Poultry Dishes – Lesson 2. Duck, Quail & Puy Lentils.

This post has photos of boned and jointed Poultry.

This is a much delayed post of last weeks lesson, even though I started it soon after finishing the class last Tuesday with the plan to complete it over the weekend. Sometimes life doesn’t go exactly to plan, and last Sunday I spent the day in Emergency and have since been in hospital being treated for an old injury which has unexpectedly flared up. So now, over a week after lesson two, I am in sitting on my hospital bed, a little bit worse for wear, wearing very attractive white compression stockings, finishing off the post. Hopefully I will be out of hospital in the next day or two and will be given the all clear to travel to attend our niece’s wedding (cross fingers)!


Pretending to be Marie Antoinette in my white stockings!

Lesson two was another technical class, this time breaking down a duck and a quail to use in three dishes, & using the techniques of curing, rendering, cooking confit & deep frying. Confit is a way to preserve and applies to anything which is cooked in it’s own rendered fat. Even though on some menu’s you may see a vegetable side dish referred to as ‘confit’, e.g., confit tomatoes or confit potatoes, it’s not an accurate use of the term.  Again, I was busy in class not only with the recipes, but also with penning as many of Chef’s tips and information as I could capture!

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The same method is applied when breaking down any poultry, and the same rules apply, follow the bone structure. Starting with a whole duck, first remove the neck. The neck skin can easily be used as a sausage casing, which we didn’t do in class but I’ve done at home (photo below) & it’s a great way cut down waste & use as much of the bird as possible. Next step is to remove the wish-bone, this makes breaking the bird down a lot easier & again leads to less waste as it’s easier to get the meat from the carcass. From there the wing-tips are removed and the Maryland cut from the carcass. Lastly the breasts, with wing bone attached, are removed and then the wing bone is removed and the breast trimmed. Viola, 2 breasts and 2 marylands. The carcass and wing tips can be roasted and used to make a a rich duck stock.

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Duck Maryland & Breast


Duck Neck Sausage

Next task was to break down the quail… as you can imagine it is a little fiddly. This time the breast and the Maryland were removed from the carcass by following the rib cage and easing the meat off the bone, so as the end product was breast and maryland attached.

The quail and the duck maryland were cured; the quail simply in sugar and rock salt for 30 minutes and the duck in salt and aromatics (fresh thyme, garlic and orange zest) for 1 hour.  Did you know that curing or brining meat makes it cook more evenly? The curing changes the texture of the meat, making it firmer as you can see in the photos. The meat was removed from the curing mix & was washed before we moved on to the cooking.

The cured & rinsed quail was coated in a very easy tempura batter which produces a very crispy end product, simply self raising flour and a little cold water. Crushed up Nori sheets (dried seaweed) were added to the batter in which the quail was coated before being deep-fried. Remember, when adding anything battered to the deep fryer, don’t just drop it in to the hot oil as it will stick to the basket, rather, wave it back and forth in the hot oil a few times before gently releasing. When seasoning fried products, season just before serving, salt pulls out moisture and reduces the crispiness if done ahead of time. These crispy little morsels were served on a bed of quartered  radish and a wasabi, soy sauce and sesame oil dressing. Lunch!

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Plated Tempura Quail

For the Duck Confit, the duck maryland was cooked in the renewed duck fat we made in lesson 1 of Poultry. Garlic, thyme, pepper corns and a bay leaf were added to the pot along with the duck, the pot was covered with a cartouche and placed into a low oven (@ 120C) and cooked for 2 hours (low and slow)! Once cooked, confit can be stored in the fridge in a covered container (pot or jar) in the fat in which it was cooked for several months. When ready to serve, remove the duck from the fat, wipe down and cook in the oven at a high tempreature to brown the skin; the meat should be easily removed from the bone with a spoon or fork. A traditional accompaniment to Duck Confit is lentils, and the best lentils are Puy. The recipe I include below is a favourite of mine, not the one we made in class which lacked celery, wine and parsley. A tip from chef re cooking lentils is not to salt them until after they are cooked, the salt will retard the cooking…who knew?

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Confit Duck with Puy Lentils

The last recipe was a simple Duck Breast Salad with Rocket and Crispy Potatoes. Cooking duck breast is easy, start in a cold heavy based pan over a low heat with the skin side down. Cook slowly for about 10 mins, removing the fat from the pan as it renders. Once the skin is brown and crispy, and the rendering of the fat has slowed, turn the duck over and cook for 5-6 mins over a medium heat. Remove from the pan and rest so as the juices settle into the meat. The salad was made of blanched potatoes which were roasted in duck fat until browned, thinly sliced red onion and rocket with a dressing of sugar, red wine, raspberry vinegar, olive oil & toasted sesame seeds. You could add other things to the salad such as capers, artichokes and/or lightly pickled vegetables…. lovely with a glass of Rosé on a warm afternoon.

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Duck Breast Salad with Salad and Roast Potatoes

I missed this weeks lesson as I was in hospital, and I ‘hope’ to be away with family next week, so there won’t be my usual post next week either. I will have to make up the class by preparing the recipes (grilled spatchcock & roasted poussin) at home and photographing them for Chef to assess my ability… so where as it may be late, there will eventually be a posting of lesson three of Poultry.

Bon Appetit


Kathryn 💙👩‍🍳

Puy Lentils

A simple but tasty dish of the prized green lentils from Le Puy which is in the Auvergne region of France. These lovely little lentils have a very mild peppery last and hold their shape throughout the cooking process. A lovely accompaniment to many poultry dishes. 

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 stick Celery – finely diced (brunoise)
  • 1 medium Carrot – finely diced (brunoise)
  • 1 large Onion – finely diced (brunoise)
  • 1 cloves Garlic – crushed
  • 1 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 250 grams Puy Lentils
  • 250 ml Red Wine (white wine can also be used)
  • 250 ml Beef Stock
  • 1 Bay Leaf (dried)
  • 5 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 3 tbsp Parsley – finely chopped
  1. In a heavy based saucepan, add oil over a medium heat. Add the diced vegetables and cook over a low heat until soft and translucent – about 10 minutes.

  2. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

  3. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in the lentils, bay leaf and thyme and add the wine. Cook over a medium heat until wine is slightly reduced. 

  5. Add the stock and equal quantity of water to ensure the lentils are covered. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and cook lentils for 45 minutes – until liquid is absorbed and lentils are cooked.  

  6. Stir through chopped parsley and serve. 

About kathryninthekitchen

I find joy in all aspects of food and cooking; reading about it, enjoying the offerings of great restaurants and cafe’s, sourcing beautiful produce & transforming it into delicious meals to share with the people I care about. I quite easily lose track of time when I am engaged in my favourite pastime. I have always dreamt of one day training as a cook and 2018 is the year that journey begins. I am excited I have the opportunity to follow my passion and grateful for the support of my family and friends. I hope you enjoy my journey with me as well as other food related detours.
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6 Responses to Poultry Dishes – Lesson 2. Duck, Quail & Puy Lentils.

  1. Terri Biskupek says:

    loved your post as usual but sorry to hear you are in hospital. Speedy recovery my friend. I do love confit duck but have had some very nasty food poisoning in the past which makes me very wary of having it at restaurants. I need to make it at home me thinks. All round great post, duck, quail, lentils whats not to love.
    As for ‘confit tomatoes’ I never did get it.

  2. chef mimi says:

    Wow. I’m so sorry! What terrible timing. Well there’s no good timing for a stay in the hospital. Looks like another whirlwind week of de-boning and cooking! Duck is so wonderful but my husband won’t eat it.

  3. chef mimi says:

    I thought I left a comment… oh well. I’m so sorry about your stay in the hospital. And you’re so busy cooking! Terrible timing. I love duck but don’t bother cooking it because my husband won’t eat it.

  4. Hoping this finds you well and healed! Thank you for the photos of the bird break-down, it’s a lot easier to understand. I hadn’t thought to use the neck skin as a casing before, but will do so in the future.

    • kathryninthekitchen says:

      Thanks so much…I am getting back to health. I am glad the photo’s helped. Let me know how your duck sausage works out 😊

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