Blueberries burst on to the British culinary scene around ten years ago, when sales of these little spheres of goodness overtook raspberries for the first time. Despite being introduced in to the UK in 1952, sales had remained at around 1000 tons per annum until around 2006, when they were discovered as a superfood. We now buy around 15000 tons a year. That’s quite an increase!
Why should this be? Well for a start they taste amazing, a mix of sweet and tart, and with something unmistakably, well, blueberry. They also have a shelf life that is much longer than our native berries, so they’re a popular choice for profit driven supermarkets. Blueberries are also incredibly versatile. They are stunning on their own as a healthy snack and divine in a range of bakes, chutneys and savoury dishes. Oh, and did I mention that they’re a superfood? All in all, this little purple power pack is incredible.
- Blueberries are native to North America. They did not arrive in Europe until the 1930s.
- Blueberries contain Vitamin K which helps to build strong bones and ward off heart disease.
- They may protect against memory loss
- They can be used as a natural food dye. Legend has it that early American colonists boiled them with milk to make grey paint, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s Fruits & Veggies More Matters campaign.
- The perfect blueberry should be dusty in colour
Blueberries are used in many ways at the Hundred House. One of the most unusual is in our Smoked Duck dish. The blueberries take the place of more traditional fruit pairings, and fulfill the role of cutting through the richness of the succulent duck in a unique way. It really is a dish to devour, and a perfect lead in to autumn dining
This gorgeous recipe features in the Made in Shropshire recipe book which showcases delicious food from around our beautiful county.
Apple smoked Duck with Duck Croquette roast beetroot, horseradish cream and rainbow chard
Duck Confit Croquettes
(Serves 6- 10)
2 Confit Duck Legs, approximately 600g
100g Button Mushrooms
2 Teaspoons fuinely chipped French shallots
2 tablespoons Olive oil
250ml whipped cream
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
Plain flour, for dusting breadcrumbs, for coating vegetable oil, for deep frying
- Preheat the oven to 210C (Gas 6-7).
- Warm the duck legs in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove the skin and finely slice, then sweat in a small frying pan over medium heat, cooking until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Debone the legs and put the meat with a small glass of water in the frying pan. Cook slowly over low heat until the liquid has evaporated. Shred meat with fork and set aside.
- Wash and finely chop the mushrooms. Place the olive oil in the frying pan with the shallots and cook until golden brown. Season generously and add the cream. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then pour into a bowl and set aside. Add the shredded duck meat, skin and chives to the mushroom mixture. Adjust seasoning to taste, cover and place in the fridge until cool.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl. Lightly flour your hands then shape small amount of the duck and mushroom mixture into croquettes by rolling between the palms of your hands. Coat in the egg then roll in the breadcrumbs. Coat again in eggs and breadcrumbs. Place in the fridge.
2 Large White Onions, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
½ head of celery, chopped
3 garlic bulbs, split, peeled and chopped
8 allspice berries
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
6 bay leaves
45g coffee beans
5 litres of water
- Make the brine one day ahead. Sweat in a saucepan the vegetables and herbs together gently without colour for 15 minutes. Roasted the spices at 180c for 5 minutes in a tray. Add the herbs and spices, salt, sugar and water to the pan, bring to a simmer for 45 minutes, then chill
- Pour the brine over the duck breasts and leave overnight in the fridge. Remove duck breast from liquid, pat dry with clean cloth then smoke over apple wood for 1.5 hours in a Bradley or similar style smoker
- Place duck breast, skins side down in a dry frying pan over a low heat. Then gentle heat will render the fat from the breast and brown the skin.
- After a few minutes turn over and place in overn for 5- 8 minutes at 185C
- Rest in a warm spot for at least 6 minutes. Meanwhile bake croquettes at 185C till golden
- To serve cut croquettes in half and serve thinly sliced breast with roast beetroot, chard, potatoes puree, horseradish cream and duck jus