Monday, December 13, 2010

Lentils Braised in Red Wine with Seared Duck Breast

This dish looks suspiciously like my recent chili recipe but I assure you it's a beast of an entirely different pursuasion.  Here I've incorporated lovely and tiny, dark green lentils with a mirepoix and red wine, cooking it down, down, down until the flavors have melted together and are ready to receive tiny slices of seared duck breast.  I made enough for company but you could cut this recipe in half for a family of four.

Lentils in Red Wine with Seared Duck Breast
Christine's original recipe
3 medium carrots (about), peeled and cut into small dice
2-3 stalks celery, cut into small dice
1 small to medium red onion, peeled and cut into small dice
4 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon duck fat or olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups small green lentils
2 cups good red wine (I used a French Côtes du Rhone)
2 cups chicken stock
2-3 cups hot water
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 boneless duck breasts
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt duck fat (or olive oil, if using instead) over medium-high heat in a heavy pot.
Add the carrots, celery and onions and sauté until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic for another minute or two.
Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate.
Add the lentils, red wine, chicken stock, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf.
Stir and bring liquid to just under a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils absorb most of the liquid, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Check the lentils for doneness; they should be soft but not mushy.
If the liquid is gone before the lentils are cooked, add hot water in small amounts until the lentils are finished.
Remember to fish out the now de-leafed thyme sprigs and the bay leaf.
To Prepare the Duck:
Just before the lentils are done, heat a heavy skillet (cast iron is perfect for this) over hight heat.
Using a sharp knife, score the fat side of the duck breasts in a diamond pattern, taking care to not cut through to the meat.  Season the duck on both sides with a pinch of sea salt and some grindings of black pepper.
Put the duck breasts in the skillet, fat side down and allow them to sear, untouched, until some of the fat has rendered and the skin is beginning to turn golden brown. Reduce the heat, if necessary, to keep the duck from scorching and the fat from burning.
Using tongs, turn the duck breasts and sear for another 5 minutes.
Remove the duck breasts to a plate and tent with foil.
Add a small amount of red wine to the skillet and deglaze, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and reducing the wine by two-thirds.
Pour all of this lovely goodness into the pot of lentils, which should be done by this time.
To serve:
Stir chopped parsley into the lentils then spoon them into warm bowls or plates.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the duck breasts crosswise into very thin strips and drape them over the lentils.
Open a bottle of the same red wine that was used in the cooking.


Copyright © 2005-2010, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Perfect for December, Christine: Healthy and hearty. One of my resolutions for 2011 is to eat more legumes. I have tons of French lentils. This would be a delicious option for a weekend.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this lentil recipe! I had something like this in a restaurant once (don't remember which one) and have been trying to find a recipe ever since.
    I can't wait to try it.

  3. Hello Christine!

    I made a link in my latest post on coconut blossom sugar. This link explains it very well. A while ago, I made a sugar free & gluten free banana & almond butter cake with dark chocolate chips & It was made with coconut blossom sugar & there I explained it very well. Here is the link:

    This dish looks splendid to savour in this freezing weather! I just posted your Christmas card!!

  4. Thank you, Mimi, Sasha and Sophie!
    This dish is deep winter comfort food for sure!
    Thanks for the link Sophie. I had seen it on your blog but it doesn't lead to a purchase point. I'll keep trying though. :)

  5. Indeed, it doesn't give a lead where you can buy it becasue I normally don't do that, but I buy it in my food health store like Bio shop or bio planet. Normally, you can't find it in your usual supermarket.

  6. This looks a lovely nuisanced hearty dish Christine. I recently received some Turkish red lentils from a friend and am looking for good ideas for them. Possibly this.

  7. Hi Penny and thanks! Turkish red lentils sound like they would be just right for a tagine. I look forward to seeing how you cook them.

  8. Lentils with Duck is a nice combo. Great work on your photos Christine!All the Best!


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