Chestnut Veloute with Potted Duck and a Poacher’s Pickle Chutney (serves 12)
Chestnuts are rarely used in the UK for cooking, except occasionally when found roasting by the fire at Christmas. In France however they can’t get enough of them and are almost always found in both supermarkets and local markets. Unlike other nuts, chestnuts have a high starch and water content but have low protein and fat levels. This makes chestnuts ideal for soups as the starch acts as a natural thickener rather than using flour (traditional thickeners like flour often mask the natural flavour of ingredients). The below recipe is a real classic at The Tasty Ski Company and is served with potted duck and Poacher’s Pickle.
10 star anise
7 juniper berries
3 cinnamon sticks
8 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
Zest ¾ lemon, finely grate
Zest ¾ orange, finely grated
3 duck legs
250g duck fat
3 sprigs of rosemary
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Put the star anise, juniper berries, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns and bay leaves on a tray and roast for 5 minutes.
Blitz the spice mix then mix in the thyme, zests and salt. Rub the mix over the duck legs and place in a sealed container for 24 hours in the fridge.
Rinse the legs in cold water for 20 minutes then pat dry.
Put the duck legs in a roasting tray with the rosemary and cover with oil. Place in an oven at 80 degrees for 16 hours. Remove and let cool at room temperature. Remove the legs and shred the meat. Blitz the fat and cooking juices. Pour the liquid back over the shredded meat.
4 slices smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 banana shallot, finely sliced
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
4 sprigs of thyme
200g dry Madeira
250g white port
1kg white chicken stock
400g vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
100g double cream
200g semi-skimmed milk
Melt the brown butter in a pan on a medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes until golden. Add the shallot, leek and thyme, continue to cook until vegetables are soft.
Increase the heat to high, add the madeira and port and reduce the liquid to a syrup.
Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the chestnuts and simmer for 20 minutes, adding the cream and milk after 15 minutes.
Blitz then pass through a fine sieve.
Pour into bowls and finish with a drop of sherry vinegar (or any vinegar) and a swirl of olive oil.
Grill the slices of bread, while gently warming the potted duck. Add the duck on top of the grilled bread then top with the chutney.