Paella con Cerdo y Acelga Arcoiris

… or Paella with Pork and Rainbow Chard, to you.

This is developed from a pork, chorizo and spinach recipe in Moro. What, chorizo in a Paella? Yes, just don’t claim it to be a Paella Valenciana or you’ll get lynched.

Much as I love spinach, I also love chard, particularly rainbow chard. The thing about chard is that the leafy greenery and the stems benefit from cooking separately and this recipe lends itself to doing just that. Another adaptation from the original is to treat the pork differently, cutting it very thinly and cooking it well to tenderize it as opposed to leaving it just barely cooked, which we found a bit resilient.

Planning

serves: 4
preparation time: 15 mins
cooking time: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 500g rainbow chard
  • olive oil
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 120g chorizo
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g paella rice (bomba or Calasparra)
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 800ml chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper

First prepare the chard. Cut the leaves from the thicker leaf ribs, then cut the ribs into 4cm lengths. Now cut the leafy bits crosswise into 2-3cm slices. Wash it all but keep the leaves and stems separate.

Next prepare the meats. Cut the chorizo (you can use dulce or picante, whichever) into roughly 1cm cubes. Now split the tenderloin in half down its narrower length. Cut each half across the grain into fine slices, about 3mm thick.

Now we can cook. Using your chosen paella pan [yes, I know, a paella IS a pan], over moderate heat, quickly fry together the pork slices and chorizo in olive oil until the pork is beginning to brown on both sides. Rescue the pork and chorizo to a plate using a slotted spoon, leaving the flavoured oil for the next stage.

Over medium heat, sweat the onion and green pepper together until the onion is nicely softened. Toss in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Now sprinkle over the pimenton with about half a teaspoon of black pepper and a teaspoon of salt (assuming you are using unseasoned stock and NOT a stock cube – adjust if you are). Stir in the rice to coat with oil and cook gently for 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and stir. Add the rainbow chard rib pieces, together with the reserved pork and chorizo and stir again to mix well. Bring the whole to a moderate simmer and let it cook, uncovered, stirring maybe once or twice, for 20 minutes.

There should still be some liquid left, if not add a splash of water. Place the chard leaves on top of the paella and cover, either with a lid (if your pan has one) or foil if not. Keep the heat where it was and the steam generated will wilt the chard leaves.

Uncover the pan and drive off the remaining liquid. If you’re feeling adventurous, bump up the heat and toast the rice lightly on the bottom of the pan, which the Spanish love.


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Posted in Starters

Thai Green Curry Paste

In Thailand, I kept trying other meals but I kept returning to their well known green curry. The term curry is something of a misnomer being borrowed from Indian cuisine by the British. The Thai name refers to a spice paste made from green chillis.

This recipe is a development of a spice mix for a green curry by Nigel Slater. It makes sufficient for two 4-person curries. Main ingredients spiced with this paste can vary according to preference, normally including a meat or fish component plus a vegetable.

Planning

serves:
preparation time: 20 mins
cooking time:

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh lemongrass stalks
  • 8 medium-hot green chillies
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tbs fresh coriander stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbs Thai fish sauce
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Remove any outer leaves of the lemongrass that are too coarse before slicing it quite finely. According to taste you can remove some of the seeds from the chillies (seeds and pith are the hot parts) prior to chopping them coarsely. Place the lemongrass and chillies, together with the other ingredients into a blender/food processor. Blitz this lot together, scraping down the sides regularly, until you have a thick paste. (You can add a little water to help slacken it if necessary.)

Cover and refrigerate this until you need it. It will keep for about a week in the fridge.


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Posted in Basics Tagged with:

Clafoutis aux Fruits

A classic French batter dessert with embedded fruit, often cherries but you can use many alternatives such as apricots, apples, blackberries …

Planning

serves: 4-6
preparation time: 20 mins
cooking time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 500g black cherries (or …)
  • 100ml milk
  • 150ml whipping cream
  • 2 drops vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 20g plain flour
  • a pinch salt
  • butter for greasing
  • sugar to sprinkle

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

Place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl [ crack the eggs first, of course 😀 ] and whisk until creamy. Add the flour and salt and whisk until smooth. Now add the milk and cream with two drops of vanilla essence, beating to mix well.

Butter a flan dish (about 25cm/10in) and sprinkle with caster sugar. Add your fruit, distributing reasonably evenly, before pouring the batter over and around the fruit.

Cook in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until set and lightly golden on top. Remove and allow to cool down to warm before sprinkling over some caster sugar and serving.


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Posted in Desserts Tagged with:

Pollo en Pepitoria

Here is one of those delightful Spanish recipes using an Almond sauce. This one, though, is given a lift by being lightly spiced – fragrantly spiced rather than hotly spiced.

The ingredients list may look a bit daunting but please don’t let that put you off. The method looks a little more involved, too, but – and you must trust me on this – it’s worth it. I loved it.

Planning

serves: 4
preparation time: 30 mins
cooking time: 60 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, hard boiled & peeled
  • 1 chicken, 1.5kg-ish
  • 10 green cardamom pods, seeds of
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp loosely packed saffron strands
  • 2 cloves
  • 1cm cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
  • 20g slice white bread, crust removed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 200ml dry white wine/sherry
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 40g blanched almonds
  • 40g pine nuts
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbs flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper

Prepare the chicken. Cut the legs off the chicken and skin them, then divide each leg at the joint. Cut the last wing joints off the chicken and save for stock. Remove the breasts with the wings from the chicken carcass and skin them, taking as much skin off the wing joints as you can, too. Cut the wings off the breasts and divide into two. Halve each breast.

Add the seeds of the cardammoms to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar (if you like exercise), together with the saffron, coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and peppercorns, and grind to a fine powder. (OK, better stick with the spice grinder.)

Over medium heat, heat 4 tbs olive oil in a casserole or deep skillet. Add the peeled garlic cloves and bread slice and fry, turning once, until golden on both sides. Transfer to the small bowl of a food processor.

Lightly season the chicken pieces before adding them to the garlic/bread pan to brown on both sides. Remove the chicken to a plate, add another splash of oil to the pan and sweat the onion for 10 minutes until soft but not brown. Stir in the ground spices and cook for another minute. Stir in the sherry/wine and bubble off the alcohol, then add the stock. Return the chicken to the pan with the bay leaves, add, say, ¼ tsp salt and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 40 minutes, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, until tender.

Dry-roast the pine nuts in a hot, dry frying pan for a minute – just colour them a little. Set aside to cool. In the same way, toast the almonds (about 2 minutes) and set aside to cool.

Once the nuts are cool, add them to the processor containing the toasted garlic and bread. Pop in the yolks of the hard boiled eggs. Add 10 or so tablespoons of the chicken cooking liquid and blitz to a smooth(ish) paste.

Lift the chicken pieces onto a warmed serving dish and cover to keep warm. Add the blitzed paste to the cooking sauce, set back over a low heat and stir for a couple of minutes until thickened. Stir in the lemon juice, adjust the seasoning and pour back over the chicken. Serve scattered with the chopped parsley.


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Posted in Poultry Tagged with:

Croquetas de Morcilla

Based on a concept from a good friend and gourmet in Spain, this is a little development using my favourite Spanish morcilla, morcilla de Burgos. Croquetas [Croquettes] feature strongly on Spanish tapas menus so, if I can get over fretting about deep frying [what on earth does one do with the old oil?] I’ll give this a go.

I do love the Spanish morcilla; morcilla de Burgos in particular is noticeably less stodgy than any English equivalent, largely because it contains rice. The Scots, however, have a much finer offering in Stornoway Black Pudding, which seems moister, perhaps because it contains onion. In addition, Haggis contains pearl barley, not dissimilar to rice, which should lighten the whole affair.

So, here’s an idea: how about some Scottish Croquettes made by substituting the morcilla de Burgos for, say, a 50/50 mixture of Stornoway Black Pudding and Haggis? To keep the Saltire flying, you’d probably need to use a Scottish cheese such as Dunlop instead of Manchego, too.

Planning

serves: 4
preparation time: 30 mins
cooking time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 400g cooked and cooled crushed potato
  • 200g crumbled morcilla de Burgos
  • 100g grated firm cheese (e.g. Manchego?)
  • 80g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • Large pinch salt
  • salt & pepper
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

Place the potato, morcilla, cheese, half the flour (40g), one egg, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Combine the ingredients by hand until you have a firm mixture. Divide the mixture into 18-20 pieces and form into small rolls about 3ins/7cms long and 1in/2.5cms wide.

Take three bowls. Fill one with the remaining 40g of flour, a second with the remaining egg (lightly beaten), and the third with the breadcrumbs. Pass the croquettes through each of the coatings in turn, flour, egg, breadcrumbs coating thoroughly in each and then placing to one side for frying.

Heat the vegetable oil in a pan or deep fat fryer to 180°C. For preference, use a cooking thermometer, otherwise check the temperatire with a cube of bread, which should turn golden brown. Cook the croquetas in small batches, to avoid overcrowding the fryer and once they turn golden, remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.


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Posted in Starters, Tapas Tagged with:

Smoked Haddock and Leek Risotto

This is one of our favourite risottos. Teamed up with some undyed smoked haddock, the leeks replace the onions in a more normal risotto. Traditionally, the Italians do not add parmesan to fish/seafood risottos but if you feel the need, please go ahead.

I prefer Carnaroli rice over Arborio, or Vialone Nano if you can find it.

Planning

serves: 2
preparation time: 10 mins
cooking time: 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 75g butter
  • 2 leeks, trimmed with some green
  • small wineglass dry vermouth
  • 400g undyed smoked haddock fillet
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 500ml hot fish stock
  • 10g fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Salt & pepper

Get ready. Quarter the leeks lengthwise and slice them crosswise about 0.5 cm thick. Skin the haddock fillet and cut it into 2 cm chunks.

Now follow standard risotto procedure. Melt the butter over medium heat and sweat the chopped leeks for about 5 mins, stirring frequently, without letting them colour. When nicely softened, toss in the rice and, stirring constantly, cook the rice for about 3 mins to absorb some flavour and let the grains begin to turn translucent around the edges.

Now dump in the glass of vermouth and let the alcohol evaporate. Stirring constantly, allow the vermouth to be absorbed before adding your first quarter of the fish stock. Lower the heat so that the liquid simmers very gently. Assuming your homemade fish stock is unseasoned, add a little salt and pepper with each addition of stock, though be careful with the salt because of the smoked fish. Sir occasionally to extract some starch. As the liquid nears absorbtion, add a further quarter of the stock, with a little more seasoning, and repeat until you need the final quarter.

Once the last quarter of stock is added, stir in the haddock pieces and continue simmering until most of the liquid is absorbed. The finished risotto should remain quite moist. Stir in the parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

If you want cheese, grate it and stir it in now. Cover the pan and let the risotto sit for 2 or 3 mins before serving.


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Posted in Starters

Duck Vindaloo

In an anglicized Indian Restaurant (mostly Bangladeshi), Vindaloo seems simply to be up near the top, if not at the top, of the heat scale. The name, however is a corruption of vinha d’alhos, meaning wine and garlic, and is more sweet and sour than outright hot. (The wine has become vinegar.) Though, let’s face it, we do want a curry kick, and there certainly should be some heat content. The trick is gauging just how much of a kick.

One man’s hot is another’s medium, so adjust as you see fit. The recipe specifies either Kashmiri chill powder or paprika, which seemed a bit odd but the great Madhur Jaffrey used paprika, too, so it must be OK. This is where you can adjust your heat content.

Planning

serves: 6
preparation time: 30 mins
cooking time: 2 hrs

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbs Kashmiri chilli powder/paprika (or a mixture)
  • 8 green cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick (~ 6cms)
  • 75ml cider vinegar
  • 6 duck legs, skinned & jointed
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 4 red onions, finely sliced
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 65g fresh ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cored & coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbs tamarind concentrate (optional – another sour component)
  • 3 whole green chillies, slit lengthwise
  • 1 tbs light soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

Blitz the spice ingredients, down to and including the cinnamon stick, in an electric grinder. (Masochists can, of course, use a pestle and mortar should they wish.) Stir this spice mix into the vinegar to form a smooth paste and rub the paste into the duck pieces. Leave the duck to marinate at a cool room temperature for 3 hours.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan (one that has a lid for later) and when hot, add the mustard seeds. Fry them until they begin to pop. Now add the onions and fry these gently until soft and beginning to brown a little. Sit in the garlic and ginger and cook for another few minutes. Now add the tomatoes, tamarind (if using), chillies, sugar and salt.

Increase the heat before adding the duck, marinade and 100ml water. Bring back to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 60 mins, sirring occasionally, topping up the water as necessary.

Crack the lid off the pan and cook for a further 30-45 mins until the duck legs are tender and the sauce has thickened nicely.

You can serve it immediately or, as with most curries, the flavour seems to improve and develop if left to cool, refrigerated for a day and reheated.


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Posted in Poultry Tagged with:

Normandy Pear Tart

This is one of few recipes from Supercook that has withstood the test of time. (How styles change.) It’s one of Carol’s standby favourites and has always proved very popular with recipients. What makes it special/unusual is the walnut pastry, so you really have to make your own.

If you are feeling lazy, tinned pears make a very acceptable substitute to the poached fresh originals.

Planning

serves: 6-8
preparation time: 60 mins
cooking time: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 10 oz plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 oz butter, cut into cm cubes
  • 2 oz vegetable fat, cut into cm cubes
  • 4 oz caster sugar (+ 2 tbs)
  • 1½ oz walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbs iced water
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 5 fl oz water
  • 4 large pears, peeled, halved & cored
  • 5 fl oz double cream, stiffly whipped
  • 2 tbs chopped walnuts

Make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and vegetable fat cut into small pieces. Rub the fats into the flour with your fingertips to the famed breadcrumb stage. Mix in the 4 ounces sugar and finely chopped walnuts.

Now add the egg yolks together with a spoonful of the water and mix in with a broad-bladed knife. Mix and knead the dough, adding a little more water if the dough is too dry, until it is smooth. Place the dough ball in greasproof/waxed paper and chill for 30 mins.

Meanwhile make the filling. In a medium saucepan, dissolve the 2 oz sugar in the water over low heat, sirring constantly. Once dissolved, increas the heat and boil the syrup for 4 mins. Add the pear halves to the syrup, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 mins until they are tender but remain firm. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5.

Roll out 2/3rds of the pastry dough into a large circle to line a 9-inch flan ring. Ease the dough into the ring trimming off any excess. Removing the pears from the syrup with a slotted spoon, arrange them cut-side down in the flan case, narrow ends towards the centre.

Roll out the remaining 1/3rd dough large enough to cover the tart. Cut a 3-inch hole in the centre of the dough circle. Dampen the edges of the pastry case and place the doughnut-shaped lid on top, gently pressing the edges together. Trim off any excess dough. Brush the op of the tart with the beaten egg white and dust with the remaining 2 tbs caster sugar.

Bake the tart in the top of the oven for 30-35 mins or until the pastry is firm to the touch. remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

Once cool, remove the tart from the flan ring. Spoon the whipped cream into the centre, over the hole in the pastry, and sprinkle over the chopped walnuts.


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Posted in Desserts Tagged with:

Herbed Couscous

I do love Moroccan tagines and when I have them I like to serve them with this herbed couscous. I try to soak the couscous grains in a stock appropriate to the main ingredient, chicken stock for chicken, lamb stock for lamb, etc. Failing that stock made from the good organic Swiss vegetable stock powder works. (This is one of the very few acceptable uses of dehydrated stock thingies.)

(The smaller fresh herb bags in Waitrose are, I think, 20g.)

Planning

serves: 4
preparation time: 60 mins
cooking time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 250g couscous
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 ml hot stock (as appropriate)
  • 20g fresh parsely, leaves picked
  • 20g fresh coriander, leaves picked
  • 20g fresh mint, leaves picked

Stir the olive oil into the couscous in a suitable glass bowl to coat the grains.

Add the hot stock and stir before leaving the couscous to soak and absorb the liquid. Leave it to cool down.

When cool, chop together all the herb leaves and stir them into the couscous.


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Posted in Accompaniments Tagged with:

Chicken Satay

I’ve decided that I’m not a big fan of so-called texture in some of my food; I don’t want crunchy seeds on my salad leaves, for example. Neither do I want crunchy bits of peanut in Satay Sauce. So, since our trip to Sri Lanka, where we had quite a few helpings of Nasi Goreng accompanying Chicken Satay with smooth peanut sauce, I have revised my approach to the latter.

This is my revised Chicken Satay recipe to go along with it. Once the accompanying Satay Sauce had been separated out, this becomes all about the marinade and grilling. Reserve chicken breasts, which can be very dry, for moist cooking methods such as a Thai Green Chicken Curry; chicken thighs are better suited to a fierce grilling.

Planning

serves: 4
preparation time: 2½ hrs
cooking time: 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 500g chicken thighs, boned weight
  • 1 qty Satay Sauce

Method

Marinating the chicken. Toast the coriander seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, and then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, then pound to a rough paste along with a generous grinding of black pepper. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the oil, kecap manis and soy sauce.

Cut the chicken thighs into long strips about 3cm wide and stir into the marinade, mixing well. Cover, refrigerate and leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes if you’ve got it, or up to 12 hours. To maintain authenticity, soak eight wooden skewers in cold water until ready to use. Alternatively, for ease use stainless steel skewers.

When you’re ready to eat, thread the strips of meat onto the skewers in an “S” shape, pushing them down so they’re all touching. To cook the skewers, I prefer a barbecue. If it’s a gas barbecue, consider using a silicon grill mat to keep it clean. Second choice of cooking method would be a griddle pan. Failing that you can stick the skewers under a hot grill. Either way, cook over/under a medium-high heat source for about 15-20 minutes until cooked through, turning regularly. You can turn the heat down to medium on the griddle after all are well charred – don’t worry about black bits, they add flavour.

Meanwhile warm the Satay Sauce over a gentle heat Adjust the consistency (you decide) as necessary by adding water. Serve the cooked skewers with the sauce.

For our Sri Lankan experience, you might add the Nasi Goreng, too.


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Posted in Poultry