Low in calories but rich in minerals, vitamins and nutrients, chestnuts are a sweet and delicate seasonal treat. They are particularly good roasted with a rich meat, such as duck; as the fat renders out from under the skin it soaks into the chestnuts, making them ridiculously tasty.
A beet slaw makes a great accompaniment to roast duck. Don’t be tempted to make it more than an hour in advance; you want a marked contrast between the crunchy raw vegetables and the creamy mayo. Slice a small red onion, a quarter of a red cabbage, two beetroots, and two carrots as thin as you can. Season with salt, and leave in a colander for an hour. Pat dry with kitchen paper and fold in enough mustard mayonnaise to lightly coat the vegetables. A squeeze of lemon will cut through the richness and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin and coriander seeds will add some welcome crunch and a burst of flavour.
Gressingham Duck, Sweet Chestnuts, Jerusalem Artichoke, Beet Slaw – serves 2
2 duck breast – ask your butcher to score the skin to allow the fat to be released
2 Jerusalem artichoke – peeled, cut into wedges & boiled until tender
½ glass red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 spring onion – finely sliced
- Before cooking the duck allow it to come to room temperature.
- Season generously & cook, skin side down, in a lightly oiled frying pan over a medium heat for 6 minutes. The skin should be a golden brown.
- Turn the duck breasts over, adding the artichokes & chestnuts.
- Cook for 4 more minutes basting regularly with the rendered duck fat.
- Remove the duck, artichoke & chestnuts to a warm place to rest for 5 minutes.
- Pour out the fat, return to the heat & deglaze with the red wine. Add the stock & boil until it reaches a nice sauce consistency.
- Slice the duck & serve with the beet slaw, scattering over the chestnuts & artichoke.
Pour over the pan juices & sprinkle over some chopped spring onions.