This is a great brasserie dish from the South-West of France by Chef Daniel Galmiche. It can be hearty winter food but is not too heavy for the summer; it would make a terrific outdoor lunch.
Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus making the vinaigrette and 6–8 hours marinating
Cooking time: 3–4 hours
- 4 duck legs, about 175g/6oz each, including fat
- 40g/11⁄2oz sea salt
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed with the flat edge of a knife or your hand
- 4 thyme sprigs, leaves only
- 1kg/2lb 4oz goose or duck fat, melted
- 2 tbsp honey freshly ground black pepper
- 200g/7oz/1 cup Puy lentils picked over and rinsed
- 1 shallot
- 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 bouquet garni made with 1 thyme sprig and 1 parsley sprig, tied together with kitchen string
- 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
- 2–3 tablespoons french vinaigrette (see page 20)
- 1 handful of chervil, leaves only, chopped
To make the duck leg confit, put the duck legs in a small baking tray, skin- side down. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and thyme, cover with cling film, press down and leave to marinate for 2–3 hours in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 130°C/250°F/gas 1. Take the duck out of the tray discarding the marinade, rinse under running cold water and dry on kitchen towel. Put the duck in a large heavy-based casserole or cast iron pan and pour the melted goose fat on top. Cover with a lid or greaseproof paper sealed with foil, place in the preheated oven and bake for 3–4 hours. Remove from the oven, skim off any fat, cover with foil and set aside. Alternatively, you can gently simmer the duck on the stove, covered, for 3–4 hours.
Meanwhile, make the lentils. Put them in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and skim the white foam from the surface. Add the shallot, carrot, bouquet garni and garlic, reduce the heat to low and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until al dente. Strain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid, and discard the shallot, bouquet garni and garlic, but leave the carrots in. Add the vinaigrette, the reserved cooking liquid and the chervil. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. This should give you a lovely salad.
Finally, brush the duck legs with the honey and pan-roast them skin-side down in a non-stick pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. The honey will caramelize very quickly, so be careful not to let it burn.
Divide the lentils onto four plates, arrange the duck legs on top and enjoy! Alternatively, arrange in a large pot to serve from at the table with Vegetable & Chickpea Couscous. The texture and delicate flavours of this dish are second to none.
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