Sunday roasts bring in that weekly dose of happiness. It’s one of those genius recipes that sound complex but is actually relatively easy to prepare for nourishing healthy meals. A useful investment in time that can produce very tasty yet healthy and nutritious meals for kids. Read on for tips from your London children’s dietitian on how to modify classics for that health tick.
Sometimes Sundays are the only opportunity that families have to catch up over a sit down meal. It’s a happy hour, exchanging details over the week’s events and the plans ahead for the following week. I love these moments with mine. For this weekend, I decided to try out something new. It has been several years since I’ve attempted to roast a duck. A casual chat discussing recipes with a lovely French lady sparked interest and here we are. Roast duck with thyme and honey.
I followed the instructions from Gessingham but instead of basting the duck with it’s own fat I prepared a stock in advance using the giblets that the duck was delivered in. Delia’s instructions for preparing a duck stock was handy for this. I didn’t use any celery, but instead threw in twigs of thyme and a red onion. I also prepped the duck beforehand with sea salt and showerings of herbes de provence from the South of France.
Here’s my modified duck roast recipe with tips for healthy meals for kids and the whole family.
DUCK STOCK RECIPE
1 red onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
All ingredients were brought to boil, simmered then set aside to prepare the gravy.
1 1/2 tablespoons plain flour (use gluten free if required)
Shot of port and Chambord (optional)
Whisk all ingredients together until you have a smooth gravy sauce. If you plan to add wine or a shot of port as I did, make sure that you set aside some gravy for the kids before you add any alcohol.
1.8kg whole duck
2 large garlic bulbs
1 red onion
2-3 shallots (peeled only)
Herbes de provence
3 teaspoons honey
1kg roasting potatoes
Serves 4 adults and a toddler (with plenty of left-overs)
The duck was initially slathered in a little sea salt, lots of herbes de provence and some fresh thyme. After 45 minutes, the garlic, onion, shallots and potatoes were thrown in with stock. This recipe is also naturally egg, soy and gluten free, particularly if you use a gluten free flour for thickening your gravy e.g. cornflour. For a milk free recipe, instead of butter use a vegetable based margarine when preparing your gravy.
Dessert was fresh fruit salad with ice cream.
TOP TIPS FOR A HEALTHY ROAST
- Consider draining the fat from the roast half-way through cooking and replace with stock to ensure that your roast remains moist
- You could remove the skin before roasting but ensure that you cover with foil or use a roasting bag to avoid the meat from drying up
- Instead of butter which is a saturated fat, use a vegetable oil to roast vegetables (also see Top Five Fats For Healthy Kids)
- Serve your roast with a salad on the side (I prepared a salad with baby spinach, tomatoes and spring onions). This way hungry bellies have yummy vegetables to fill up on.
- Use your favourite herbs such as thyme or rosemary to boost flavour. You won’t need as much salt or added fats for flavour if you do this.
- Some cuts of meat are quite high in fat. If a recipe calls for adding butter or other fats to the roast, refrain from doing so if you can. There is plenty of hidden fat within the muscle fibres of a bird or cut of meat. This should be adequate for cooking the meat. Just remember to check on your roast often and baste in it’s own juices or a stock to keep the meat succulent and moist.
- Use left-overs to prepare sandwiches or keep for lunch the next day (yum)
- For more tips on preparing a healthy roast see tips from British Heart Foundation.
My favourite herb thyme
My favourite ingredient in this recipe chambord & port (shhhh !)
Favourite oil for roasting olive oil
Potato King Edward
Delicious rating incredible
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