This deliciously festive, yet super simple meal was inspired by lunch out at a local pub, where my husband had duck confit on a bed of lentils which had been cooked in beef stock. I loved the combination and I just knew it would go brilliantly with my braised red cabbage and some soft buttery mashed potato.
To keep things easy peasy, I simply roasted the duck with just a little salt and pepper, and used a pouch of ready prepared Merchant Gourmet Puy Lentils, but if you prefer to do the lentils from scratch, cook them in the stock and add a bay leaf for extra flavour. I used a Kallo Organic Beef Stock Cube to make the beef stock – the flavour is delicate enough not to overpower the duck (something I find can happen with other brands). I was actually surprised just how well the stock went with the duck.
If you haven’t got time to make the braised red cabbage, serve the duck, lentils and mashed potato with savoy cabbage and/or tenderstem broccoli instead.
There is one small problem with this meal: the red cabbage and duck cook at totally different temperatures. The solution is either to use two different ovens or, if that is not an option for you, make the red cabbage ahead of time and reheat it. It reheats so easily, just place in a saucepan with 100ml of boiling water and cook until piping hot (about 5 minutes). I have written the recipe below, however, assuming you are using two ovens.
This would make a great Christmas Eve dinner. And, as a bonus, you will have already cooked the red cabbage ready for Christmas day, since my recipe for braised red cabbage serves 12. This meal would go brilliantly with a Pinot Noir from New Zealand or Chile.
- 4 duck legs
- 250g pouch ready-to-eat puy lentils
- 200ml beef stock
- 1kg potatoes
- 500g red cabbage
- First make the red cabbage. You can find the instructions and step by step photos here.
- When the red cabbage has 1 hour 20 minutes left to cook, preheat your other oven to 200C.
- Stab the duck legs all over using a fork or a sharp knife and sprinkle the duck with salt and pepper. Rub the salt and pepper all over the duck legs.
- Place the duck legs in a roasting tray and put the tray in the oven for 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes, turn the oven up to 220C. Roast the duck for a further 10 minutes (50 minutes in total).
- While the duck is having its final 10 minutes, peel and chop your potatoes and put them on to boil.
- After the duck has had a total of 50 minutes in the oven. Remove the duck from the oven and place in a clean roasting tray. Cover loosely with foil. Don’t wash up the duck roasting tray. Allow the duck to rest for 15 minutes.
- While the duck is resting, put the stock in the duck roasting tray and bring to the boil. Tip in the ready prepared lentils and bring back to the boil. Turn off.
- Mash the potatoes with a little butter, salt and pepper and then serve the duck on a bed of lentils and stock with mashed potatoes and red cabbage on the side.