Cooking Duck Confit with Warm Lentils and Pearl Onions

Duck Confit with Warm Lentils and Pearl Onions

Duck Confit
•Salt 1 kg/2 lb 3.2 oz
•Duck legs, quartered 20
•Duck fat 5 kg 11 lb/.32 oz
•Thyme sprigs 7
•Pearl onions, root ends trimmed and outer layers of skin removed 100
•Green Puy lentils 3 kg/6 lb 9.76 oz
•Chicken stock 3 kg/6 lb 9.76 oz
•Onions, finely diced 600 g/1 lb 5.12 oz
•Carrots, finely diced 300 g/10.56 oz
•Celery, finely diced 300 g/10.56 oz
•Garlic, crushed 20 g/.64 oz
•Thyme sprigs 3
•Slab bacon, diced 200 g/7.05 oz
•Salt 35 g/1.23 oz
•Chicken stock 2 kg/4 lb 6.4 oz
For the Duck Confit:
1.Sprinkle 250 g/8.82 oz of salt in an even layer into each of 2 hotel pans.
2.Put 10 duck-leg quarters into each hotel pan and sprinkle 250 g/8.82 oz of salt on top of each hotel pan, covering the duck legs. Cover both hotel pans and refrigerate for 24 hours to cure the duck legs.
3.The next day, rinse the salt off the duck legs and pat them dry.
4.Heat an oven to 120°C/250°F.
5.Melt the duck fat in a rondeau large enough to fit all the duck legs and the duck fat.
6.Put the duck-leg quarters in the melted fat, along with the thyme and the pearl onions. The duck-leg quarters should be completely submerged in the fat.
7.Cover the rondeau with a lid or with foil. Put in the oven and cook the duck legs until the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone, about 3 hours. The fat should never get too hot, or else the duck meat will cook too quickly and become hard instead of tender. If the pearl onions are cooked before the duck legs are, spoon them out of the fat with a slotted spoon when they are just cooked and put them in a hotel pan to cool at room temperature. Reserve them covered at room temperature during service.
8.Once the duck legs are cooked, transfer them to a deep hotel pan, keeping them in the fat. Put the hotel pan in an Alto-Shaam set to 60°C/140°F. If there are any left over after service, they can be used the next day. If the duck is left to cool in the fat in the refrigerator and they are left in the solidified fat in the refrigerator, they can keep for up to 1 month. Duck confit was originally meant to preserve the duck before refrigeration was invented.
For the Lentils:
1.Place the lentils in a sauce pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, and then strain them.
2.Put them back in the sauce pot with enough chicken stock to cover them. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bacon. Simmer until the lentils are no longer covered with chicken stock, about 40 minutes. Add more chicken stock until they are once again covered.
3.Continue to cook until the lentils are tender. If necessary, continue to add more chicken stock, and season with salt, but be careful when seasoning since the bacon not only contributes flavor, it also adds salt.
4.Once the lentils are cooked, transfer them to a hotel pan and adjust seasoning if needed (stirring the salt in). Let them cool in the refrigerator. Remove the visible pieces of carrots, celery, onions, thyme sprigs, and garlic. Reserve in the refrigerator during service. Discard after 12 hours.
To Pick Up:
1.Place a duck-leg quarter on a sizzle platter, skin side up, and put it in a hot salamander, a static oven set to 260°C/500°F, or an impinger oven set to the same temperature. Cook the duck confit for 10 minutes to crisp the skin and heat the meat thoroughly. Some chefs like to crisp the skin up in a sauté pan over a high flame with the skin facing down, but an oven or impinger oven gives you better control over the outcome.
2.While the skin is getting crisp, heat 45 g/1.6 oz of duck fat in a sauté pan over high heat. Add 10 pearl onions and 250 to 300 g/8.82 to 10.58 oz of lentils, plus 30 g/1.05 oz of chicken stock. Cook until all of the components are very hot.
3.Place the lentils and the pearl onions on a plate or, preferably, in a bowl. Lean the crisp duck-leg quarter on the lentils, with the bone pointing up for height. Serve immediately.

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