This is what happens after I spend a week working late night and not having any groceries in the house.  Actually what happens first is that I want things that are simple- like a steak sandwich or a burger (I might discuss those later this week). But then I get the urge to cook something great, and I crave something healthy and delicious.

Smoked duck is a great treat. It reminds me of bacon (dare I say that its better thna bacon?) and because its so rich a little goes a long way. We smoked this on the grill, and it caught on fire a little which resulted in the skin crisping up beautifully. It was a little scary- I’m not sure if i was more worried about the duck burning to a crisp or our deck catching fire- but in the end everything was ok.

Continuing in my quest to eat more lentils, I served the duck with a lentil salad which was flavored with some nice vegeatvles and aromatics. The trick with this salad is that you want to dice eveything very finely- the lentil should be the biggest pieces. Along with this went to beets and a nice dressing that carried the flavors throughout everything. This meal was SO GOOD. Like, you migt have to look around and make sure you’re in your dining room and not in a restaurant good. My mouth continued towater for a good hour after I finished eating.

Crispy Smoked Duck with Lentil Salad and Beets

  • 1lb boneless duck breast
  • 1 package hickory chips (alternately, substitute smoked duck breast)
  • 1/4 c kosher salt
  • 1Tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 oz basil
  • 2 cara cara or navel oranges, zested
  • 1 pound beets, trimmed
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp each chopped basil, thyme, parsley, and chives
  • 1 Tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 6 oz lentils, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 jalapenio, finely diced
  • 1 thick slice red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 plum tomato, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 orange, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

In the morning or the night before you plan to serve this, combine kosher salt, black pepper, orange zest, and basil. Rub all over duck breat and allow to sit several hours.

Soak and prepare wood chips as directed.  Place in grill and set to low heat. Place duck on top rack of grill, away from direct heat. Close the grill lid and cook for about 20 minutes.Remove duck from grill and slice thinnly.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water. Add beets and lemon juice. Simmer beets until they are tender. Remove and peel off skin. Cut each beet into about 6 pieces.

While beets cook, prepare dressing: combine vinegar, spices, and mustard. Slowly add olive oil, mixing well to emusilfy (an immersion blender works great for this). Toss beets with about 2 Tbs dressing and set the rest aside.

To make lentil salad: Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a small sautee pan. Heat red epper, jalapenio, onion, and garlic until onion begins to soften. remove from heat and stir into lentils. Add tomato and orange. Stir in vinegar. Chill until ready to eat.

To serve, spoon lentil salad onto plate. Arrange duck and beets around salad. Spoon about 2 Tbs dressing onto plate. Garnish with basil chiffonade.

Serves 4.

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I am submitting this to Deb’s Souper Sunday’s (which now includes salads and sammies!) at Kahakai Kitchen.