In the fall, I always think of serving game of some kind. I think it's my Michigan roots and a father and grandfather who loved duck hunting. We had duck often when I was a child. So while I made this recipe a while back, I saved it to post now. And you don't need wild duck to make it either.
Last spring, Kate at Serendipity had two intriguing posts. The first was about making duck confit; I loved reading it, knew I would never make it and wished I was Kate's neighbor so I could taste her version. Then the next month, she trumped it with this post: a duck tart made with her duck confit. That did it, no excuses, I had to make this! When I need gourmet game or meat products like duck confit, I always turn to D'Artagnan. And sure enough, there was duck confit on their list. They are the best...I am never disappointed.
Kate used puff pastry for her tart with the following instructions: "I put some puff pastry in a little tart tin and covered it with another tart tin. I weighted the top one with beans and baked them for about 10-12 minutes. This kept the puff pastry from puffing up too much, and kept the form clean."
I didn't have the individual deep tart pans that Kate had, so I used my normal little tart pans, poked holes in the puff pastry, lined the pans with foil and filled them with pie weights. The puff pastry didn't flatten out like Kate's, which I would have preferred so I will have to work on that aspect. Perhaps roll out the puff pastry with a rolling pin to thin it even more and use heavier weights. ( BTW Kate, where did you find those adorably shaped tart tins? )
The recipe also calls for duck fat, but that was no problem because there was plenty of fat under the skin of the duck confit. I removed the skin, scraped some of the fat off and then stuck the duck in the oven a bit to warm. I wanted any remaining fat to melt away.
Then I cooked the lentils. I had some green French lentils so I used those.
Here's how: Check for and discard any dirt, tiny stones, and damaged lentils. Place them in a strainer and rinse thoroughly under cold water. They are ready to cook after rinsing. The lentils do not require soaking before cooking. I used 2 cups of water to every cup of lentils. And I put in a bay leaf and a couple sprigs of whatever herbs I had on hand. Bring water to a boil and add the lentils. Boil for 2 or 3 minutes and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 45 minutes.
Kate says she considers this tart essentially a leftover dish. She used the vegetables she had. You could also add tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, onions instead of the leeks. Kate's recipe looked wonderful to me, so I followed her recipe as posted. Next time, I'll get more creative.
I have to say, this tart was fabulous. We ate it for dinner and the vinaigrette was perfect. Exactly the right touch of tang. Yes, I would make this again. You don't need to serve it in puff pastry, but it made a great foil for the duck.
Duck Tart From Kate at Serendipity
3 small carrots 2 stalks celery 1/2 bulb fennel 1 leek 1 Tablespoon duck fat 1/2 pound lentils, cooked 1/4 cup cider vinegar 2 Tablespoons olive oil juice of 1/2 lemon shredded meat from 2 cuisses de canard confit Salt and pepper to taste 4 pre-baked tart shells
Method: Chop the carrots, the celery and the fennel about the size of the end of your little finger. Include the green tops of the celery. Clean the leek: cut off the tough part at the top and cut the leek in half lengthwise. Holding the two halves together, wash the leeks under cold running water, making sure to check between the layers where there’s often sandy dirt lurking to chip your teeth. When they’re clean, cut them crosswise into small strips.Melt 1 tablespoon of duck fat left from the cuisses de canard in a large-ish pan. Add the vegetables and cook till they’re softened, about 7-10 minutes. Add the lentils, mix well and drain if necessary.In a separate bowl, mix the vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice. Pour over the lentils and vegetables and mix well. Add the duck meat, fill the tart shells and garnish with whatever greenery you have. Serves 4.