Smoked Duck and Lentils with Lavender
You can hot-smoke your duck at home or use a cold-smoked, air-dried duck, sliced and served as a salad with the hot lentils. Either way, corn-fed, free-range birds will give the best results. I enjoy both and usually decide depending on the weather, but these flavour combinations always works well.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
1 large orange, washed and scrubbed
2 tbsp caster sugar
100g/31⁄2oz/1⁄2 cup basmati rice 3 tbsp green tea 1 tsp caster sugar 2 small lavender sprigs
1 tbsp rapeseed oil 2 duck breasts, about 200g/7oz
each 1 tbsp clear honey a few chervil leaves
200g/7oz/1 cup Puy lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 onion, finely chopped 2 cloves 1 bouquet garni, made with 1 thyme
sprig and 1 parsley sprig, tied
together with kitchen string 50g/13⁄4oz unsalted butter sea salt and freshly ground black
1 To crystallize the orange zest, pare the zest from the orange into fine strips using a vegetable peeler or small, sharp knife, cutting away the pith. Put the zest in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Remove from the heat, drain, refresh under cold water, then drain again. Repeat this blanching process.2 Return the zest to the pan over a low heat and add the sugar and
3 tablespoons of water, stirring until dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for
4–5 minutes, or until the zest becomes transparent. Remove from
the heat and leave the strips to cool in the syrup.
3 Put a large piece of kitchen foil, shiny-side down, in the bottom of a wok or steamer. Add the rice, tea, sugar and 1 lavender sprig, and drizzle with the rapeseed oil. Cover with a wire rack or steamer insert and lid, and put over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to smoke. Quickly put the duck breasts inside, cover with kitchen foil to help seal the duck, then put the lid on, turn the heat to low and smoke for 5 minutes.
4 Meanwhile, put the lentils in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Add the onion, cloves and bouquet garni, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 5–7 minutes until only just tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then strain, discarding the flavourings.
5 When the duck is almost ready, heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Turn off the heat under the smoker, lift out the duck and put the lid back on the smoker. Put the duck, skin-side down, in the hot frying pan and cook for 4–5 minutes. Flip the duck over, brush the skin with the honey and sprinkle over a little of the remaining lavender, then cook for a further 5 minutes. Lift out, cover with kitchen foil and leave to rest, quickly discarding the foil with the smoking ingredients.
6 Heat a non-stick frying pan until hot, add the butter and lentils and stir-fry for a few minutes until hot. Cut the duck into chunks and serve on top of the lentils, sprinkled with the orange zest strips with a little of the syrup, the chervil leaves and a pinch more lavender.