Eat Shoots & Duck

One of the funniest books I have read discusses (of all things) the use and misuse of punctuation – Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss. The title of this post reminds me of that book. Not that this post has anything to do with punctuation, although I do try my best to use commas, semicolons, dashes and full stops appropriately.

The subject of this post is pea shoots. Pea shoots begin to appear around this time of year – those tender green tips of young pea plants. They are generally eaten raw in salads and have a mild pea flavor. I love their freshness, but often wondered what they would be like cooked.

The Duck comes in the form of stock made from a duck roasted in a clay pot that I made earlier following the instructions posted by Celia @ Fig Jam & Lime Cordial. This (highly recommended) method produces not only a succulent duck, but also two useful byproducts: duck fat and a rich stock that gelatinises when cooled.

Put the two together and you get a wonderful Spring risotto.


Spring Duck & Pea Shoot Risotto
This is based on a classic risotto primavera, but I’ve modified it to suit the Spring vegetables I had to hand and the rich duck stock I had in the freezer.

  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cups chopped oyster mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups risotto rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 to 8 asparagus stalks
  • 3 cups duck broth
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 cups pea shoots
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Chop shallots finely. Slice the oyster mushrooms into strips. I used young, baby oyster mushrooms rather than the tougher larger ones. Meanwhile, put the duck stock into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.


Sauté these in the olive oil in a wide pot on medium heat. When the shallots are softened and translucent, add the rice.


Stir to coat the rice with the oil, then add the wine. Stir and let the rice absorb most of the liquid. Add the asparagus which has been chopped into 1 inch segments. Adding a ladle (approximately 1/2 cup) of stock at a time, continue cooking, stirring occasionally and letting the rice absorb the stock.


When the stock has been completely used, the rice absorbing most of the liquid, test to see if the rice is cooked by biting into a grain. It should be firm, but not hard. Adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper. Throw in the chopped pea shoots and stir. They only need a little time to wilt them. Add the butter and once this melts, add the grated Parmesan cheese. Stir to allow the cheese to melt and then serve.



  1. Love the introduction to your tasty looking risotto recipe ( I don’t eat Duck). The reference ” eats, shoots and leaves” with this punctuation refers to a one night stand. The original meaning here in Australia is “eats shoots and leaves” without the comma, referring to the diet of a wombat. I guess the book goes into that, amongst other things. Sloppy punctuation drives me insane. The takeover, at least in this country, of the misplaced apostrophe is the main culprit. Punctuation errors can be tolerated in those who don’t choose to write for a living, but when I read popular bloggers who choose to write the word “like” or even worse, “wanna” . I feel even nuttier. I have written a rant on this, which remains unpublished. I really enjoy your posts.


    • Its…it’s is a particular pet peeve of mine. Another is the “Oxford comma” – something I had to come to grips with as an American. Do you know of Lynn Truss’ book? (Note the correct use of the apostrophe.) It really is very funny.


    • I am a very bad speller and rely on the auto correct function quite a lot which sometimes introduces very odd errors. I would never be able to make my living as an editor.


  2. Yum love your spontaneity! I often braise duck thighs and legs specifically to make risotto, duck is one of my favourites, especially with porcini mushrooms.


    • I would have put some of the meat in, except we ate it all! Though, almost put in the duck liver which I had saved, but wanted the risotto to be light. I thought it might overpower the veg flavours. I agree, duck is wonderful in risotto.


    • They were wonderful cooked – a subtle pea flavour. They went well with the asparagus (not too many so it didn’t over power) and the oyster mushrooms (another subtle flavour).


    • I have a clay pot, but it is one that was handmade by a Greek potter who specialises in recreating traditional Balkan cooking pots. It’s called a peka by our Croatian friends. All you need is a clay pot that is glazed on the inside, has a domed lid and can go in the oven. Celia puts her Römertopf at a very high heat, but I lowered the temp on mine (350degrees F.) and increased the time a bit. Hope this helps.


        • Hmm… the real answer is that I don’t know, but going on instinct, I would have to say no. Clay pots like the Römertopf moisten what they cook and require little or no liquid added – something the metal pots don’t do. Also, clay retains heat differently than metal, so it stands t reason that it would cook at a different rate and it would be difficult to calculate temp and time.


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