“This is staple food in south-west France, where the cookery revolves around duck. I use tinned lentils, not only because it cuts down on the time involved in cooking this (very simple) dish, but also because they are extremely good.” Cathy Gaynor
Roast duck and Puy lentils
- Half a duck breast per person
- 150 g butter
- 3 large onions thinly sliced
- 2 packets of smoked lardons
- 1 large tin of lentilles préparées or 350g Puy lentils see note
- 1 dessert spoon tomato puree
- l chicken stock cube
- 200 ml red wine
- Salt and pepper
- The duck is best cooked on a barbecue but if you don't have one, score the skins and sear the fatty side of the breasts until golden brown in a dry frying pan. Turn the duck over and seal the other side.
- Transfer to a baking dish and cook for 12 minutes at 200°C/ Fan 180°C/Gas 6.
- To make the lentils melt the butter and very slowly, with the lid on the pan, cook the onions and the bacon. It will take about 30 minutes and by that time the onions will be very soft and translucent.
- Tip in the lentils, add the tomato puree, stock cube, red wine and lots of seasoning.
- Bring to the boil and cook briskly for about 5 minutes until the flavours all come together and the liquid has reduced a little. Season well. You are looking for a rich, earthy taste, so you might need to add a dash of balsamic vinegar or some liquid stock.
- The lentils can be prepared a day ahead or even frozen.
- Slice the duck thinly and arrange on each plate on top of a mound of lentils.
- When in France, buy an 800g tin of lentilles préparées. Failing that, cook 350g Puy lentils with a bay leaf for around 15-30 minutes.
- Liquid stock is sold in all French supermarkets and is an essential for every store cupboard.
Recipe extracted from Living France Magazine
Originally from Le Rouzet: An English Cook in France by Cathy Gayner.