Easy Duck Confit with Lentil Salad Recipe


Inspiration abounds at the farmer's market, where I inhale just about every petal, root, leaf and fruit it has to offer. 



Going from stall to stall, shaking hands with the farmers and talking with them about their growing practices, production and philosophy, I feel one step closer to knowing where my food comes from, which brings me yet another degree closer to becoming an informed consumer. 


In my recent visit to the Union Square Greenmarket, I returned home with a fresh whole duck from Quattro Farms,  in addition to a wide array of eggs from pheasant, chicken, and wild turkey.  If you've never tasted an egg from a wild turkey, it tastes somewhere between a chicken and a duck egg, rich and yolky, with a much thicker consistency than chicken eggs.


As for the duck, it will be used across three meals: the duck quarters will be made into duck confit, where the rendered fat will be used to flavor the bed of lentils with which the duck confit will be served. Extra duck fat will be reserved to fry potatoes, which is heavenly. The duck breasts will be seared and served medium rare with a red wine mushroom sauce for another meal. The remaining bones will be frozen to make a rich duck stock to create duck noodle soup and flavor dishes of infinite possibilities at a future date. Because nothing is wasted, the duck is given the utmost respect by allowing its life has be extracted to its fullest potential. 


With every farmer that I meet, I ask to see if it is possible to visit their farm. While it can sometimes be quite a trek from Manhattan's urban jungle, I've learned so much from each of these farms that there really is not a price that I can put on the experience, knowledge and respect fostered. 

Out of curiosity, do try to develop a relationship with your farmers? And if so, have you visited their farms?

Easy Duck Confit Recipe
(from Simply Recipes)
Duck confit is a very simple recipe that yields tender succulent meat underneath a golden crust that strongly resembles bacon. It is no wonder that people go crazy for it, and that restaurants serve it with such reverence. You will need 15 minutes of preparation time, and roughly 2-3 hours of inactive roasting. Steps 1-6 can be made ahead of time, saved up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, and recrisped when you're ready to eat it.

Ingredients
  • Duck legs (at least one per person)
  • Salt
Method
  1. Pat the duck legs dry with paper towels. With the tip of a very pointy knife or kitchen needle, prick the skin of the duck all over, focus particularly on the fattiest part of the skin. take care to avoid piercing the meat itself by pricking the skin at an angle over the drumstick and the center of the thigh. This process enables the fat that lies under the skin a place to render and seep out of the piercings and produce a crispy skin.
  2. Salt your duck legs well. Let them rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour, this will allow the duck to cook more evenly. 
  3. Place the duck legs in a small casserole, skin side up. How small? You want it just big enough to hold the legs snuggly. Elise from Simply Recipes suggests to put a a thin sheen of oil or melted duck fat on the bottom of the casserole, but I've not found there to be a difference. Place the duck legs in close together but not overlapping.
  4. Place the casserole in the oven and turn it to 300 degrees. Do not preheat the oven as you'll want to bring the temperature up and cook the duck as gently as possible.
  5. Walk away and watch baseball, go shopping, read a book or something. How long? Every duck has different levels of fat, so the time is not exact, but at least 90 minutes, and two hours may be better. After 90 minutes, check the duck: It should be partly submerged in melted fat and the skin should be getting crispy.
  6. When the skin is starting to look crispy, turn up the heat to 375 degrees. Check after 15 minutes. You’re looking for a light golden brown. If you missed some spots with the needle and there are places where the skin won’t crisp that’s OK – better that than burnt skin elsewhere.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before eating. Save the accumulated fat for cooking vegetables, such as fried potatoes. Strained fat will keep for 6 months tightly covered in the fridge. Well wrapped, the duck meat itself will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Lentil Salad
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry French lentils
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons duck fat or olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 1 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup carrots, quartered lengthwise, and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup cabbage, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine or balsamic vinegar
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
Method
  1. Sort and rinse the lentils. Cover with water by 3 inches, add salt and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until tender all the way through (adding more water if necessary), about 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat the duck fat or olive oil on medium high, and stir in the garlic and shallot, saute for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft. Incorporate carrots and cabbage, continue sauteing for another 5-8 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Add the lentils, and continue sauteing for two minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the chopped parsley and sherry or balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper, to taste. 
Serve duck confit over a generous helping of lentils.

56 comments:

Simply Life said...

wow, what an elegant dish!

alison said...

a delicious dish and very elegant ,indeed!

girlichef said...

Gorgeous, Christine...I know I'm just a big baby, but that post brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful things make me get all misty-eyed. REAL food at its best, indeed =) Thank you so much for submitting this to T4T this week!

I do try to form relationships with my farmers...I've visited a couple local ones, but need to get out there and do it more often. Thank you for reminding us how important that relationship is!

Pierce said...

I am absolutely crazy about duck and this looks so very delicious! That is so interesting about the eggs and I loved the side-by-side comparison.

Chow and Chatter said...

wow i love this I just did my post for girlichef as well your a fab cook Christine

Asha @ FSK said...

Fabulous recipe, Christine!!! I did not know making duck confit was so easy!!! Oh and it must have been soo good to make with fresh duck too! Union Square, here I come!! :)

P.S: I LOVEEE potatoes sauteed in duck fat, too!! it's just heavenly!

sweetlife said...

great recipe,I love confit and the lentils, look spectacular, love that you have relationships with your farmers,

sweetlife

Joanne said...

You know I've never really tried to get to know the farmers at the Greenmarket but I really should! I bet it would be quite eye-opening. do you have any favorites?

I love that you used the entirety of the duck. In so many different ways. This meal looks delicious and is definitely made better by the fact that you got to meet the person who grew the duck!

Chef E said...

Great post, and great egg comparison! Hubby brought a turkey egg home, notice I said 'a', and it was hard to decide what to do with it. I have to make him duck confit again...

Bridgett said...

Elegant and delicious. What a perfect combo for a dinner.

Foodessa said...

I can truly appreciate the fact that not only do you wish to educate yourself about what you ultimately ingest...you inspire others to at least take baby steps to do the same.
I also enjoyed your thought process behind your meal preparations.
Yes, I do try to visit as many farms as possible when time permits of course. I turn it into a fun weekend outing.
BTW...I never made anything with duck yet ;o)
Thanks for the inspiration.
Flavourful wishes, Claudia

bellini valli said...

I haven't visited their farms, but I do have a relationship with them every Saturday morning.

Belinda @zomppa said...

Love duck. I love how you tested the eggs and how gorgeous those bright yolks are!

Cathy said...

What a terrific post, Christine. I always wondered how duck confit was made, especially when I read through the recipe for cassoulet that I've had forever. I would love to make both recipes.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Ah, duck and lentils! Two wonderful, rich and earthy flavors. As a CSA member, I can say that getting to know your farmer is part of the fun, and makes for a wonderful experience, both in the field and in the kitchen!

Pam said...

OMG!...your lentil salad looks SO delish!..mmm! Enjoy!

the clark clan said...

Oh absolutely lovely! Heather let me know about your post! I thank you in advance for joining the Two for Tuesday Recipe Blog Hop! I am a new yorker but live on the island, so I know the green market well! You brought back such memories for me of wednesdays and fridays at union square! Look forward to following you and reading your rss feed! thanks again! Alex@amoderatelife

Erica said...

That sounds and looks really scrumptious...The photos are stunning.

Stella said...

Hey Christine,
I remember duck confit from my French restaurant days. I used to love it. I bet yours was so good with that well raised duck!
I don't know the local farmer's around here, as there are only a handful of farms & they are so busy during season-no time to socialize (smile)...

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Just beautiful!

El said...

Gorgeous photos and beautiful recipe. I'm lucky because we happen to be surrounded by farms. One farm we shop at all year so they know us enough to say hello and ask how our tomatoes are doing. The other is more of a polite hello. And the third is a very old man who has been growing asparagus for over 50 years and can hardly hear us. Tonight we had fresh picked lettuce, beets and snap peas...flavor...finally!!!

Diana Bauman said...

Oh Christine! I've been wanting to make a duck confit since my visit to San Francisco last year. I'll be using this recipe for sure! By the way, feel free to submit this to My legume love affair that I am hosting this month as well. The addition of the lentils is ingenious!

Kitchen M said...

I've never even thought about asking farmers for a visit to their farms. That's actually a great way to learn about farmers and where your food come from. How do they usually respond? What do you do when you visit their farms?

BTW, Your duck looks delicious! :)

Jessica said...

All of your photos look amazing! This sounds perfect and a recipe even I can follow!

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous duck and a beautiful dish.

I have made a few trips to local farms but want to do more of it--it really does make you appreciate your food even more.

Trissa said...

Heehee - I like your instructions Christine - making duck confit is a great excuse to watch the world cup as well! Thanks for the recipe - I had a recipe for duck confit that took several days AND cost quite a fortune as duck fat is so expensive in Australia. Am glad that I now have this alternative.

lululu said...

I've always been tempted to make duck confit. Sometimes it looks super easy to me, like your recipe; sometimes I wonder how to get the crispy skin and cook the duck perfectly. Still a little bit puzzles by all the research that I've done so far.
So, I think I gotta try your recipe. So straight forward.

kat said...

Lentil salad is my favorite way to eat duck confit. That is such an interesting recipe for it, it uses so much less fat than the one I use that require the legs to be covered.
We are starting to meet some of our farmers market farmers & meat folks. I've only been to one farm but this summer we are doing a couple Tour de Farms where you eat dinner on the farm

Tasty Eats At Home said...

I think I'm in love. Is it a sin to drool over duck when it's not even 9am? Wow. I need to do this ASAP.

lostpastremembered said...

So glad you remind everyone to honor their farmers! They bring us so much that is wonderful. We share Union Sq., Christine... so the wonderful folks at Hawthorne Valley, Milk Thistle and Grazin Angus are on your radar. They all make the best stuff on the planet. I have visited Hawthorne Valley up in Ghent and can tell you I saw the happiest calves ever there... sneaking out of the fence and raiding the raspberry bushes like healthy naughty children. No wonder their products taste so good. The place is gorgeous too!
Also passed by Quattros... your duck is wonderful... can't wait to try a turkey egg now... never thought to do that. Great post.. Here's to the farmers!

Kim said...

This is a beautiful plate of food, Christine! Sounds like you have some rather tasty menus planned around this one duck, which is terrific.
You have raised a good point about getting to know the farmers. I never thought about visiting the farms, but will be sure to ask the next time I visit the local market.

Great post!

Sara said...

You had me at duck fat. :)

Mowie @ Mowielicious said...

Wow, that lentil salad looks great! And I *heart* that photo of the eggs in the bowls - nice!

Kat said...

I just bought some duck legs from the Tompkins Square greenmarket yesterday! I can't wait to cook them... I'm thinking roasted duck legs with duck fat mashed potatoes. Yum!

I am a bit timid when it comes to getting to know my farmers, but I have been able to get to know Amy Hepworth (whose farm provides the produce for my CSA). But even that was facilitated by the folks who run the CSA. I always try to make a note of which farm I am buying from so I can do my research when I get home, though. The next step will be to actually introduce myself! What can I say, I'm just a bit shy :)

tasteofbeirut said...

This is amazing Christine! My English cousin is visiting in a few days and has told me that his son had some questions about duck confit and its preparation! I will refer him to your post and hopefully we will make it and enjoy it like you, with a lentil salad; sounds out of this world!

OysterCulture said...

Woah, what an incredibly impressive dish and a fantastic post. No wonder Food News Journal had it as best of the blogs today! Congrats on the well deserved recognition.

Cinnamon-Girl said...

How neat to see all the different eggs lined up in a row - it reminds me of Julia Child - I can imagine her doing the same thing. I am definitely not as outgoing as you when it comes to talking to my farmers and have never visited any of their farms. I admire you for that! And for you're beautiful dish. Potatoes fried in duck fat sound divine!

5 Star Foodie said...

I love the pictures of different eggs side by side, so neat! I will show my daughter tomorrow morning! The duck confit sounds just lovely and perfect accompanied by the lentil salad!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments and sharing my enthusiasm for the farmers' market!

Joanne - I do have a couple favorites at the Union Square market: Flying Pigs, Keith's Organic Farms, Hawthorne Organic Farms, and Grazin' Angus among others.

Kitchen M - Since most of these guys at the market are involved in the growing process from seed to harvest, they take tremendous pride in their products, and often welcome you to visit. Some have days designated for visitors, others ask that you call ahead time of to make an appointment. Unfortunately, the weekends are sometimes tough because they need as many hands as possible to sell at the market and maintain the farm.

In the bay area, you can try visiting Frog Hollow, Eat Well, Ella Bella, and if you go a little in Mendocino, there's a great organic apple farm simply called The Apple Farm.

Juliana said...

I never cooked duck..yours look so nice and elegant...love the way you presented :-)

Angie's Recipes said...

The duck looks so fresh! I hardly cook any duck, maybe once with duck breast, but nothing compares with this lightly pinky fresh looking duck leg.

theUngourmet said...

Your photos are always outstanding! I've never had duck at home. The first shot of your dish looks just delicious. Farmer's markets are one of the best things about summer!

Cocina Savant said...

this looks wonderful. the duck looks absolutely delicious, but you most definetly stole my heart with the lentil salad, it looks absolutely divine. what an incredible dish to celebrate the summer farmer's market!

Yenta Mary said...

Thanks so much for coming to visit me! Following your gorgeous blog ... :)

foodfloozie.blogspot.com

Adventures in Domestic Cooking said...

How beautiful!!=)

Haddock said...

Always loved Lentils, but cleaning them is the part I wish some one else would do.

Barbara said...

Kate at Serendipity did something like this a while back, Christine. She made her own duck confit too. I was not that ambitious, but loved the look of her salad. So I ordered some duck confit from D'Artagnan and then went ahead and made the salad. We loved it! Haven't posted it yet, though.
I am just so impressed that you made your own confit!
Your salad is not quite the same, but I love the cabbage in it. Will definitely add that if I make this again.
I am able to get duck breasts here so made and posted a duck salad we enjoyed very much.

nancy at good food matters said...

This is an excellent post, such clear directions on making the confit.
Whenever we take the time to learn about where our food comes from, who grew it, how, and why, we forge stronger healthier relationships for ourselves and our planet.

all connected!

Food routes...

Lori said...

I've never tried to prepare duck at home, but we do love it. I don't find it so easily here, but we have it when we travel.

I connect with our local farmer's as much as possible. I buy our meat from two and visit them to make the purchase. I also help out with the media for our local farmer's market. It is a small county market and I love spending a few hours a week chatting with them about gardening and farming.

Table Talk said...

I am hosting an artisan burger tasting dinner party this weekend. Sourcing the beef from local farmers offered me the opportunity to meet with them and learn so much about their philosophy as farmers. Developing relationships with your local farmers completes the whole cooking/eating experience.

Claudia said...

Let's hear it for the small farmers who bring tenderly cared for produce and meats to market. Their life is not easy and they do it because they are committed. Interestingly, while I do have my favorite farmers - I don't go to the farms. I always think it would be an intrusion. Must rethink that!Gorgeous post!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Very interesting. I loved the eggs photo. I prefer the traditional duck confit... I am pretty sure. I am using my sous vide machine and just did sous vide confit and compared it to my tradtional confit. No comparison. Traditional won, hands down. Although - the sous vide makes almost everything else taste better than the traditional method. Thus, I wouldn't mess with my recipe. I have done a lot of tasting comparisons and research on it... havn't posted my traditional recipe yet. But, have posted the sous vide one. The comparison tasting is on the Scallop and Key Lime pie sous vide post - should you be so inclined.

Mimi said...

Love the duck confit and am looking forward to the rest of the duck!
While I enjoy visiting the farm stands we have, sadly it seems there are fewer of them every year.
Mimi

Yasmeen said...

That is an appetizing platter,love the fresh produce at farmer's market :D

knk said...

yummy

Megan said...

My mouth is watering just reading this post. All I need to see is the words duck confit, and I'm in. The lentils are just an extra bonus! I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to tackle a whole duck, but if I finally work my way up to it, I'm coming back to this recipe.