Recipe with: Philip Utz at The Hoop in Stock

HAVING taken over the lease of the Hoop at the end of last year, Philip Utz and partner, Michelle Corrigan, have found time has flown as they establish regular custom with their typically English pub in Stock. Philip is head chef and Michelle looks after front of house. The thorough refurbishment has included a new kitchen and created a new dining area upstairs called the Oak Room Restaurant, aptly-named with plenty of original oak beams, oak flooring and oak tables. The oak beams were reclaimed from warships lying in dock at Tilbury more than 400 years ago. Steering away from fine dining, the Oak Room Restaurant has a relaxed, friendly feel and an original rustic menu featuring several one-pot dishes such as cassoulet, slow-braised shin of beef with red wine, coq au vin, and slow-braised lamb shank. Philip is a great fan of the flavours that develop in slow cooking using cast-iron Le Creuset casserole dishes. The style of the menu is mainly classic English dishes along with other European dishes. Downstairs in the bar a menu of well made, traditional hearty pub food such as homemade pies, fat chips, jam roll, and crumbles all reflect the pubs Englishness. Quenching thirsts certainly hasn't been neglected either, The Hoop being very much a traditional freehouse with real ales. Six cask ales are on offer, including Adnams and The Hoop's own unique brew, Hoop, Stock and Barrel, which is especially brewed by Brentwood brewery. With two draft ciders, perries and wines, all tastes are catered for. After studying at Thurrock College, Philip secured a job at the acclaimed five-star Lanesborough Hotel in the West End, where he stayed for nine years working with his mentor, Paul Gayler. A move to Hertfordshire's Auberge du Lac established Philip's reputation, so much so that he garnered an AA Rosette for each year in his subsequent move to the Bear in Stock. It will be a busy summer with events such as the largest independent beer festival held over ten days from May 25 to June 4, featuring nearly 100 real ales. Philip and Michelle are also starting to organise wine tastings, as well as taking bookings for parties and celebrations. In the meantime why not enjoy time with your family or friends serving the following recipe developed by Philip Utz in The Hoop's kitchens. Slow-roasted duck leg with green Puy lentil salad Ingredients Marinade for duck 1 orange zest 100g salt 100g sugar 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves 4 duck legs 400g green Puy lentils 100g pancetta 2 banana shallots 2 garlic cloves 4 tsp fresh thyme leaves 4 medium carrots - small dice 4 tsp fresh chopped parsley 1ltr duck fat 1ltr light beef stock or chicken stock Method1. Marinade the duck legs by mixing together the orange zest, salt, sugar and thyme leaves. Rub the marinade into the duck legs and allow flavours to develop for up to two days in the fridge before rinsing marinade off in cold water. 2. Place the duck legs in a small casserole and cover with the duck fat. Cook in the oven for 1 to 2 hours at 170C. After 1 hours the duck legs should be soft to the touch. Leave a little longer if not. Remove from oven and allow legs to cool in the duck fat. 3. Gently fry the chopped shallots, garlic and thyme in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a small ladle of the duck fat. After a couple of minutes add the lentils and cook for a further five minutes. Add the carrots, cover with the stock and leave on a medium heat, stirring occasionally. 4. Slice the pancetta into 1cm dice and fry in a separate pan until crispy. Add the pancetta to the lentils. Add further stock to the lentils, while cooking, as needed. The lentils are cooked when they are tender, but not mushy, and the sauce should thicken slightly. 5. To serve, reheat the duck legs in a 200C oven for 6 to 8 minutes and then transfer under a grill to crisp the skin. 6. Place a large spoon of the lentils into the middle of a bowl. Place the crisped duck leg on top and sprinkle with the chopped parsley to finish.

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