Duck Two Ways

Don’t be intimitaded by duck. This approachable (and delicious) recipe by Chef Israel Medina showcases the versatile meat by using two of its best cuts: the legs and breast. The richness of duck confit is matched with the umami flavor of lentils and a Madeira wine sauce, with wilted spinach. Perfect for a cozy fall or winter dinner.


Servings: 2


for the duck
  • 2 duck breasts
  • 4 duck legs
  • About 4 cups of duck fat (if you don’t feel like rendering your own duck fat you can buy it at a specialty shop like Savenor’s or M.F. Dulock)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
for the demi-glace
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 3 cups Madeira wine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 cups brown stock (duck, beef, or veal)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
for the lentils
  • 8 ounces black lentils
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 15 pearl onions, blanched and skins removed
  • 1 cup white wine
for the spinach
  • 1 pound spinach
  • 16 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


for the confit
  1. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  2. Heat a pan over med-high heat with a little oil or butter. Sear the duck legs (not the breasts) until brown.
  3. Transfer duck legs to a shallow roasting pan with enough duck fat to cover the legs. Transfer roasting pan to oven and cook for 2 hours, then remove and cool. Return to the oven to warm before serving.
for the demi-glace
  1. Sauté the shallots, garlic and bay leaves in butter over medium-high heat until fragrant.
  2. Add the Madeira wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until reduced by half.
  3. Add the stock and let it reduce until thick. Warm over low heat before serving.
for the lentils
  1. Place lentils in a saucepot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and strain, setting the lentils aside in a bowl or dish.
  2. Return saucepot to stove and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Sauté the carrots, celery and pearl onions until tender. Add the white wine and lentils. Continue to sauté for about 10 minutes or until tender, adding more wine if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Hold covered in a warm oven before serving.
for the spinach
  1. Combine oil and roasted garlic cloves in a sauté pan over high heat.
  2. Add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute, stirring the spinach until just wilted.
to assemble
  1. Score the fat side of each breast with a knife. Salt and pepper the duck breasts on each side and in heavy pan over high heat, place the breasts fat side down.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the fat is rendered. Flip the breasts and cook for another 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from pan and let rest.
  4. To serve, place a spoonful of lentils onto the middle of a plate and top with spinach. Add the duck leg to side of mound. Slice breast and place alongside the leg. Drizzle sauce around the plate.

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