Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Chicken, bacon, new potato and asparagus pie

This is a really simple, cheap and tasty dish. The asparagus can be supplemented for other vegetables (spinach, peas and chopped green beans are all good alternatives) or simply leave them out and add the amount of leeks. If you are adding the asparagus, then cook this dish in the early summer months when the English asparagus is available. This serves 6.

You need to make a portion of chicken stock (see techniques) and reserve the flesh.

4 rashers of un-smoked streaky bacon
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large or 2 medium sized leeks finely sliced
1 onion finely sliced
75g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
Small glass of white wine (preferably something fruity)
12 asparagus stalks
 6 medium sized new potatoes, boiled till cooked, but not soft

Lightly fry a knob of the butter in a small drop of vegetable oil. Sweat the onion for 5 minutes until softened and then add the rest of the butter. When this is melted add the flour a table spoon at a time and keep stirring. When all the flour is incorporated, leave this cooking lightly for another minute. Now slowly add the chicken stock, a ladel at a time. This will solidify the mixture at first, but keep adding and stirring until there is a loose sauce created.

In a separate pan, lightly fry the bacon in a little oil, when it starts lightly crisping add the garlic, cook this for a minute then add the leeks and a lot of black pepper (bacon, leeks and black pepper is one of my favourite flavour combinations.) Keep cooking until the leeks start to soften, then de-glaze the pan with the white wine and reduce to kill the alcohol; now add to the chicken stock, making sure to scrape all of the pan.

Add the chicken to this  mixture and slowly warm through. Heat a griddle pan, then griddle the asparagus to give some good char marks, but retains some bite (this can be done under the grill, just don't soften  too much.) The asparagus can then be added to the chicken and finished with a few more minutes cooking. Now check the salt levels, the bacon will naturally add its own salt, so this should be done at the end. For extra richness you can also add cream at this stage, although it's not a necessity.

To finish the dish, pre-heat a grill, transfer the chicken mixture to an oven proof dish, slice the new potatoes length ways, overlap on top of the dish until it covers the mixture, then season and smear on softened butter. Now place under the grill until the potatoes brown.

This is a full meal in itself, just needs some bread and the rest of the wine to enjoy.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Classic Sandwiches - 1,Beef Po' Boy

Sandwiches should be far more than a simple add on to a menu, quickly thrown together with no thought. In the deli we take care in putting together a list of sandwiches that balance flavours and textures. We also take care in picking the right bread to go with each one, this is vital. We use a baker in Birkdale (The Dutch Bakery) who produce properly made bread, fresh every day with a texture you can't get from supermarket alternatives.

Beef Po Boy
This is a version of a recipe taken from the website.

Makes at least four sandwiches.
Kilo of beef brisket or skirt
1/2 Table spoon cayenne pepper
Table spoon white pepper
Table spoon black pepper
2 Table spoon dried oregano
1/2 Table spoon chilli flakes
 Baguette (please don't use super market versions, they're awful)
Iceberg lettuce
Cherry tomatoes
Dijon Mustard (English is too much of a battle)
Mayonnaise (Helman's is my choice, always)
Jalapeno peppers and gherkins (optional)

Dry fry the spices and herbs in a casserole or deep frying pan (with a lid) for a minute. Then add the beef, turn over in the spice mix and cover in water. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of hours with the lid on. It should be softened, but not quite falling apart.

Take out the beef and raise the temperature, reduce the liquid till by half. While this is reducing, warm the oven to medium and slice the beef. Cut across the grain of the meat. Add the slices to a baking tray and top with the cooking liquid (generously,) cook in the oven for half an hour. Take out and check the meat and juice, top up if it is drying out, keep cooking till the beef is falling apart.

Slice 1/3 of baguette (toasted) with dijon on 1 side and mayo on the other. Add lettuce, chopped tomatoes and (if you like) jalapeno peppers and sliced gherkins. Now add the beef and the gravy, this should be a messy eating experience.

Try with a Sierra Nevada Stout. Light enough not to over power the sandwich, but enough going on to still taste the beer.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Pork, Morcilla and Chickpea Stew

This is a version of a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe. It's worth searching out Morchilla for this as it does have a totally different taste and texture to English black pudding. There's a particularly good Spanish deli in Liverpool,  which has a great selection of traditional cheese and meat.

1/4 bag of dried chickpeas (soaked overnight and then cooked till soft)
or 2 tins of chick peas 
2 medium onions, sliced finely
1 tea spoon Thyme
2 carrot diced
2 stick of celery diced
2 garlic cloves
1 kg pork shoulder cubed
300g Morcilla chopped
Glass dry sherry/dry wine
700ml chicken stock
2 bay leaf
3 handfuls curly kale
1 lemon
2 chillis (use depending on heat tolerance)
chopped parsley

 Add the garlic to a cold pan with 2 table spoons of cooking olive oil, put on a low heat then fry the onions and chilli till soft; then add the thyme, carrot and celery and soften; put to the side. Add more olive oil if needed (not much) then brown the pork shoulder (do this in batches, you don't want to over crowd the pan as this will just steam it and never add any colour) and add to the veg. Brown the Morcilla and set aside.

Add the sherry/wine to the warm pan, making sure to scrape the bottom, then add the pork and veg back in. Add the bay leaf and top up with stock till it just covers the ingredients, season and simmer. After half an hour add the chickpeas, half an hour later, check the pork is tender and then add the Morcilla and kale, simmer till the kale  softens. Add the juice of a lemon to cut through some of the fat and check for seasoning.

Although this dish screams out for a Ribera Del Duero, it equally could stand up to a strong beer with a bitter finish, a Duvel would work very well.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Chick Pea curry

This is an idea that was put to me by one of our customers in the deli. We transformed our chicken, potato and spinach curry recipe for it. The first version was originally an idea by Anjum Anand. This dish followed me around a number of festivals this year, I can make it in my sleep.

Table spoon Garam Masala
Table spoon Cumin seed (roasted and ground)
Table spoon coriander seed (roasted and ground)
3" piece of ginger (chopped finely)
Table spoon dried chilli (this should be quite a spicy curry, drop the amounts if it's too much)
1/2 table spoon turmeric
3 cloves of garlic (crushed in sea salt)
2 table spoons ghee (or clarified unsalted butter)
6 table spoons of pasatta or chopped tomatoes
2 medium sized onions sliced thinly
300ml of chicken or chick pea water
1 large or 2 medium sweet potato (peeled, cubed and roasted)
3 handfuls of spinach roughly chopped
1 tin or 1/3 of a bag of dried chick peas (if dried, they need to have been soaked and boiled completely)
Plain yogurt
1 lemon (optional)
Bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks separated
Bunch of chopped parsley (optional)

Start by adding all the spices to a heavy based pan/casserole. Dry cook these on a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the ghee and garlic, good hit of black pepper, sea salt and finely chopped stalks of coriander. Slow cook these for another minute and add the onions. Coat in all the spices, and slowly cook till they soften. Add the tomatoes and slow cook for another couple of minutes. Add the stock (or for a fully vegetarian version, the chick pea water) and reduce this by a third.
Check this sauce now for seasoning and when you're happy add the chick peas and sweet potato. After coating these in the sauce, add the spinach. After 30 seconds this will start to break down, now add about a table spoon or 2 of yogurt. This needs to be quite sharp, to balance the sweetness of the potato and the blandness of the chickpeas (add the juice of a lemon if you think it needs more.) Finally add the coriander leaves and parsley (if using.) I like the greenness this big hit of herbs gives it, however this can be scaled down by leaving out the parsley if you prefer.

This is great served with chapattis and a citrusy beer, an English IPA or a decent wheat beer.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Pancetta Wrapped Coley with Beurre Blanc and fine beans

Coley is, unfortunately, an ugly fish. However, it has a great meaty texture and is a good alternative to Cod. When wrapped in pancetta, the grey colour is hidden and you have a great meal with a reasonably priced fish.

2 decent sized fillets of coley (skinned and pin boned)
4 rashers of pancetta
1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
2 shallots (finely diced)
1 lemon
50ml white wine vinegar
100ml white wine
100g unsalted butter from the fridge
2 handfuls of fine beans

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6.
Check the coley fillets for any remaining bones. Stretch the pancetta out on to a board and place the fillets in the middle. Wrap the pancetta around the fish as tight as you can, so they end almost cylindrical . Add some olive oil to an oven proof pan and when it starts to warm, and the onion. Cook lightly for a minute, but don't brown. Push this to the side of the pan then turn the heat to medium - high. Grind some black pepper onto the fish and add to the pan. Brown the pancetta on all sides, add the fine beans to the onion, mix together, season, add a couple of dots of butter and put the pan in the oven.

For the beurre blanc, add a little olive oil and butter to the pan then slowly warm the shallots, cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the vinegar, white wine and juice of a lemon. Let this reduce till it's almost disappeared. Then slowly add the butter a cube at a time, mixing it well, until it is fully incorporated. Keep adding until it has the consistency of double cream.

Take out the coley (after about 5 minutes) and check it's done (it should be firm to touch.) Serve on warm plates with the beurre blanc around the food rather than over it. Good served with new potatoes.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Sauteed lambs liver and pancetta

My second post on liver and this one also uses pancetta. The pairing of rich liver with smoky pancetta just works so well. If you wrap these tight enough, they look like little sausages and taste amazing. This dish is part of an idea by Brian Turner and part of an idea by The 2 Hairy Bikers. This will feed two.

300g lambs liver (6 pieces of equal size)
6 slices pancetta
500ml chicken stock
Small glass white wine
Savoy cabbage sliced thinly
1 large or 2 small onions sliced thinly

Add half of the onion into a pan and add the chicken stock, let this simmer, you need it to reduce by half. Add the other half to a frying pan with a dash of olive oil, seasoning and a knob of butter and let it sweat down on a low heat. When this becomes translucent, take it out of the pan and set aside.

Wrap the pancetta around each of the pieces of liver, make sure it's quite tight. Add more oil and butter to the frying pan and give the liver a generous dusting of black pepper. Now saute the liver in the butter on a low to medium heat. Keep turning these regularly so all the sides get a nice browning. While this is cooking, lightly simmer the cabbage till it's al dente. When the liver is becoming firm to the touch (after about 5 minutes) take it out and place somewhere warm.

Add the onions back into the frying pan and raise the heat to medium, now add the glass of wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock (minus the onion.) Let all of this reduce by half again, until you are left with a rich, slightly salty and tangy stock .Now add a couple of table spoons of tomato ketchup (Heinz of course.) The sweetness of the sauce works amazingly well with the iron tang of the liver.

Add the cabbage to the pan of sauce, then put on a warm plate. Add the pieces of liver and top with the remaining sauce. This goes great with buttery mash potato or just a bit of bread and butter.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Pork chops and potato rosti

Pork and cider is a marriage made in heaven. The potato rosti is Simon Rimmer's recipe.

2 Free range pork chops
2 Large potatoes
Fennel seeds
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 Medium onion, finely sliced
1/2 bottle of decent medium cider
200ml of chicken stock. 

Pre-heat the oven to medium (gas mark 5 or equivalent)

Boil the potatoes whole, in their skin, for seven minutes. Scrape the skin off and leave to cool. When you're able to handle it, grate into a bowl and mix with garlic and plenty of seasoning. Form into patties and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

In a frying pan, soften the onion and set aside. Turn up the heat and add the pork (seasoned) and brown. Put on a baking tray in the oven. Turn the heat down and add the onion, fennel seeds and garlic. Brown softly and add the cider, turn up the heat. Reduce this by 1/3 and add the chicken stock. Reduce this until you acheive a good, thick consistency.

For the rosti, fry them in olive oil till they're browned on both sides. Put all the ingredients together and serve with broccoli or spinach.