To prepare the lentils, place them in a saucepan with cold water to cover, bring to the boil, then strain. Cover with fresh water, bring to the boil again and simmer until almost cooked (about 10 minutes, depending on the age of the lentils). Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large pan, add the shallots, lardons, thyme and bay leaves and cook until the shallots are softened but not coloured. Add the lentils and, if necessary, a little of the duck stock to moisten. Continue cooking until tender, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
To prepare the duck, season the breasts and fry, skin side down, in a dry pan at a medium to low heat until the fat runs and the skin is crispy. Pour off the fat as it is produced. Turn the breasts and briefly cook the other side. Remove, season again and set aside to rest in warm place.
To make the sauce, deglaze the pan with a little Sauternes, and reduce to about
To serve, carve the duck breasts, place the lentils in the centre of 4 heated dinner plates, arrange the duck on top of the lentils, and pour the sauce around. Add a few roasted shallots and wild mushrooms, to garnish.
© 1995 Kit Chapman. All rights reserved.