Recipe: Caramelised Chestnut Gnocchi, purple sprouting broccoli, pumpkin and Parmesan

PUBLISHED: 11:25 16 January 2017

EXG JAN 17 RECIPE starter flitch

EXG JAN 17 RECIPE starter flitch


Head chef Luke Finegan arrived at the Flitch of Bacon in Great Dunmow in July 2016, moving from London after working for Anthony Demetre at Arbutus in Soho, which held a Michelin star for 10 years

EXG JAN 17 RECIPE starter flitch EXG JAN 17 RECIPE starter flitch

‘Sadly it closed, so I came to Essex after meeting Daniel Clifford. I was raised in Buckinghamshire and we had planned to move out of town and into the countryside at some point, it just came sooner than we thought. We now live in Much Haddam. I moved house, married my wife Vicky and changed jobs all in the same month, so it was pretty testing.

I’m learning my way around Essex now. Luke runs the menus very seasonally. ‘There’s even smaller seasons within a season. I’ve recently made a connection with a local game supplier, so you’ll see that appearing on our January menus.’

Here Luke shares his recipe for an attractive vegetarian starter that serves 8 people:


For the Parmesan cream:

500g whipping cream

150g grated parmesan

Sprig thyme

2 garlic clove


For the gnocchi:

2 large Desiree potatoes

1 egg

50g of ‘00’ pasta flour

50g of chestnut flour

15g of grated parmesan

Grated nutmeg (optional)


For the garnish

1 Delica pumpkin (or butternut squash)



1 packet or can of confit chestnuts

500g of purple sprouting broccoli (blanched and refreshed)

1 head frisse salad (any bitter salad leaves would work)

To prepare the Parmesan cream, bring the cream to a simmer, add the thyme and garlic, then infuse for 30 minutes.

Strain, bring up to the heat again, pour over the Parmesan and blend with a hand blender (you could use a normal blender).

Season with salt and a little lemon juice.

To prepare the gnocchi, bake the potatoes on rock salt at 160C for 1hr 30 minutes until cooked through. While still hot, break open the potatoes and mash them, allow them to steam dry a little but keep the mash warm.

Weigh 330g of mash and combine this with the beaten egg, Parmesan and nutmeg, then season with salt.

Now add the flours to the mix and work the mix a little to form a dough.

On a floured work surface, roll the gnocchi into three long sausages about 2.5 cm wide and cut with a knife to form approximately 30 gnocchi.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the gnocchi until it all floats (approximately one minute) and then place into iced water.

To prepare the garnish, split the pumpkin across lengthwise, season with salt and cover with thyme and garlic. Wrap in foil and bake in an oven at 160C for 45 minutes to an hour until tender.

Scoop out the flesh and reserve. Chop the chestnuts into approxiately 1cm pieces. In a non-stick pan, fry the gnocchi until caramelised on each side, add a little butter and add the chestnuts, and broccoli. Sautee gently and squeeze a little lemon juice into the pan.

Drain on kitchen paper. On the plate, spoon a little of the pumpkin and arrange 4-5 gnocchi per portion, along with the chestnuts and broccoli. Spoon over a little of the Parmesan cream and grate a little more Parmesan on the top. Finish with a little of the dressed frisse salad.

NB: This is a vegetarian dish from our current menu. It makes a lovely starter but also could be a main course. The chestnuts works really well with the flavour of the pumpkin and parmesan.

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The Flitch of Bacon

The Street

Little Dunmow


01371 821660

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