Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Duck and Nectarines

I'm always on the look out for a bargain and when I found these nectarines reduced in Tesco I couldn't resist. There was no way they would ever ripen so were perfect for poaching with spices for desert tonight.

Spiced Poached Nectarines
4 unripe hard nectarines (or peaches)
3 tablespoons golden granulated sugar
1 stick cinnamon
3 cloves

Wash fruit and place in a pan.
Add sugar and spices and just cover with water.

Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 mins. until the fruit is soft when you test it with a sharp knife.
Place the fruit into a dish with a slotted spoon.

Turn up the heat under the pan and boil the liquid to reduce by ¾ until syrupy.

Pour the syrup through a sieve (to remove the spices) over the fruit and leave to cool.
Serve 1 or 2 per portion with cream or ice-cream.


It's not very often that we have 2 courses for dinner so I decided to cook a nice and easy all-in-one dish for main course to go before the nectarines. I'd got some Gressingham duck legs in the fridge and thought they would be perfect tonight braised with some green lentils. Someone said to me recently "oh but you can't cook 'proper food' on a boat".  I hope these recipes help to prove that they are wrong!

Braised duck with lentils serves 2 
2 duck leg portions
1 carrot peeled
1 stick celery
1 small onion
2in. piece chorizo
2 cloves garlic
100g green lentils (lentilles vertes or Puy lentils)
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ Knorr chicken stock cube

Put duck legs skin side down into a cold cast iron casserole and put onto a low heat. When the fat starts to come out of the skin turn heat up to high and leave about 5mins. till the skin is brown and crispy then remove onto a plate, leave the duck fat in the casserole dish.

Chop onion, celery and carrot into small dice and fry in remaining duck fat along with the chopped garlic.

Slice chorizo into 2 and peel off the papery skin (it can be really tough on some varieties of chorizo), then chop into small dice and add to pan with veg.

When the fat starts to come out of the chorizo add the rinsed lentils, stock cube, bay leaves, thyme and about 500ml. water.
Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 5 mins. then add the duck legs and turn down to a low simmer.

Either cook on the hob for 1 hour or on the fire for 2 hours till the duck is really tender. Could also be cooked in a low oven Gas 3 for about 2 hours or even in an electric slow cooker for about 6 hours.

Take the legs out and remove the skin which will be all flabby and horrible by now. Pour the lentil mixture into a sieve over a bowl and then pour the liquid into a gravy fat separator jug to get rid of all the excess fat from the chorizo and duck.

Serve lentils and duck with some of the now fat free juices poured over and enjoy with a ice glass of red wine (or 2).

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