Greenwich restaurateur Guy Awford puts the best of autumn on a plate with this Gressingham duck, sweet chestnuts, Jerusalem artichoke & beet slaw recipe

By October autumn has firmly taken hold. Wild mushrooms, pumpkins and game birds bring earthy flavours and gentle tones to our cooking. Towards the end of the month sweet chestnuts begin to fall in large numbers, scattering themselves across parks and woodlands.

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.

Print Gressingham duck, sweet chestnuts, Jerusalem artichoke & beet slaw Prep Time 20 Cook Time 20 Serves 2


2 duck breasts
2 Jerusalem artichokes – peeled, cut into wedges and boiled until tender
8 chestnuts
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 and 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 and chestnuts. Cook for 4 more minutes basting regularly with the rendered duck fat
Remove the duck, artichoke and chestnuts to a warm place to rest for 5 minutes
Pour out the fat, return to the heat and deglaze with the red wine. Add the stock and boil until it reaches a nice sauce consistency
Slice the duck and serve with the beet slaw, scattering over the chestnuts and artichokes
Pour over the pan juices and sprinkle over some chopped spring onions

By Guy Awford

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