Duck with braised lentils on D is for Dinner

The United Nations has declared 2016 the "International Year of Pulses" and All In A Day rings it in with this lentil-focused dish from Hintonburg restaurant Carben.

United Nations has declared 2016 the 'International Year of Pulses'

Hintonburg restaurant Carben offers this duck with braised lentils, lentil dust, white bean puree, pickled leeks and apple parsley gel as an attractive way to ring in the United Nations' "year of the pulses." (Carben)

Lentils, chickpeas and beans: this is your time to shine.

The United Nations has declared 2016 the "International Year of Pulses," in a bid to get more diners on board with the humble legumes' nutritional and economic benefits.

D is for Dinner is ringing in the year of the pulse with this lentil-and-white-bean recipe from Hintonburg's Carben restaurant.

If you're pressed for time, you can simplify this recipe by leaving out one or more of the side dishes.

Duck with braised lentils

White Bean Puree (ingredients)

  • ½ cup great northern beans.
  • 1 small onion.
  • 1½ cup vegetable stock.
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • 1 sprig thyme.
  • 1 tsp. salt.

White Bean Purée (instructions)

  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. In a pot, cook the soaked beans in the vegetable stock, garlic and thyme until soft.
  3. Drain and remove the thyme.
  4. Sweat onions and add beans.
  5. Transfer mixture into a food processor and purée until smooth.
  6. Season with salt. Add more vegetable stock, if needed.

Braised Lentils (instructions)

  • 1 cup cooked green lentils.
  • 2 tbsp. beef stock.
  • 1 tbsp. butter.
  • 1 tbsp. finely diced mirepoix​​.

Braised lentils (instructions)

  1. Sweat the mirepoix in a saucepan with the butter.
  2. Add the lentils and beef stock, and cook until reduced and the lentils are glazed.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.

Apple parsley gel (ingredients)

  • 1 cup parsley, washed and blanched.
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced.
  • 4 green apples, cored with skin on.
  • ¼ cup sugar.
  • 1 cup water.
  • 5 g agar-agar.

Apple parsley gel (instructions)

  1. Blend apples until smooth in a food processor.
  2. In a saucepot, bring to a boil the puréed apple, sugar, water and agar-agar.
  3. Let simmer for five minutes.
  4. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and place it on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap.
  5. Place in fridge until completely set.
  6. Once set, put the mixture into the food processor and blend on high until smooth.
  7. Add parsley and jalapeno, and pulse once more until blended.

Pickled Leeks (ingredients)

  • 1 bunch baby leeks.
  • 2 tbsp. sugar.
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt.
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice.

Pickled leeks (instructions)

  1. Blanch leeks in salted water for one minute, then transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. 
  2. Dry leeks with a paper towel, and toss in a small bowl with salt, sugar and lemon juice.

Lentil dust (ingredients)

  • 1 cup green lentils.
  • 1 carrot, diced.
  • 1 onion, diced.
  • 2 celery stalks, diced.
  • 3 cups vegetable stock.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme.
  • salt, to taste.

Lentil dust (instructions)

  1. In a medium saucepot, sweat the onion, carrot and celery until soft.
  2. Add lentils, thyme, bay leaf, and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil, letting it simmer until the lentils are very soft.
  3. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and transfer the lentils to a food processor.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Let cool in fridge.
  6. Once cool, spread the mixture on a lined sheet and place in a food dehydrator overnight or in an oven at the lowest possible setting.
  7. Once completely dry, grind the mixture into a powder using a spice grinder.

Crispy Carrot (ingredients)

  • 1 carrot, washed.
  • oil for frying.
  • salt, to taste.

Crispy Carrot (ingredients)

  1. ​Slice carrot thinly using a vegetable peeler in ice water.
  2. Transfer the peels onto a paper towel to dry.
  3. Heat the oil in a small sauce pot to 325 F.
  4. Let the carrots fry in the oil until lightly coloured.
  5. Remove carefully, place on paper towel, and season with salt.

How to cook the duck and plate:

  1. Trim excess fat from the duck breast and score.
  2. Season the breast and place it fat-side down in pan.
  3. Render fat from the breast on medium-low heat, basting the duck with the rendered fat until medium-rare.
  4. Rest for five minutes then slice in half.
  5. Place a dollop of the white bean purée on the upper left portion of the plate and the braised lentils in a line on the opposite side.
  6. Dot the apple and parsley gel onto the plate.
  7. Arrange the duck in between the lentils and the bean purée.
  8. Garnish the plate with the leeks, crispy carrot and lentil dust.