La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Monday, September 21, 2015

I Love Lentils - Green Lentils with Confit Duck Legs

I do. I do love lentils. And I have them in the pantry, always. 
I love their slight peppery flavour and the fact that they are so versatile. They get a few bonus points because they are also very nutritious. 
My mother, Irma, who used to be an adventurous and progressive cook when my brother and I were growing up, never made lentils for us. We didn't miss it, because we probably never knew of their existence.
I got acquainted with these little legumes when we moved here to Ireland the first time round (1995/96 or thereabouts).  Since then they have been a regular part of our diet. 

The following recipe is of French origin, but with some poetic licence.

I bought these duck legs in Lidl. They were not bad, but between you and me, they are nothing like the confit the canard I used to have in France. 
If you don't fancy or can't get hold of duck legs, don't panic. The lentils work equally well with pork,lamb or sausages.
If you don't fancy lentils, well ....try them !

Ingredients serves 2
  • duck fat, lard, butter or sunflower oil
  • smoked lardons (bacon pieces), 100 gr
  • 1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 or 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • provençale herb mix, 1 tbsp or a few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • lentils (small green, brown or Puy), 300 gr
  • red wine vinegar, 50 ml
  • water, 500 ml
  • seasoning, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • parsley, chopped

  • On the hob, fry off the lardons in the oil or fat till they are golden brown. Do this over a gentle heat.

  • Take them out of the pan, leaving the fat in the pan. Set lardons aside.

  • Sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Add the herbs.
  • You might have to add a little more oil or fat and maybe even a splash of water. Again, do this gently with lid on to create a bit of steam in the pan.
  • In the photo above you can see the level of doneness.
  • Stir in the lentils and coat them with the fat (like you would be doing with the rice for a risotto) 
  • Add the red wine vinegar and let it reduce.
  • Next add the water, stir a final time and cover with lid.
  • Simmer over a low heat for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Check regularly for doneness, add a splash of water if it has evaporated before its time.
  • When ready add the bacon pieces/lardons.
  • Season with salt and black pepper and sprinkle with parsley.
  • I reheated and 'crisped'up the duck legs in a hot oven. The confit I've eaten many times in France is more moist and 'fall-of-the-bone' tender than this was. It probably has to do with the fact that in France they use the legs and magret (breast)of the very same ducks that produce the foie gras. As I said at the start as duck legs go, they were good, but don't expect confit, because to me it wasn't.
  • Serve with bread.
I had made baguettes to serve with the lentils.
See recipe here. Unfortunately I misread my own recipe and added too much water. Had to rectify by adding more and more flour, which resulted in a denser crumb. Still bliddy tasty though. Even when I had to change their shape slightly too, to get them on my baking tray in the oven.


Come again soon.
Patricia xxx...x

1 comment:

  1. That looks delicious I must try that soon, quite possibly next week for Sunday lunch. Love the look of your bread shape - very unique x


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