Duck Leg Confit with Green Lentils

by Dec 19, 2008


I love having lentils on hand for salads and holiday comfort food like this duck confit preparation, inspired by a recipe in Gerald Hirigoyen’s Bistro. There is no easier, no seemingly more extravagant holiday dinner than this. Don’t even try to make the duck confit on your own with the excellent packaged ones by Fabrique Délices and D’Artagnan on the market. Since confit is an ancient method of preserving meat, you can rest assured that a couple packages will be fine for a month (or three!) in your refrigerator.

Duck Confit with Lentils
serves 4
(if you’re only cooking for 2 (or 1), cook fewer duck legs but make the same amount of lentils, they are great left over)

4 packaged duck confit legs (Fabrique Délices and D’Artagnan both make great ones)


1 ½ cups dried green lentils
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
if you have them in the kitchen: 1 bay leaf, 1 fresh thyme sprig, 1 fresh parsley sprig
stock or water

1. Rinse the lentils with water until water is no longer cloudy. Put lentils in a large saucepan and cover with water (or stock, or some of each) by 2 – 3 inches. Simmer gently until tender, about 20 minutes. (Adding more water if necessary.) Drain off any excess water.

Vinaigrette :
¼ cup olive oil, good quality extra virgin (I like to use Bariani; it is made here in California and has a nice green color and peppery finish)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
a few grinds of fresh black pepper
1.Whisk together vinegar, a dab of Dijon mustard and salt.
2.While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
Cooking & Assembling Duck Confit with Lentils:
1. Bring the duck legs to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and make the lentils and vinaigrette. Combine as much vinaigrette as you prefer with the lentils to dress them, saving any remaining vinaigrette for another use. Set the dressed lentils aside while you cook the duck.
2. Cook the duck legs. Place the duck legs, skin side down, in a roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes until meat is hot throughout and starts to get crispy.
3. Place a couple spoons of lentils onto each plate and top with a duck leg. Pass the Châteauneuf du Pape!
Kitchen Coach Tips
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  • Make the lentils up to 2 days ahead, store in refrigerator. You can also make the vinaigrette ahead and dress the lentils or not. Your call. Store vinaigrette in the refrigerator as well. (Always good to have a nice salad dressing on hand.)
  • Any extra lentils can be stirred into a rice or quinoa salad or eaten alone as a salad.
  • Duck confit is an ancient method of preserving duck, so go ahead and buy a couple packages and keep them in your fridge – they will last months. You’ll thank me when you have them on hand for an impromptu, but seemingly extravagant, dinner.

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