Glazed bacon knuckle with chestnut baked potato and cavalo nero

Allegra McEvedy's hearty winter dish combines the earthy flavours of chestnut and cavalo nero with savoury, caramelised bacon knuckle
By Allegra McEvedy
Glazed bacon knuckle with chestnut baked potato and cavalo nero
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the bacon knuckle

  • 1.2 kg bacon knuckle
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 handfuls mixed herbs, (thyme, rosemary, parsley)
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns

For the glaze

  • 125 ml cider vinegar
  • 125 ml maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp English mustard

For the chestnut baked potato

  • 2 large baking potatoes, (Russet or Estima)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 50 g butter
  • 100 ml full-fat milk
  • 80 g chestnut purée
  • 1 pinches nutmeg

For the cavalo nero

  • 200 g cavolo nero, cut into 5cm thick ribbons
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 clove garlic, sliced

To serve

  • 1 small handfuls flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • apple sauce

Tips and Suggestions

Any remaining knuckle meat can be used as a base for a pea and ham soup.


1. For the bacon knuckle: place all of the knuckle ingredients into a large pan and add enough water to cover the knuckle by at least an inch. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 hours, or until the knuckle is very tender.

2. After the knuckle has been cooking for 2 hours, preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

3. For the chestnut baked potatoes: wet the outsides of the potatoes with water and sprinkle over the sea salt. Place onto a baking tray and roast for 1 hour 30 minutes, turning the temperature down to 180C/gas 4 after the first half hour, until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven and turn the oven back up to 220C/gas 7.

4. Halve the potatoes to let the steam out. Place the butter and milk into a pan and gently heat until the butter is melted, then scoop out the potato flesh and add to the pan. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy. Season with nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper, then set aside and keep warm.

5. When the knuckle is ready, gently lift it out of the cooking liquid and place onto a small roasting tray to cool. Let the stock continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until reduced by half.

6. For the glaze: place all of the glaze ingredients into a small pan, stir well and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until reduced by three-quarters to a syrupy consistency.

7. Gently peel the skin off the knuckle. Cut the skin into four pieces, score with the tip of a sharp knife then place onto a rack set over a non-stick tray in the oven. Season well with sea salt.

8. Place the knuckle flesh onto a separate roasting pan and spoon the glaze over. Place into the oven along with the skin. Roast for 10-15 minutes, basting the knuckle occasionally with the pan juices and glaze, until the skin is golden-brown and crisp like crackling and the glaze is bubbling. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest.

9. For the cavalo nero: cook the cavalo nero in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, then place the pan back on the hob over a medium heat. Once the excess water has evaporated, add the olive oil and fry the garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add the drained cavalo nero, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir. Put the lid on, turn the heat to low and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.

10. To serve, divide the knuckle and crackling between two serving plates. Spoon the cavalo nero and chestnut baked potato on the side, then pour over the reduced stock. Garnish with chopped parsley and apple sauce, if using.

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