Heston's mushroom and chestnut veloute with confit duck

Fragrant shredded duck surrounded by velvety soup suffused with the earthy, autumnal flavours of mushroom and chestnut – the perfect winter warmer. 

  • Preparation time: 50 minutes, plus brining
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes, plus 18 hours for the confit
  • Total time: 2 hour 10 minutes, plus brining and 18 hours for the confit

Serves: 6 - 8

Ingredients

For the duck:

10 juniper berries
3 star anise
10g fennel seeds
10g coriander seeds
1 lemon, zest
1 orange, zest
150g salt
4 duck legs
800g cooks’ ingredients

For the goose fat:

2 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, bashed

For the soup: 

150g unsalted butter
4 smoked streaky bacon rashers, chopped
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
600g button mushrooms, quartered
250g white port
200g madeira
1kg heston from Waitrose

For the chicken stock:

4 thyme sprigs
250g vacuum-packed peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
100g double cream
500g semi-skimmed milk
5g sherry vinegar to serve
40g blanched hazelnuts
1⁄4 orange, finely grated zest
50g vacuum-packed peeled chestnuts, thinly sliced 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 ̊C, gas mark 4. Put the juniper berries, star anise, fennel and coriander seeds on a tray and roast for 5 minutes. Cool completely, then blitz in a spice grinder or food processor to a powder. Mix with the lemon and orange zest and salt. Rub this mixture onto the duck legs and place in a covered container in the fridge for 24 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 70 ̊C. Rinse the legs thoroughly; pat dry with kitchen paper and place in a casserole dish into which they fit tightly. To confit the legs, melt the goose fat in a saucepan so it is liquid but not hot, then pour over the legs, making sure they are completely submerged in the fat. Add the thyme and bashed garlic, cover the dish and place in the oven for 18 hours.

3. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Remove the legs, then strain the fat; chill it and reserve
for a later use. Shred the meat from the duck legs using 2 forks. Cover and chill until ready to use.

4. For the soup, put the butter in a pan over a medium heat, whisking continuously, until the solids turn golden brown and give off a nutty aroma. Take the pan off the heat immediately and strain the butter through a coffee filter; discard the solids. Set aside 1/3 of the brown butter to finish the bowls. Put the remaining brown butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shallot
and leek, then sweat until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white port and madeira, simmering until it has reduced to a syrupy consistency.

5. Add the chicken stock and thyme, then bring to a simmer. Add the chestnuts, simmering for a further 20 minutes. Add the cream and milk, then simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Blitz the soup with a hand blender or in a blender until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve. Return to the pan, add the sherry vinegar and season.

6. To serve, preheat the oven to 180 ̊C, gas mark 4. Put the hazelnuts on a roasting tray and cook for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Cool, then blitz in the small bowl of a food processor to a coarse powder.

7. Brush the inside rim (about 2cm deep) of 6-8 soup bowls with the remaining brown butter and coat with the hazelnut powder. In a bowl, mix the shredded duck meat with the orange zest, then place about 1 tbsp duck meat mixture in the centre of each bowl. Place a couple of slices of chestnut on top.

8. Heat the soup in a pan over a medium heat. Once hot, using a hand blender, aerate the soup for 1 minute to make it light and frothy. Pour the frothy soup into the bowls on top of the shredded duck at the table.