8 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp ground allspice
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
4 duck leg quarters
duck fat, vegetable oil or olive oil, to cover the legs
1 cup french green lentils
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp chopped shallot
1 cup fresh mushrooms (such as button, cremini, shiitake, oyster), cleaned and sliced
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 cups baby spinach, or arugula
1 tsp white or black truffle oil
1First make the confit spice: Grind the kosher salt with the bay leaves, peppercorns and dried thyme in a spice grinder until a fairly fine powder. Stir in the remaining ground spices. Coat both sides of the duck legs with the spice mixture, then refrigerate the duck legs overnight, loosely covered. The extra spice will keep, covered tightly, in your pantry for up to 6 months.
2Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Pat the duck legs dry, then heat 1/4 inch of duck fat or other oil of choice in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Carefully add the duck legs, skin side down, and sear until a deep mahogany brown. Turn and sear the other side, then remove to a deep baking dish. Completely submerge the legs in the fat or oil, cover with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 2 to 3 hours. To test the duck, insert a skewer or fork into the meat - you should feel no resistance. Let the legs cool in the fat, then refrigerate until needed.
3Cook the lentils in gently simmering, salted water to cover until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool. Sprinkle with the sherry vinegar and set aside.
4To finish the dish: Reheat the duck legs skin side up in a 350 degree oven until hot through - approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the shallot, season with salt and pepper and saute until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook to brown lightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for just a minute, then add the white wine and the stock.
5Bring the mixture to a simmer and taste for seasoning. When the mushrooms are tender, add the cooked lentils to the pan. When hot fold in the spinach and the truffle oil and serve immediately, with a duck leg on top.
This looks long, but you make it in stages and the end result is absolutely worth the wait!
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