Saturday, April 4, 2009

Visit from England

My crazy cousin, Nicola, is coming to stay for a few days next week and I have promised her a traditional French supper upon her arrival. But looking through my cookbooks the great classics are scarily similar to the British classics for example Boeuf Bourguignon is simply Beef Casserole! And the French say they are the Kings of Cuisine!

So I've decided that the supper will be traditionally French in that the ingredients are French but the recipe will be mine!

Filet de Canard aux Echalotes et Fond de Veau dans son nid des lentilles et purée de patate douce

(Duck Breasts in an Onion and Veal Sauce in a nest of lentils and sweet potato mash - sounds much more apetising in French n'est ce pas?)

Duck Breasts


For the Duck

4 Duck breasts
4 tsps coarse sea salt
4 tsps truffle oil
1 tsp butter
6 shallots, peeled and halved
1 pint of veal stock
1 tsp sage

For the nest

100g puy lentils
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chucks
100g red currants
4 tsps sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 150°C
2. Cover the duck breasts will the truffle oil (1 tsp per breast)
3. Rub in the sea salt (1 tsp per breast) crushing gently
4. In a shallow pan over a medium heat, cook the duck breasts for 3 mins each side, fat side first
5. Baste a shallow casserole dish with the butter
6. Add the duck breasts (fat side up) and shallots
7. Pour over the veal stock
8. Add the sage
9. Cover and place in the oven for 1-1/2 hours (until tender)

Once the duck is tender remove from the oven and place to one side (keep covered).

Now start preparing the nest

1. Cook the lentils following the guidelines on the box (they usually take about 10-15 mins but it depends on the type and quality of the lentils)
2. In a large saucepan of lightly salted water cook the sweet potatoes until soft.
3. Meanwhile in a small bowl crush the red currants roughly with the back of a tablespoon
4. Add to a small saucepan (with their juices) add the sugar
5. Over a low heat stir constantly until sugar completely absorbed and the sauce thickened
6. Drain the potatoes and mash (add a knob of butter if desired)

Presentation individual (4 people)
Spoon the mash in the middle of the plates, patting gently to form a round centrepiece
Spoon the lentils around the mash
Drizzle the currant sauce around the lentils
Place the duck breast on top of the mash
Spoon the shallot sauce over the duck (3 shallots per plate)

Serves : 4
Preparation time : 10 - 15 mins
Cooking time : 1 - 2 hours

Et voilà! Bon Apetit!


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