Monday, April 5, 2010

Gorgeous Game

I am a big fan of all kinds of game meat and with the arrival of beautiful Autumn produce, it is the perfect time to indulge in both! I had a couple of duck marylands in the freezer and thought I would team these with some lovely organic produce from the Addison Road Organic Market for dinner on Sunday night. I bought a bag of French Charlotte potatoes (a variety I had never tried before), some sugar snap peas, asparagus and a bunch of stunning ruby red beetroot.

I love the earthiness and sweetness of beetroot and it tastes fabulous when cooked until sticky and sweet with balsamic vinegar, lots of nutty roasted garlic and caramelised onions. It is the perfect addition to a dish of simply roasted duck. To prepare the duck, I simply took 2 marylands and rubbed them with garlic salt (made with 2 teaspoons of Maldon sea salt, a pinch of cayenne and 2 crushed cloves of garlic) I let the duck rest for about 2 hours in the fridge, before roasting it gently for about 35 minutes (let it rest for 10 mins before serving) For the sauce, I just used the pan juices, some homemade chicken stock and a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly whisked together and thickened slightly.

Below is the recipe for the caramelised balsamic beetroot - be warned, it is extremely moreish! I like the beetroot in reasonably large chunks, but you can also cut the beetroot small, so that it forms more of a relish. It can be served warm or cold and is great with all kinds of game - venison, duck, rabbit or quail. It will also work well with lamb or roasted pork if you aren't that keen on game.

Here is Sunday night's offering.....

Roasted duck marylands
with roasted balsamic beetroot and redcurrant gravy

Roasted Balsamic Beetroot

You will need:
5 or 6 small, fresh beetroot, 1 large red onion cut into thick slices, 6 cloves garlic peeled and cut into half, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper, generous pinch black pepper.

Cut the stalks from the beetroot and wash them well. Place them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring them to the boil and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Drain the beetroot and run them under cold water. When they are cool enough to handle, gently rub off the outer layer (it will come away easily) Cut the beetroot into quarters.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine the beetroot with all of the other ingredients. Cook for about an hour or until the onion and beetroot caramelises. Give the mixture a stir every 20 minutes or so.

Serve warm or cold with baked or roasted meat.



  1. As you're a home cook, why haven't you entered "Master Chef'?

  2. I did think about it,but the time committment they ask for is HUGE. Even if I did get through, I don't think I could sustain the whole "it's my dream to work in the food industry" focus that they seem to want in contestants. If I did, I would just be lying. I have absolutely no desire for the crazy life that the industry demands - I know from past experience working in it that there is a reason why most chefs are mad! ;) And to be honest, after Julie won last year, it lost a lot of cred as far as I'm concerned. A bit of cynical marketing excercise and less about cooking in the end. I did love watching the challenges and Masterclasses though! Actually, my dream job would be a combo cooking show/chat show!