Almond rice and flesh

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This complex, accomplished and historically inspired dish proves why Ashley Palmer-Watts is one of the most respected chefs in the UK. A risotto-like base of almond-flavoured rice is adorned with veal sweetbreads, chicken feet, apple, pickled kohlrabi, saffron mayonnaise and a rich chicken sauce to create a multi-layered dish which delights in every possible way. It's an incredibly in-depth and time-consuming recipe to recreate, so be sure to read it through several times if you're planning to tackle it!

First published in 2019




Veal sweetbreads

Chicken feet

  • 10 chicken feet, washed
  • 1.5l water
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Compressed apple

Pickled kohlrabi

  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 545ml of water
  • 138g of Chardonnay vinegar
  • 10g of sugar
  • 12.5g of salt

Almond rice base

  • 212g of risotto rice, ideally Riserva San Massimo carnaroli rice
  • 17g of extra virgin olive oil, ideally Trea Greek
  • 75g of Chardonnay
  • 325g of vegetable stock

Almond cream

  • 212ml of water, chilled
  • 75g of almonds, peeled

Almond acid butter

  • 200g of almonds, peeled
  • 50g of butter, diced and softened
  • 245g of white wine vinegar
  • 245g of white wine
  • 105g of onion, finely diced
  • almond essence, a few drops, to taste

To finish the rice

Saffron mayonnaise

Chicken glaze

Infused chicken fat

To finish the chicken sauce

To serve


The majority of the elements of this dish can be made in advance a few days beforehand, so if you're planning to tackle this recipe be sure to read it through several times and come up with a plan of action. Before serving you will need to reheat a few elements and finish off the rice and the chicken feet, but everything else can be prepared before serving. To make it easier to follow, we have broken up the recipe into smaller micro-recipes to cover each element. Good luck!
To make the crispy chicken feet: add the water and chicken feet to a pressure cooker, then cover and cook for 1 hour. Remove the lid and leave until cool enough to handle. Remove the talons with a sharp knife, then score down the length of each of the toes on the top side of the foot. Use tweezers to remove all the bones, leaving the sinew and cartilage attached to the skin of the foot, then dehydrate at 60°C (either in a dehydrator or a very low oven with the door open) for 3-4 hours. Cover and chill
To make the compressed apple: core the apple and cut it into 8mm-thick slices (you should get approximately 10 slices in total). Place in a vacuum bag, ensuring each slice is laying flat. Seal and compress, then open the bag and repeat the process several times until the cells in the apple break down. Add the apple juice into the bag with the apples, then seal and compress a final time. Leave in the fridge to infuse for 12 hours. When ready to serve, cut the apple slices into 8mm dice
To make the pickled kohlrabi: combine the water and vinegar in a pan and heat to 90°C. Add the sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve, then place in the fridge to chill. Meanwhile, top and tail the kohlrabi, then cut into 8mm slices. Square the ends off to remove any remaining skin, then cut into 8mm dice – you will need 50 pieces of diced kohlrabi for this recipe. Add the diced kohlrabi to a vacuum bag with enough of the pickling liquor to cover, then seal. Store in the fridge for 12 hours to infuse
  • 545ml of water
  • 138g of Chardonnay vinegar
  • 10g of sugar
  • 12.5g of salt
  • 1 kohlrabi
To make the veal sweetbreads: boil the water and salt together until dissolved. Allow to cool to 40°C, then add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, garlic and black peppercorns. Chill for 48 hours to infuse
Brine the sweetbreads for 1 hour 30 minutes, then rinse and place in a vacuum bag. Seal and cook in a water bath at 65°C for 1.5 hours, then chill in iced water. Remove the sweetbreads from the bags, remove any excess fat and sinew then break them apart into 6g pieces, following the natural seams where possible. Store in the fridge until needed
For the almond rice base: place the vegetable stock in a pan and heat to 95°C. Place a separate pan over a medium-high heat and add the olive oil, followed by the rice. Stir and cook for 1 ½ minutes to toast the rice. Add the white wine to the pan and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until all the wine has evaporated. Add the almost boiling vegetable stock and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly to release the rice starch, then transfer the rice to a large tray in a shallow layer. Transfer the tray to the fridge and chill as quickly as possible – you will need 300g of rice base for this recipe
  • 325g of vegetable stock
  • 17g of extra virgin olive oil, ideally Trea Greek
  • 212g of risotto rice, ideally Riserva San Massimo carnaroli rice
  • 75g of Chardonnay
To make the almond cream: place the almonds and water into a high-powered blender and blitz on the highest speed for 2 minutes. Pass through a double layer of muslin, squeezing the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible. Place the milk into a saucepan over a medium heat, then gently bring it to 90°C. Constantly stir the milk so it doesn’t catch and burn, cook for a few minutes then quickly cool over an ice bath. Store in the fridge until needed – you will need 100g of almond cream for this recipe
  • 212ml of water, chilled
  • 75g of almonds, peeled
To make the almond acid butter: place the vinegar, white wine and onion in a vacuum bag and seal. Leave for 24 hours to infuse, then pass through a fine sieve into a pan, pushing the onion with the back of a ladle to get as much liquid out of it as possible. Place the pan over a medium heat and reduce to around 105g. Set aside in the fridge
  • 245g of white wine vinegar
  • 245g of white wine
  • 105g of onion, finely diced
Place the almonds in a Thermomix and blitz to a fine powder. Add the butter and blitz on speed 8 for 30 seconds, then transfer to a Pacojet container and freeze. Once frozen, blitz the almond mixture in the Pacojet, then freeze again. Repeat this process a total of 4 times, then transfer the almond butter into a metal bowl after the final spin
Weigh out 100g of the onion-infused vinegar reduction and whisk it into the almond butter, then add 1 or 2 drops of the almond oil and whisk to fully disperse. Place the butter into the fridge to chill – you will need 250g of almond acid butter for this recipe
To make the saffron mayonnaise: place the Golles vinegar and the sugar into a small pan and gently heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the Forvm Chardonnay vinegar until incorporated, then heat the mixture until reduced to 15g. Set aside
  • 15g of Chardonnay vinegar, ideally from Forvm
  • 15g of apple vinegar, ideally Gölles vinegar
  • 2.5g of caster sugar, ideally Billingtons
Combine the chilled water and ground saffron and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes, then pass through a muslin cloth and set aside
  • 25ml of water, chilled
  • 1 pinch of saffron, ground
Add the Dijon mustard, salt, egg yolk, garlic paste and lemon juice to a Thermomix jug with a butterfly attachment. Turn it up to setting 5, then slowly pour in 100g of the sunflower oil. Once incorporated, add the infused saffron water and the reduced vinegar, then the remaining sunflower oil. Once fully emulsified, check for seasoning and refrigerate until needed. You will need 180g of saffron mayonnaise for this recipe – any leftover has a shelf life of 3 days
For the chicken glaze, make a roast chicken stock. Preheat an oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Place the chicken wings in single layers on roasting trays, then roast for 1 hour 20 minutes until golden. Transfer to a large pressure cooker, deglazing the trays with a little water, then add the rest of the water. Bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities, then add the thyme, rosemary and bay. Cook on full pressure for 2 hours, then pass through a fine sieve and muslin cloth into a large container. Transfer to the fridge to chill
Once chilled, remove the solid layer of fat on top of the stock and discard. Add to a large pan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce to 600-700ml as quickly as possible, skimming off any scum, then place in the fridge until required
To make the chicken glaze, weigh out 100g of the reduced stock and gently heat to 60°C. Once fully melted, add the lemon juice and whisk. Check the seasoning and keep warm – you will need 50g of glaze for this recipe. Weigh out another 150g of stock for the chicken sauce – the rest can be frozen and used in other dishes
To make the infused chicken fat: preheat an oven to 160°C/gas mark 2. Lay the chicken skin flat on a roasting tray in a single layer and roast for 20–30 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and drain off the rendered fat into an ovenproof saucepan, then return the chicken skins to the oven for a further 10–15 minutes until very crisp. Tip the crisp chicken skins into the pan with the fat, then add the garlic and stir. Cover with tin foil, reduce the temperature of the oven to 170°C and cook the fat for 15 minutes
Remove the pan from the oven and add the bay leaf. Stir and leave to infuse for 20 minutes, then add the thyme leaves and leave for 20 minutes. Add the rosemary and leave for a further 20 minutes, then finally add the sage and leave for a final 20 minutes. Pass the fat through a fine sieve, using a ladle to squeeze as much liquid out as possible, then pass through muslin and chill. You will need 50g of infused chicken fat for this recipe
For the chicken sauce: heat 150g of the reduced chicken stock to 80°C, then add the thyme and infuse for 10 minutes, maintaining the temperature. Add the bay leaf and infuse for a further 5 minutes, then whisk in 50g of the infused chicken fat and lemon juice. Chill until needed – you will need 120g of sauce for this recipe
Finish off the chicken feet and almond rice before serving. Heat a deep-fat fryer or deep pan of oil to 190°C, then deep-fry the chicken feet for a few minutes until puffed and golden. Break them into individual toes – you should have 40 in total. Season and keep warm
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
To finish the rice, place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the chicken bouillon and 300g of the almond rice base. Bring to a simmer, constantly stirring, and allow the stock to reduce. Once the stock has reduced to create a creamy texture, keep tasting the rice until the right texture (tender with a slight bite) is achieved
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 250g of the almond acid butter, then place back over the heat ensuring the mixture doesn’t boil. Add 100g of the almond cream, stirring to emulsify, then taste for seasoning
Now that you have all the required elements for this recipe, you should have the following: 180g of saffron mayonnaise; 50 pieces of pickled kohlrabi; 50 pieces of compressed apple; 1kg of almond rice; 50 pieces of veal sweetbread; the crispy chicken feet; 120g of chicken sauce and 50g of chicken glaze. You will need to gently reheat the chicken sauce, chicken glaze and veal sweetbreads before serving
To plate, ladle 100g of the almond rice into the base of each bowl. Liberally brush the veal sweetbreads with the chicken glaze and place 5 pieces on top of the rice, then arrange 4 crispy chicken toes alongside. Scatter over the kohlrabi, apple, smoked eel and flaked smoked almonds, then drizzle over around 12g of chicken sauce. Pipe dots of the saffron mayonnaise on top of the rice, then finish with the sorrel leaves and smoked olive oil

Only a handful of chefs around the world can cook with the same complexity as Ashley Palmer-Watts, who was an integral part of Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck Group for twenty years. Responsible for creating the two-starred restaurant Dinner by Heston, he has since co-founded Artisan Coffee.

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