Northern Living - Duck Breasts with a Barley Risotto.The porcini need to be dried, and here’s why: You grind them, and use the powder to dust the duck breasts with after they’ve been grilled. Just put some of the porcinis into a blender and blitz them for 30 seconds or so. You will get powder, along with larger bits. Separate the two and reserve — the bits go into the risotto, the powder on the breasts.


4 duck breasts
Kosher salt
Olive oil
4 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup barley
1/4 cup pancetta or thick-cut bacon, cut into batons
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh sage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white wine
3 cups chicken, veggie or duck stock
1/2 cup fig or other fruit syrup (or maple syrup)
Parmesan slivers to garnish


(1) Toss the breasts with some olive oil and kosher salt. Let stand at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.
(2) Meanwhile, take about 3/4 of the dried porcini mushrooms and blitz them in a blender. You want between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of mushroom powder. The rest will be larger bits. Separate the powder from the bits and reserve.
(3) Dunk the rest of the dried porcini in warm water to reconstitute.
(4) In a heavy pot, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the, pancetta or bacon and cook until almost as crispy as you would eat it.
(5) When the bacon is at that point, add the garlic. Stir and cook 1 minute.
(6) Add the sage, stir and cook everything until you just see the garlic begin to brown.
(7) Add the white wine and turn up the heat to high.
(8) Add the barley and stir until the wine is almost absorbed.
(9) Add about 1/2 cup of chicken or duck stock and stir it in. When making a risotto-type dish, you want to add liquid slowly, stirring often, in an uncovered pot. This releases more starches from the grain and creates a sauce that seems like it has cream in it, but doesn’t. So keep stirring and adding liquid until the barley is nearly done.
(10) When you can chew the barley but it isn’t quite ready, fire up the grill on high.
(11) Once the grill is hot, lay the breasts skin side up on the grill and cook for 8-10 minutes.
(12) Once the barley is done, turn off the heat and cover.
(13) After 4 minutes, check the doves. You should have a nice browned, crisp skin on the breasts. If so, turn them over. Don't of cook, a little pinkness in the meat is perfect.
(14) To serve, lay down some of the barley risotto and top with the duck. Dust the doves with the porcini powder. If they look dry, drizzle just a teeny bit of olive oil over them.
(15) Finally, drizzle the fig or other fruit syrup over the birds and garnish with Parmesan slivers.