Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Smoked Duck Breast with Puy Lentils and Mushroom Pate

I'm originally from Leicestershire where "ey up me duck" is often used as a way of saying hello to someone you are fond of. Fair enough. As it happens, I am very fond of duck. Do you see what I did there? Incredibly witty statements aside, duck breasts are a fantastic treat when pan fried, or pan fried then oven roasted. I've also had some success with sous vide duck breasts. If you're not feeling so flush, then the legs can be obtained pretty reasonably and stand up well to roasting, or if you are feeling like a bit of France in your kitchen you can confit them easily at home. Another time maybe.

Continuing my theme of experimenting on the Big Green Egg, I considered just using it as an oven, then thought of a rather nice cold starter I had not too long ago of smoked duck with caper berries and a pomegranate dressing. This got me thinking as to what hot smoked duck might be like. Well, I'm pleased to report that hot smoked duck is very good indeed. I used the recipe on the Big Green Egg website as a guide for temperatures and timings. You can see the recipe here. As the duck breast is not a great big hunk of meat, it doesn't take long to cook, with the end result being a lovely light smoky background hit that doesn't over power the flavour of the breast itself. I then pan fried them briefly skin side down to get the skin nice and crispy as the smoking process doesn't do much for an attractive looking skin. This obviously kept the breasts hot, and as a result of resting them in foil for 5 minutes, the dark pinkness that I normally hope to achieve with a duck breast was somewhat paler, however due to the way the breasts were cooked and the unique design of the kamodo style cooker, the breasts remained incredibly moist and tender.


I served them with a puy lentil stew, made simply by simmering the lentils in a strong chicken stock, draining, then adding some finely chopped sun dried tomatoes, a small crushed garlic clove, and a good glug of olive oil. You need to stir the garlic through as soon as you've drained the lentils which allows the residual heat to take the sting out of the garlic. I nabbed the idea from my sister who lives in Italy who does a similar thing with green beans. You get a wonderful hit of garlic without the rawness. Probably best not to have them just before an intimate conversation with someone!

I then made what I called a mushroom pate but isn't, by sauteing finely chopped mushroom in butter with more garlic, cooling it, then stirred in some creme fraiche and seasoning. Finally just a sprinkle of coriander to finish it off.


Hey, it were right lovely me duck!

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