Archive for the 'meat' Category

Golden soup of chicken, ginger and greens

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

For dinner tonight, I made a soup, adapted (mostly in proportions and a little in technique) from this recipe: cold-fighting couscous chicken soup.

I was attracted by the name – I still have this stupid cold and wish devoutly for anything to improve it – and by the combination of chicken, turmeric and ginger, which sounded warming and wholesome.

The resulting soup was turmeric-golden (despite the seeming brownness in the photo below), savoury and warming. I’m still coughing but I feel somewhat less revolting, at least for now.


IMG_1736


olive oil
1 onion, quartered and sliced
2 carrots, cut into 1 cm dice
2 sticks of celery, cut into 0.5 cm dice
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 inch thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon turmeric
150 ml white wine
1 cup home-made chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup moghrabieh
2 chicken thigh fillets, each cut into two or three pieces
1 small bunch chinese broccoli (or other green), quite finely chopped
juice of half a lemon
chili flakes
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a good dash of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and cook for about 8 minutes, until they are golden and softened. Add the garlic, ginger and turmeric, and cook for a further minute or two.

Deglaze by tipping the wine in on top of the vegetables and scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the stock, water, moghrabieh and chicken, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, then remove the chicken.

Keep simmering the soup until the moghrabieh is al dente. Meanwhile, use two forks to roughly shred the chicken. A couple of minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, add in the chinese broccoli, shredded chicken, lemon juice and chili flakes. Simmer until the broccoli has wilted and warmed through. Season to taste.

Makes two very large servings.

German-ish potato soup for a chilly Easter Sunday

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Beautiful blood moon last night! I think that might have been the first lunar eclipse I’ve seen. Can that be true, after 40 years? But I can’t remember seeing others.

The easter break has been lovely so far. Dumplings with the lab on Thursday night. Mexican feast at Heather’s on Good Friday. Veg Out markets on Saturday morning, where I went a bit crazy buying early autumn produce. I spent the afternoon making chicken stock, cleaning and marinating beef cheeks, and roasting pepitas, poblano peppers and tomatillos to make a green mole to eat with chicken on Saturday night.

This grey and chilly Sunday morning, I read, went to the gym, then came home and made a potato soup for lunch. It’s warming and filling, and has set me up for a quiet afternoon of reading and maybe doing a little bit of editing for work. And tea. I foresee lots of cups of tea in my near future.

Vaguely germanic potato soup

olive oil
1 onion, peeled, quartered and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
3 rashers of smoked bacon from happy pigs
4 or 5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5 cm cubes
a quarter of a head of cabbage, chopped
half a nutmeg, grated
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 bay leaf
sea salt and black pepper
splash of white wine vinegar
half a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, fairly finely chopped
2 dessert spoons of creme fraiche

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, leeks and bacon, and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and slightly coloured.

Add the potatoes, cabbage, caraway seeds, nutmeg, chicken stock, water and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about half an hour, until the vegetables are soft. Add a splash of white wine vinegar about half way through cooking.

Take the pan off the heat, and remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender (or a potato masher if you don’t have one) to blend about half the soup. This should give you some body in the soup without making it a puree. Add the flat-leaf parsley and creme fraiche, and stir through over low heat for a couple of minutes to combine.

Serves 4-6, depending on hunger and presence or absence of bread.

Easy but excellent chicken and corn soup

Monday, March 18th, 2013

While I’m on a little bit of a roll, here’s a very good, very quick and easy chicken and corn soup, which relies for its excellence on a the deliciousness of home-made chicken stock. (I’m so smug that I had some in the freezer, and so sad that I’ve now used up the last of it – I must pick up some more necks and frames at the organic chicken stall at the markets this coming weekend). I made this tonight after we’d come home from work and spent two hours cleaning up the house in preparation for an inspection tomorrow. I hate cleaning and doing it in the evenings is very cross-making. But even though I only had about three molecules of energy left afterwards, that was sufficient to get this soup made. Life looks better now that we are full of good soup, and the house is clean and ready. Time to lie on the couch and read a novel.

 

1 onion, peeled, halved and finely sliced
olive oil
2 scallions, sliced, white and green parts kept separate
2 chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2 cm pieces
1 large thumb of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
chili flakes
2 – 3 cups of home-made chicken stock
1 large or 2 smallish cobs of corn, kernels sliced off
parsely or coriander leaves, chopped
sesame oil
salt and pepper

Saute the onion in olive oil until golden and soft. Add the white parts of the scallions and the chicken, and cook until the chicken is changing colour and getting slightly golden. Add the ginger, a big pinch of chili flakes, and most of the green parts of the scallions, and cook a further minute. Add the chicken stock and corn, and simmer for about ten minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the flavours have come together. Add the rest of the scallions, the parsley or coriander, and a drizzle of sesame oil, and season to taste.

Serves two.

Lamb and pistachio kofta

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Stuff that has been making me happy recently:

1. Spending Christmas with friends – Iñaki, Begoña, Unai, Naia and Heather came over to our place for Christmas lunch. We all contributed mezze; I made these slices of baguette with french goat cheese, roasted cherry Roma tomatoes, and salted capers. Then Iñaki made paella, and we ate it with slow-roasted Roma tomatoes, griddled zucchini with lemon and mint, and roasted peppers tossed with sherry vinegar, and a spinach, pea, mint and ricotta salad.

 

2. Checking out green places around Melbourne, including the Botanic Gardens, where queued for 40 minutes to see this spectacular titan arum blooming on Boxing day:

 

 

 

the fernery, heritage orchard, succulent garden etc etc at Ripponlea Estate:

 

and the perfect hidden river cafe at the Fairfield boathouse (where I had prawns, watercress and lemon aioli on a brioche roll for lunch today):

 

3. Delicious stonefruit from the St Kilda and Victoria markets, this week and last.

4. Seeing Helvetica at ACMI with Ted and Helen last week.

5. Two delicious meals at Dainty Sichuan in Chinatown, including one on the 4th of January, described here, which made a hellish public transport trip in 39 degree heat worthwhile.

6. The garden, where all but one of the nine tomato varieties I have planted have started to produce fruit. Only a couple of wild sweeties have ripened yet, but I have hope for a good harvest from the rest. The fig tree is also covered with green figs – last year the earliest ripe ones were at the end of February, so there is still a while to wait yet. But just sitting out there, or watering, or weeding, the beautiful green box that is our garden always returns me to at least some degree of serenity.

 

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For dinner tonight we made these kofta, inspired strongly by a recipe in Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. The original recipe made a larger amount, used half beef and half lamb, pine nuts instead of pistachios, red chili instead of green, and so on. I modified according to what we had in the house and came up with these, which were delicious.

Lamb and pistachio kofta with tahini sauce

Kofta
400 g freshly minced lamb
half a red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
40 g unsalted pistachios, chopped
2 large handfuls of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 long green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
scant teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Tahini sauce
4 tablespoons tahini paste
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
hot water to mix

To serve
a big salad of tomato, cucumber and mint
pita bread

To make the kofta, mix the ingredients together well in a bowl, using your hands. Shape them into about ten kofta, either long, thinnish torpedo shapes, or rounder and flatter frittery shapes. Shape them firmly so they stay together during cooking.

Make the tahini sauce by combining the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and a pinch of salt. Add hot water, stirring briskly, until the sauce is a bit runnier than honey (in Ottolenghi’s very clear phrase).

Preheat the oven to 200C. Heat a slick of oil in a pan over medium-high heat, and sear the kofta all over until golden brown. At this point they will be still rare inside. Place them in an oven tray and cook them in the oven until they are done to your liking. How long this takes will depend on how cooked you want them and what shape they are. If you got a butcher to mince the lamb for you today, it’s ok to leave them a little rare if you like; otherwise make sure they are fully cooked. Ours took about 12 minutes in the oven, under alfoil.

To eat, spoon the sauce around the kofta and drizzle a little over the top. Sprinkle with more parsley and some more chopped pistachios if you have any over. Serve with the salad and pita.

Serves 4.

Potato and chorizo tortilla with chard agrodolce

Monday, April 9th, 2012

This tortilla was dinner tonight, together with some chard agrodolce. It was all delicious. We used royal blue potatoes – purple skin, yellow flesh – though the skin didn’t stay purple through cooking, alas. The chorizo was from Black Pig.  I think the success of the tortilla would depend on using a really flavourful chorizo (this one was fantastic). In the absence of that, I’d add a couple of skinned roasted peppers and some smoked paprika. This tortilla has less egg per potato volume than a traditional tortilla, and is thinner (about 2 cm thick), but that’s how I like it.

The chard agrodolce was a good match. This was a large bunch of ruby chard, stemmed, chopped, blanched and squeezed dry, then sauteed with olive oil, minced garlic and a handful of currants, and finally tossed with a splash of aged red wine vinegar and some toasted pine nuts. A++ would make again.

 

Potato and chorizo tortilla

2 onions, quartered and sliced
olive oil
5 medium waxy or all-rounder potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1-2 mm slices
1 cured chorizo, ~120 g, sliced
1 good handful chopped parsley leaves
4 eggs
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a frypan over moderate heat, add the onions, and cook until translucent and soft. They’ll get quite a lot more cooking, so no need to take them to the golden stage at this point. Add the raw potato slices and continue to fry, stirring frequently, until they are cooked (but still keeping their shape). This took about 15 minutes for us – it will depend on the potato type and how finely they’re sliced. Add the chorizo a few minutes before the end, so its flavour gets mixed through everything.

Turn down the heat under the pan to low. Whisk together the eggs, parsley and salt and pepper, then add to the pan. Give it a very quick stir through, and pat everything down flat. Our mixture was about 2.5 cm thick at this stage. Leave to cook until the middle of the frittata is getting solid, and just the top remains runny. At this point, you can flip it if you are highly skilled. If you’re like me, on the other hand, you can instead just put the pan under the grill until the top is cooked.

Serves 4, with a vegetable side.

Osso buco not-strictly-milanese

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

After a weekend of 37 degrees C a couple of weeks ago, it has rapidly turned autumnish. The doona is back on the bed. I shivered through a day at work when it hit 15 degrees in the afternoon and I had come in stupidly wearing just a T-shirt. The figs on the huge tree in our backyard have finally ripened, and there are enough of them that I’ve been able to eat at least a couple of fresh figs every day, to give some away to friends, and to make this delicious fig, hazelnut and brandy cake.  While I was up the ladder picking figs a couple of evenings ago, I smelled the first wood fire of the season from one of our neighbours’ houses – a little early, perhaps, but I’ll be getting our own chimney swept soon.

When I was at the St Kilda farmers market last weekend, it was chilly, drizzling, almost misty. I had a powerful surge of homesickness for the UK and Ireland! Even though there were stalls there selling the last of the heirloom tomatoes of the summer, in all other ways it felt utterly like autumn was upon us. I stocked up on cold-weather vegetables – cavolo nero, kohlrabi, beetroot – and various bits of meat to go in the freezer for episodes of weekend slow-cooking. One of these purchases was some osso buco from Warialda Beef. The slices were enormous, about 500 g each, dark purple in colour and marbled with fat. Warialda cows are rare breed, grass-fed, and slaughtered at two and a half years, and the meat is then dry aged. And oh my god, it tastes so good. I’ve been more in the habit recently of cooking osso buco in stout, to beef (ha) up the flavour a bit, but since this meat looked so good, I cooked it a bit more traditionally in white wine. It was spectacular. Tender, rich, deeply flavoured – the best osso buco I have ever had.

 

three large pieces of osso buco, approx 1.4 kg in total
olive oil
2 onions, peeled, quartered, and sliced
2 decent-sized carrots, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
2 sticks celery, cut into 1 cm cubes
2 large glasses white wine
1 tin peeled tomatoes
500 ml stock (chicken or veal)
2 fresh bay leaves
1 large sprig rosemary
salt

1 clove garlic, crushed finely
zest of a lemon
a handful or two of parsley leaves, finely chopped

Season the meat with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour. Heat some olive oil in a large oven-proof saucepan, and brown the meat on each side. Do each piece separately if they are large – don’t crowd them. Remove the meat and set aside.

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the oil remaining in the pan, and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened and translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add the wine, stock, the tin of tomatoes (roughly chop them with a knife in the can before adding), bay leaves, rosemary, and a teaspoon of rock salt (less if using table salt). Stir, then add the meat. The meat should be mostly covered by the liquid.

Put the lid on the saucepan and cook in the oven at about 150 C for 2.5-3 hours, until the meat is extremely tender and the liquid has substantially reduced. I tend to turn the meat over every hour or so to make sure both sides get a go under the liquid. This does make it more likely that the marrow will fall out of the bone, so if you value eating the marrow with a spoon (delicious), you might not want to turn them. It’s almost certainly not really necessary.

Just before eating, combine garlic, lemon zest and parsley to make gremolata, and sprinkle over the meat.

We served this with tubetti pasta because we were too lazy to make the more traditional risotto. It was so, so fine.

About 5 hour lamb

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Our apartment has been freezing at night for the last week or so.  It’s finally made me understand why there are doors on every internal doorway in the place – it’s so you have a better chance of corralling the draughts that whistle in round most of the window frames.  But even sitting on the couch with at least one and in most cases two closed doors between me and the external walls of the building, I still shiver.  So I am getting all old-school and sewing draught snakes, and in the meantime cooking depths-of-winter dinners, despite the fact that I sit outside in the sun at lunchtimes in shirtsleeves.

Yesterday afternoon we picked up a small leg of lamb, which I cooked last night in an ad-hoc way, vaguely based on gigot de sept heures and modified to suit the time and what else we had in the house (it had been a disorganised and ramshackle kind of shopping expedition). I browned the leg in oil in the Le Creuset on the stovetop, then added (for a 1kg leg) 1 can of tomatoes, very roughly chopped, a couple of cups of stock, and a large glass of red wine.  Also four golf ball-sized onions peeled and halved, four large carrots peeled and each cut into three or four pieces, two fresh bay leaves and a sprig of rosemary.  Put the lid on, then into the oven at 190 C (clear sign that I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing), realised OH SHIT about an hour later and turned it down to 120 C, at the same time turning the leg over in the pot in the hope of miraculously reversing whatever drying had occured by submerging the part that had been above the waterline during the initial roasting. Left it cooking for another 3.5 hours, then pulled it out to see the results.

The liquid had reduced by about two thirds to a shallow bath of delicious juices with a concentrated flavour of the vegetables, wine and lamb. The onions had come apart, and the carrots were braised to silky softness but still holding their shape perfectly. A butter knife sank into the lamb all the way to the bottom of the pot with no effort.  We ate it, lamb, vegetables and broth, in shallow bowls, together with bread from Chouquette spread with good butter.  It was delicious, and we weren’t cold anymore.