Bready, Recipes

Cider, Cheese and Onion Sharing Loaf – recipe

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A more-ish, irresistible loaf 

I love bread. I love making it, I love eating it. I also love cider. And cheese. And onions. So the next logical step was clearly to combine all three into a heady mix of cidery cheesey oniony bready joy. So I did. And what joy it is! Perfect for plonking in the middle of the table for lunch and letting everyone pile in and rip it to pieces. Or just scoffing yourself curled up on the sofa. Your choice really.

This is effectively like a savoury batch of Chelsea Buns – swirls of bread with the filling splurging out all over the place – and it’s pretty simple to do, if not a tad messy at times. The cider adds a wonderful flavour to the loaf and really compliments the cheese and onion filling wonderfully. If you like you can do the second prove in the fridge overnight to really let the bread develop a full flavour but it’s not essential. However if you do this, I’d advise proving the finished loaf on a sheet of non-stick baking parchment as it will stick fast otherwise…

Makes one loaf

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 300ml dry cider
  • 7g sachet dried fast-action yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 1 dessert spoon caster sugar 
  • 1 dessert spoon olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and finely sliced
  • 200g grated strong cheddar (you may not need all of it)
  • A few sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Olive oil (for frying)

Method

  • Place the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and pour in the cider – it will fizz and foam as you mix it in – and add the dessert spoon of olive oil. Combine into a rough dough then turn out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will be sticky but don’t worry – it’s worth it.
  • Shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl (coating the top of the dough with a bit more olive oil) and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm, draught-free place for an hour or so or until doubled in size.
  • While the dough is rising, place a large frying pan over a medium-low heat and add a lug of olive oil (and a knob of butter if you like). When the oil is hot, add your sliced onions and soften gently for a few minutes then add the chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook on a low heat for a good 10-15 minutes to really soften and sweeten the onions – stirring often to prevent them catching. When they are done, remove and leave to cool.
  • Once your dough has risen, tip out onto a work surface and flatten into a large rectangle – about 35cm by 20cm but it doesn’t have to be precise. The dough should be thin enough to roll up with all the filling and it may help to tack the long edge closest to you on to the work surface to help get a tighter roll.
  • Spread the cooled onion mixture evenly over the dough followed by the grated cheese – make sure you keep some back for sprinkling over the top of the finished loaf – then roll the whole lot up tightly.
  • Cut into 12-16 slices (this will depend on how long your rectangle is) and arrange each slice on a well-floured baking tray (or use non-stick baking parchment), spacing each one a centimetre or so apart. You want them to prove and bake into each other so a bit of space is important. If you are worried about everything unravelling just give each segment a squeeze and tuck – it doesn’t matter if it looks untidy!
  • Cover with either a clean tea towel or some oiled cling film and leave to prove for about 30-45 minutes (or overnight in the fridge).
  • Pre-heat your oven to 190c/Gas Mark 5.
  • Once your loaf has proved, uncover and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top then pop in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until risen and golden brown. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack before diving in and devouring.

NOTE : If you are proving overnight in the fridge, allow the bread to come back up to room temperature before baking

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Bready, Recipes

Focaccia – recipe

Apologies for my absence of late – the end of last year passed in a haze of ale, roast dinners, and fine wine and thus blogging sadly took a back seat. Sorry about that Mr Blog.

But I’m here now and I’ve got a super-awesome recipe for any bread-lovers out there who fancy a bit of a challenge…

Are you ready?

Of course you are.

FOCACCIA!!!!

Focaccia is, when done properly, a true wonder of a bread and something that can make a real impact when presented, warm and fragrant, on any table. A soft, irregular crumb with a glossy olive oil top, speckled with flecks of rosemary and flaky salt, a bread that is deeply savoury and wonderfully more-ish. And not actually that difficult to make provided you are prepared to deal with a VERY sticky dough and give it the time it needs to rise and prove and develop. In many of the recipes I looked at when first attempting this bread, I noticed that most call for a slightly wetter (say 65% hydration – so 650ml per 1kg flour) dough than a normal loaf and go for a straightforward first prove of about 1 hour then shaping and proving again before baking. I’m sure this produces a perfectly fine bread but I was curious to know whether there a longer prove might improve both the texture and flavour (as is usually the case) so I contacted an excellent baker/Twitter chum to get his opinion. Aidan Chapman is a true master baker and has provided me with hints, tips, and advice for some years now and ALL of his advice has proved both invaluable and also delicious. He suggested not only an overnight prove in a cool place (I used a shed in the end as the box was too big for the fridge) but also a very wet (80% hydration) dough. He also said to fold the dough four times over four hours before leaving to prove – a technique that helps trap in more air and also give the gluten an extra stretch which results in a soft and wonderful textured loaf (I do it with sourdough and it makes a HUGE difference).

So all of this I did and the results were, well, pretty spectacular. I’m not going to lie, the super wet dough was a tad tricky to handle and if you want to make this recipe I would highly advise using a food mixer with dough hook rather than attempting to knead by hand. Unless you like sticking to everything in the kitchen and universe as you work in which case go for it. The dough remains pretty sticky even after the first prove so be careful when you cover it again for the last rise – use plastic bags with plenty of volume and oil the insides if you can. And of course, if you are too intimidated by the 80% hydration, by all means reduce it but you will be missing out. I promise.

So…

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After the long prove – look at all the bubbles!

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 1kg strong white bread flour
  • 10g fast action yeast
  • 20g fine sea salt
  • 800ml water
  • 100ml olive oil
  • Finely chopped rosemary
  • Flaky salt
  • Olive oil for drizzling

Method

  • Place the flour, salt, yeast, and water in the bowl of a food-mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on a slow speed to combine.
  • When the mixture has come together, add the 100ml olive oil and set to knead on a slow speed for about ten minutes until it is smooth and silky.
  • Scrape the dough into a well-oiled plastic container or bowl and cover with cling-film, leaving to rise for an hour.
  • After an hour, use a dough scraper to fold the dough over itself, trapping in the air and stretching out the gluten – this will give you the uneven, light crumb you want. Repeat this 3 times – each time you will notice the dough becoming lighter with a myriad of strands and stretches.
  • Leave to prove overnight in the fridge or in a very cool place.
  • The next day, let the dough return to room temperature and oil two baking trays – about 26x36cm. Make sure your trays are well oiled as the dough will still be very sticky.
  • Divide the dough into two and, with oiled hands, roughly shape into rectangles then stretch and squash it into the baking trays, trying to really push it into the corners. Pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 10/250c.
  • Cover and leave to rise for another half hour or so. When the bread looks puffed up and ready to go, dot the surface with your fingers to create indentations to catch and hold the oil you’ll be drizzling over them. Mmm, drizzle.
  • Drizzle the oil generously but don’t drown your bread, scatter over the chopped rosemary and flaky salt, then bake for 10mins.
  • Turn the oven down to Gas Mark 6/200c and cook for another 10mins or until lightly golden.
  • Remove from the oven and cool slightly (about 10mins) on wire racks – focaccia is at its best when served warm.
  • Scoff and rejoice!

 

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Meaty, Recipes, Spicy

Spicy chicken and red pepper curry – recipe

This recipe is adapted from an amazing dish by the ever dependable Madhur Jaffrey – my parents only ever used her cookbooks when we were growing up and my Dad’s (signed) copy of Indian Cooking is coated in oil, spices, and memories.

I am always tempted just to turn to the same reliable recipes when I flick through this book – lamb with onions (do piaza), butter chicken (makkhani murghi), lamb with potatoes (aloo gosht) but I recently decided to go for something that I definitely hadn’t made before and I am so, so glad I did. This recipe is absolutely delicious and very simple to make – I always use chicken on the bone for this as it adds extra flavour but it would be equally delicious with chunks of lamb neck (cook it for a good couple of hours) or even just as sauce with some chunky white fish. If you are using boneless meat, reduce the cooking time accordingly. I have made a few tweaks to the version in the book and the results are, I think, pretty spectacular. The heat factor can be adapted to personal taste – I like mine fiery but not everyone does, simply reduce the amount of fresh chilli and cayenne if you want something milder…

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1kg skinless chicken pieces, bone in
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 2-3 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 red chilli, chopped (with seeds if you like)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsps ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/8-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Water
  • Black pepper

Method

  • If using chicken legs, divide into thigh and drumsticks. Breasts should be cut in half and kept on the bone.
  • Put the onion, garlic, ginger, almonds, peppers, chilli, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and salt into a food processor and pulse until you have a thick, smooth paste.
  • Put the oil in a wide pan over a medium heat and, when hot, stir in the paste and fry for 10-12 minutes, stirring to stop it from colouring. Your kitchen will start to smell amazing.
  • Add the chicken, lemon juice, and pepper then add enough cold water to just cover the chicken. Stir and mix together then bring to the boil.
  • Cover and turn the heat to low and let the curry simmer for 45mins to an hour, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked and falling away from the bone. If you like, you can remove the pieces and shred the meat back into the sauce but I don’t bother. Adjust the seasoning as required.
  • Remove the lid and turn up the heat to reduce your sauce – you can have it as thick or as runny as you prefer – then serve immediately with steamed rice and flatbreads.

If you were doing this with fish, cook the sauce for about 45 minutes and reduce slightly before adding the fish – it will only take a few minutes to cook through.

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Ramblings..., Recipes, Reviews, Soupy

Hugh’s Ribollita – recipe and review

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Ribollita – the perfect winter supper

I was tempted to call this post ‘Possibly the best soup ever’ simply because it gives me so much joy every time I eat it. One of the many wonderful things about this recipe is that, unlike many so-called ‘meal’ soups, this really does fill you up in a truly satisfying way. No jokes – it really does. It is also perfect for cold nights and for when you need to make a change from seasonal excesses.

The first time I encountered a ribollita (Italian for ‘re-boiled’) was in an early episode of the ‘River Cottage’ series in which the ever dependable Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall created a version that he dubbed ‘Half-the-garden Soup’. It certainly did contain a fair heft of veg and I was slightly disappointed not to find a recipe for it in the original (and excellent) ‘River Cottage Cookbook’. The version that eventually appeared in the (also excellent) ‘River Cottage: Veg Everyday’ cookbook was splendid and tasty but for some reason didn’t quite fulfil the warming, wholesome temptation that the original TV series seemed to offer. No matter, there were many other ‘hefty’ soups in the book and I was soon distracted and not musing too much on the lack of ribollita in my life.

However, the thought of a filling, simple, delicious vegetable soup that delivered a bit more punch than usual kept coming back to me. So I turned to the internet to see if any variations existed and lo and behold, Hugh himself provided the answer! One of his weekly columns for The Guardian was based around tinned ingredients and, much to my delight, the first recipe he offered was for a ribollita. Joy! And so, on a cold autumn night, I gave it a go and the results were, well, more than stupendous.

Seriously – this soup is something else.

So excited was I by the success of the ribollita that I made it again the following week.

And again a few days later.

And I made it for dinner last night.

And we’ve got more for dinner tonight.

Huzzah!

I’ve tried to work out what makes this recipe superior to the version in the book and the only thing I can really spot is the addition of wine. Wine generally makes things better in my book and you’d have thought that perhaps 100ml wouldn’t make much difference but believe me, it is the difference! The other elements that really help this soup pack a serious punch are the slow cooking of the onions (15 minutes) and then the simmer of the whole soup (about an hour). This may seem like a bit of a faff time-wise but I implore you to be patient and go with it – I’ve tried doing a faster version and it just doesn’t satisfy.

You could use the time to drink more wine for example.

The only I’ve changed from the original recipe it the amount of olive oil used to soften the veg – I find that 2tbsp is more than enough – but use however much or little as you please. Again, the oil is a key part of the flavour so don’t leave it out entirely as you will miss it. The soup does taste better when left overnight but you might need to add more stock as the liquid does tend to get absorbed by the veg.

The recipe states it will serve six to eight people however, we are greedy and find really we only get four big portions from this quantity!

SOUP!!!!

Ingredients

  • 2tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the bread
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 leek trimmed and finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 100ml red wine
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes 
  • 400g tin cannellini beans (or whichever you prefer)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 small sprig rosemary and 2-3 small thyme sprigs, tied together
  • 200g kale, cavolo nero, or Savoy cabbage, tough stalks removed, leaves shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 slices slightly stale white bread
  • 1 garlic clove, halved

Method

In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil and sauté the onions over a medium-low heat. Cook them for a good 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and glistening.

Add the carrots, celery and leek, and cook for a further five minutes, stirring and then add the garlic and stir for another minute.

Pour in the wine and simmer for a minute – this makes everything SO much better. Add the tomatoes, beans, stock, rosemary and thyme, season and simmer gently, partially covered, for about an hour.

Use this time to drink wine.

Add the greens and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove the herb bundle and season to taste.

Once the soup is done, rub the bread with garlic, brush with oil and toast until golden and delicious.

Put one slice in the base of each bowl, ladle over the soup, and shave over a healthy amount of parmesan. If you like, splash a bit more olive oil over the steamy pile of warming delight and tuck in.

You’re welcome.

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Cakey, Ramblings..., Recipes

Self-saucing chocolate pudding

As Christmas edges ever nearer, thoughts turn towards all the traditional tastes and smells associated with the Festive season – mince pies, mulled wine, roast meats, and spice.

This pudding is good at any time of the year but suits those dark winter nights when a change from seasonal treats is in order. It’s very easy and surprisingly un-calorific as it uses cocoa rather than chocolate pieces which is always good for the conscientious pudding fiend.

It’s NOT a health pudding though.

Oh no.

But it’s very good.

The recipe comes from an old National Trust collection of traditional English dishes and can easily be adapted for different numbers of scoffers – either bigger or smaller. This quantity roughly serves 4-5.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

For the pudding:

  • 110g butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 2 level tablespoons cocoa
  • A little milk if needed

For the sauce

  • 300ml water
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 3 level tablespoons cocoa

Method

Preheat your oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4.

Butter an ovenproof dish – roughly 10cm deep and about 20x23cm in diameter (exact shape isn’t too important but it does need the depth).

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour with each one. Sift the remaining flour and the cocoa together and fold in, adding a bit of milk if it gets too stiff. It needs to be spreadable so use your own judgement to get the right consistency – I found a tablespoon or so milk was fine but you might need a bit more. When it is ready, spread the mixture into the prepared dish.

For the sauce, gently heat the water, brown sugar, and cocoa in a pan until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture turns into a thinnish sauce. Pour this chocolatey joy over the pudding mixture then put in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the top is crisp and brown and you can see the sauce beginning to peep around the edges. The pudding will rise through the sauce, creating a rich, moist base with a nice crisp top and a sea of warming, chocolate goodness hiding underneath.

Serve immediately with a scoop of ice cream or whatever indulgent adornment you see fit…

 

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Fishy, Recipes, Spicy

Prawns with a spiced cream sauce

Hello everyone! I am so sorry for my absence from the land of Butisittasty over the past few months – as well as recovering from my jaunt in hospital I have been finishing my MA (now done – YAY!) which took up a lot of my time and all of my energy. But I’m here now so all the tasties can be had!

Although I am still very tired.

Anyway…

One of the things about recovery is that little things really can make a difference, and I found myself looking for dishes that were not only simple (well, maybe with the exception of the Pigs Trotters on Toast!!!) but which were comforting. Old cookbooks were dug out and old favourites were re-discovered.

This dish is based on a brilliant Madhur Jaffrey recipe for spicy hard boiled eggs. My parents used to make a version of this every time we had a big party of friends over for a curry-fest and it was always the first to be gobbled up. Although it is good with eggs, the prawns add a wonderful flavour which, combined with the cream, create a decadent and almost bisque-like curry. You can substitute the cream for yoghurt if you like but you’ll be missing out – it’s totally worth the extra calories. You can use fresh prawns too if you prefer – just reduce the cooking time slightly.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1fresh green chilli, finely chopped
  • 125ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 75ml chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200g frozen prawns
  • 1 tbsp (or more) finely chopped fresh green coriander

Method

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, non-stick frying pan then add the onions. Stir and fry until the pieces are just beginning to brown at the edges then add the ginger and chilli and stir fry for a minute or so.

Now add the cream, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, garam masala, tomato paste and chicken stock. Stir to mix thoroughly and then bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary, then add the frozen prawns and stir the whole lot together.

Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, spooning the sauce over the prawns until they are cooked through. By this time the sauce should be fairly thick. Garnish with the fresh coriander and serve with steamed rice and/or a load of flatbreads for dipping.

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Meaty, Ramblings..., Recipes, Reviews

Pig’s Trotters on Sourdough toast – review & recipe

It may seem odd to be reviewing a recipe but sometimes a dish requires more than a list of ingredients and a method. Generally I always try to follow instructions as closely as possible on the first attempt of a new recipe, only making changes if something is not working properly i.e. burning. Which does sometimes happen. But every cook will tweak recipes as they go and I’m no different. However this recipe is so good that I find very little adjustment is required.
It is one I’d been wanting to try for a while but had never quite been brave enough to attempt – the ingredients alone fill one page of the recipe book and the process takes several hours. However it was the first dish I ever ate a fine dining restaurant (the excellent Trinity in Clapham) and has stayed with me ever since. I saw that it featured in Trinity chef Adam Byatt‘s book ‘How to Eat in’ and I managed to get hold a copy to ogle over. And there it was ‘Pig’s Trotters on toasted Sourdough’. Brilliant. But, as I said, complicated and time consuming. It also features a fair amount of meat and, as my wife is a vegetarian, it was never going to be something that I could present for a normal dinner at home. And it’s a starter anyway so there you go.

However, as she was away for a couple of weeks and I had a good friend coming to stay – one with whom I often cook over-the-top and ambitious dishes – it seemed like a good opportunity to give it a go. And the recipe says that the cooked trotter mix can be kept refrigerated for several days (ideal for making in advance) and also frozen so allowing me to make a full batch and only use what was required for two before storing the rest. Or scoffing it myself. However, in the end I decided to do a half batch as I wasn’t sure I’d get four trotters in my casserole.

As the title suggests, the main component is pig’s trotters which was not something I had ever cooked with but that never stopped me before. It also needs smoked ham hock along with stock vegetables, vinegar, and spices. I had decided to forgo the garnish of crackling – not because I dislike it but purely because as I was only cooking for two it seemed a bit excessive and crackling doesn’t exactly keep well. After ringing various butchers with no avail to enquire about the availability of trotters, I meandered into Brixton where, of course, I was soon in possession of two huge trotters and a good hunk of smoked hock. The recipe says that some trotters need to cleaned and soaked overnight to remove impurities before having any hairs removed but these were ready to go and so no fuss for me. Thankfully.

The cast iron casserole was dug out and my instinct about only doing a half quantity was proved wise – the two trotters I’d bought only just fitted in. Lucky me. I carefully prepared everything – chopped vegetables, measured oil and vinegar, found the right amounts of spice – then, after re-reading the recipe again, I began.

Trotters ready to go!

Trotters ready to go!

It is here I must tell you that although I said the recipe was complex, the processes involved are actually very straightforward – there are simply several of them. Vegetables and spices are browned in oil then quickly caramelised with honey, vinegar added and then reduced before the meat and stock are added. All very simple. This is where the time factor comes in. The trotters need to be simmered slowly to break down all the gelatinous tissue so the initial cooking-time is five hours with regular basting. Note that the trotters will curl up slightly (as if they are still alive) during this period – this may be slightly alarming the first time you open the lid to baste them. Well, I was alarmed.

After five hours in a low oven, the casserole is removed and the mixture allowed to cool (time factor again) then the meat and skin is separated and diced, the vegetables strained and discarded, before the stock is left to chill in the fridge (again, plan you day carefully to allow for this), skimmed of fat and then reduced. Not complicated stuff – just a series of processes.  I didn’t add all of the skin as the recipe suggests, opting for about two thirds as it seemed to be plenty.

While the stock reduces, more onions are fried in a pan and joined by the meat and stirred together before the rich coloured stock is added and everything is reduced to the consistency of a sticky, juicy and chunky pâté. At this point, the mixture can be cooled and stored for future reheating and this is what I did. Although I had a sneak preview first of course.

My sneak preview

My sneak preview

It was gloriously rich, almost overpoweringly so, but the finished dish features a sharp and creamy Sauce Gribiche and a fried quail’s egg to help counterbalance the richness so I wasn’t worried. The Sauce Gribiche was a recipe I’d used before so I didn’t use the same as Adam although the ingredients and flavours were the similar – hard-boiled egg, oil, vinegar, cornichons and capers, tarragon and parsley. Great with many things not just trotters.

I had got some quail’s eggs from the local butcher and, once the toast (my own sourdough of course) was on, the trotters reheating, we carefully cracked them into the pan and cooked for about one and a half minutes. The dish was assembled and looked, well, pretty damned impressive I must say. Almost professional standard in my own rather humble opinion. And it tasted utterly amazing with the richness being perfectly balanced out by the Gribiche and quail’s egg. A truly wonderful starter and one of the best dishes I have ever cooked.

The finished dish.

The finished dish.

So in conclusion, should you try this recipe out for yourself? Yes. Absolutely. Don’t be put off by the size of the ingredients list and the time involved – other things can be done while the trotters simmer and the advance preparation make it perfect if you’re planning a special dinner. Or just a greedy night in. Is it as good as the one in the restaurant? Well, that’s a matter of opinion isn’t it?

If you want to try it, here is the version that I used – it makes enough as a starter for 4-6 people.

Ingredients

  • 2 shank pig’s trotters (check with the butcher if they need cleaning and soaking)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 head of garlic
  • 2 large white onions
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 small leek
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 25ml red wine vinegar
  • 500g smoked ham hock
  • 1 litre Chicken Stock
  • 2 quail’s eggs

For the Sauce Gribiche

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 5 cornichons – finely chopped
  • 1 tsp capers – rinsed, dried, and finely chopped
  • Handful each of parsley and tarragon leaves, finely chopped

Method

Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 3/170⁰c.

Peel and roughly chop the carrots, garlic cloves, and one of the onions.  Trim and roughly chop the celery and leek.  Peel and finely dice the remaining onion and keep separate (to add to the cooked trotter mix later).

Heat half the oil in a large cast iron casserole and colour the roughly chopped vegetables with the spices over a high heat.  Onceed brown, stir in the honey and boil for a few minutes and caramelise lightly, then add the vinegar and boil for a further 2 minutes until reduced by half.

Drain the trotters and place on top of the vegetable mix with the ham hock.  Pour in the stock, put the lid on the pan and bring to the boil, before transferring to the oven and cook for 5 hours, basting the trotters from time to time and turning them over at hourly intervals (and not being too freaked out by the movements of the toes!)

Remove the casserole from the oven and leave to cool, then lift out the trotters and ham hock and set aside.  Tip the contents of the pan into a fine sieve set over a bowl and let the stock strain through.  Chill the stock in the fridge so that the fat rises and sets on the top.

Carefully remove the meat and skin from the trotters, then dice both the meat and skin and place in a bowl.  Separate the meat from the skin and bones of the hock.  Dice the meat and add to the bowl.

While you wait for the stock to chill you can make the Sauce Gribiche (or whenever you need it to serve) by placing the egg in a pan of boiling water and simmering for 7-10 mins until hard boiled. Remove and run under cold water until cool then peel the egg and separate the white from the yolk (which should be a solid ball), reserving the white for later. Mash the yolk with the mustard in a bowl until you have a smooth paste.

Slowly dribble in the oil (as if making mayonnaise) and mix the paste – it will look like it has split or turned into a horrific mess at first but keep mixing until it turns into a smooth, silky mixture.

Chop the egg white into small cubes and stir in to the yolk-mix, along with the chopped capers and cornichons, then finally add the chopped herbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary and keep refrigerated until required.

Skim the fat off the chilled stock, then transfer the stock to a pan and reduce by half over a high heat.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan until hot and fry the diced onions until caramelised. Mix with the diced meats, and stir in the reduced sauce.  Season and keep warm until ready to serve – or cool and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Toast some sourdough bread and carefully fry the quail’s eggs for no more than one and a half minutes (any longer and you won’t get a runny yolk) then assemble your dish by spooning a generous amount of the trotter mix onto the toast, top with the fried egg and garnish with a dollop of Sauce Gribiche and a scattering of parsley.

Feel very pleased with yourself.

I’d like to thank Adam for not only creating this brilliant recipe but also giving me encouragement via Twitter as I made it!

 

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