May 2nd 2018 – Gousto Box (Slow-Roast Duck, Braised Red Cabbage and Dauphinoise Potatoes)
I know I’ve left it a bit late to post about this, but I think it remains valid given that once every 4-6 weeks I order us a Gousto box, usually after I’ve been away and I don’t want to come back and have to think about food shopping and/or defrosting stuff from the freezer. And sometimes, if we’re feeling extravagant and I need to cook something on a Sunday for us, I’ll splash out and go for one of their “fine dining” choices. This was the first one I’d tried. It contained duck in a red wine jus, dauphinoise potatoes, and red cabbage, several of my favourite things there all in just one dish.
I followed the instructions relatively closely (I have always believed that unless you are baking a recipe is just a set of guideline), because I’ve found over the last couple of year that in the main Gousto’s recipes work, no exception. The same cannot be said for Hello Fresh sadly (4 minutes to crisp the skin of a duck breast? Really?) but with Gousto you are in safe hands. I’m pretty sure anyone with a basic grasp of cookery could use them; however, I do think for these high end recipes you do need to have some confidence in your skills. I rounded everything up and started with the potatoes, as per the comprehensive instructions. Potatoes and an onion were thinly sliced using a mandolin, and placed in a suitable roasting dish (of which I seem to have far too many – apart from at Christmas when they all get used). I wanted to get them in the oven as soon as I could because I was looking at what the card suggested was a cooking time of 90 minutes.
Anyway, the next step was to make up the stock supplied in the pack, and pour it over the potatoes then put them in the oven to start cooking. This was done prior to getting the duck ready for the oven by coating it in 5-spice mix and making sure it was well-seasoned.
With both of those dishes in the oven and the smell driving me mad, it was time to get onto the preparation of the red cabbage, and the apple that would be cooked with it. Grate the apple, they said. If I’d been using my own red cabbage recipe, then there would have been no need to grate it, just chop it up and let it cook down. However, this would take a lot less cooking at just 30 minutes.
The last real job was to make the jus, which involved quite a lot of stirring but was simple enough. I’m quite impressed by the little red wine sachets meant just for cooking, because it means you don’t have to open a whole bottle just to get 100mls or so of wine. On the other hand, you don’t then have an open bottle of red wine. I can see pros and cons in this situation!
All that remained was to wait for everything to finish cooking, and then simply plate it up and demolish it. When the timer went off, I have to say I had the best-looking portion of potato dauphinoise I’ve ever made. Usually they come out looking a bit sad, but not this time.
The duck was cooked perfectly too, and was tender and falling off the bone.
All in all I’d call it a resounding success, and as a further plus the recipe cards supplied mean you can easily recreate the dish another time without needing to buy a Gousto box. I’ve tried a variety of companies now, and it’s Gousto all the way for me, though I occasionally go back to Hello Fresh if they offer a discount. I’ve also tried Simply Cook, but really that’s just a batch of seasonings, and you still have to go and round up all the other ingredients.