A delightful vegetarian starter for seasonal menus!
Can be made vegan*
Preparation: 15 mins
Cooking: 20 mins (plus up to 2 hours chilling)
For the bonbons:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 shallots, roughly chopped
150g kale, roughly chopped
225g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
225g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 free-range egg, beaten (*for a vegan version substitute 1 tbsp gram flour mixed with 3 tbsp water)
For the coating:
100g plain white flour
2 free-range eggs, beaten (*for a vegan version substitute 2 tbsp gram flour mixed with 6 tbsp water)
For deep-frying the bonbons:
1 litre vegetable oil
For the cherry sauce:
20 fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
20g caster sugar
2 sprigs thyme
1 lemon, juiced
A few small sprigs of watercress
To make the bonbons:
- Fry the shallots in oil over a medium heat for a few minutes until soft. Add the kale, chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan. Season then cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, cool slightly then place in a food processor with the egg (or vegan substitute). Pulse to bring together, leaving a little texture. Place in the fridge to chill.
- Once chilled, divide the mixture into 12 and roll into balls.
- Place the breadcrumbs, plain white flour and egg (or vegan substitute) into 3 separate bowls. Coat each of the bonbons in flour, then the beaten egg followed by the breadcrumbs.
- Heat the oil in a large, wide, sturdy pan (no more than half full) to 180°C. Fry the bonbons until the outside is golden. You may need to do this in batches. Once cooked, drain the bonbons on kitchen towel.
To make the cherry sauce:
- Place the cherries in a pan with the sugar and thyme then bring to a simmer. Cook until the cherries have broken down and a syrup has formed.
- Remove the thyme and stir in the lemon juice. Blend into a smooth purée.
- Serve the bonbons with the cherry sauce on the side and garnish with a few sprigs of watercress.
Recipe and images ©The Vegetarian Society