stock

1 cup defrosted pitted dark cherries, halved

1 cup red tawny port wine

2 sprigs fresh thyme

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken stock over medium heat until lightly simmering. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a deep medium skillet, heat the oil or butter until shimmering or bubbling. Add the onions and cook until translucent, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir to coat, then add the wine. Reduce heat to medium-low, then add the thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
  3. Stirring constantly, add the stock ½ cup at a time, waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next ½ cup. (It will take about 20 minutes for all of the stock to be incorporated). The rice should be creamy, and the grains should remain slightly al dente. Remove the pan from heat and mix in the duck confit and caramelized onions. Spread the risotto onto one of the prepared baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  4. Scoop about 1½ tablespoons of the risotto and form into a ball about the size of a ping pong ball. Place on the second prepared baking sheet. Repeat to form about 24 arancini. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Set up a breading station with rice flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in three separate shallow bowls. Roll the rice balls in the rice flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs to coat them evenly.  Place back on the prepared baking sheet and repeat the process until all the rice balls are breaded.
  6. Make the sauce: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the stock, cherries, port wine, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, discard the herbs, and set aside. (The sauce can be processed with an immersion blender if a thicker texture is preferred. Make sure to discard the herbs before processing).
  7. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil registers 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Fry the arancini in batches, 4 to 5 at a time, until they are evenly browned. Using a slotted spoon, turn them halfway through the cooking process to evenly brown. Transfer to a cookie rack set over a rimmed baking sheet or on paper towels to drain briefly. Serve immediately with sauce on the side.

Kitchen Tips

  • The arancini may be frozen in an airtight container before the frying stage. They are best fried straight from the freezer. The sauce may be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.
  • For an over-the-top indulgence, fry the arancini in duck fat. It’s a special treat that’s worth every incredible bite.
  • This recipe is kosher, but it is a bit difficult to find confit. Make it yourself, or try Aaron’s Best, or use Duck griebenschmaltz – a duck fat and onion mixture that will add incredible flavor.

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