Sunday, 24 February 2013

Recipe XC - Spicy Turkey Fillet Hotpot

It's still really cold here, which means more winter recipes. However this was a tremendously rewarding one, because the smell in the house is utterly divine. It is a little bit of an effort in the beginning but the main part is in a casserole dish, and for that you need absolutely nothing except a hot oven.

1 large sealable casserole

750g-1200g turkey breast/fillet (chicken does just as well, but the pieces will remain whole or simply be halved.

Vegetables, your choice:
3 carrots, chopped
6 small or medium potatoes, cut into slices
1 red pepper, cut into strips
4-6 small onions, roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic, sliced in two
Savoy cabbage, finely chopped into strips
1 courgette, sliced
Anything else that takes your fancy.

Spices, your choice:
1 small bowl, mix up some of the following to your own specifications:
cardamom, coriander, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, plus some garam massala, or mild Madras.

Maximum 1.5 litres of hot, salted water

Some coconut milk, almonds, sultanas, apples and grapes

Turn the oven on to 170°C. Take your turkey breast and slice it into differently-sized pieces and rub a little salt into them. Take your bowl of mixed spices and spread liberally over the pieces, saving about a third for later.

Fry them in butter or oil for five to ten minutes until sealed and place them in the casserole.
Take your onions, garlic, peppers and carrots, and give them a short period in the pan to sweat. Pour over half of the remainder of the spices and add more oil to stop the ingredients scorching. Then put this into the casserole. Add the cabbage and do the same. Mix up the vegetables making sure your meat remains at the bottom and the top is flat enough for the potato level. At this point you can place any fruit (dried or fresh) and nuts.

Finally, place your potatoes on the top to cover it all. Pour over the remainder of your spices, or add a little more to the top, to give it a brownish hue. Fill the casserole with the salted water up to the level of the potatoes but no higher, and cover it. You can add the coconut milk at this point, but it really isn't necessary as the whole thing will remain quite moist with the lid on.

Place it in the oven for between 90 minutes and 2 hours. This will give everything enough time for the flavours to run. When you remove it from the oven, leave it for a few minutes before serving.

It would go well with a nice sweet white wine.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Recipe LXXXIX - Puff Pastry Pies

I took a little break last week to go away for some well-needed recuperation and socialisation, so I have prepared a double-header for you this week. When talking about puff pastry, there are two ways to do it - you can either spend ages and ages rolling the stuff out until it's perfect, or you can just buy a couple of rolls from the supermarket and spend more time on the contents. Guess what I chose...

min. 450g puff pastry
450g-550g chopped beef or lamb
250ml-350ml beef stock
Carrots, roughly chopped
Mushrooms, whole, halved or quartered
Shallots, whole or halved
Cloves of garlic, sliced
Apples, in chunks
Plain flour
Pepper & salt
Butter for frying and for greasing the pie dish
A little water for closing the pastry
1 egg for glazing the top

Roll your meat in a bowl containing flour, salt and pepper, then put it in a high-sided pan to fry gently in the butter.

After some time, add the vegetables and continue frying for a while until it is all nice and coated in the oil of the pan. Add the thyme and garlic for a couple of minutes before you pour in the beef stock. Allow it to simmer for a good hour on a medium-low heat.

Take the meat off the cooker and allow it to cool. Grease the inside of a decent-sized pie dish. With a roll of your puff pastry, line the inside of the pie dish. Pour the meat into the middle of the pastry-lined pie dish and splash the outside with some water to help the top close properly. Take another roll and place it over the top to make a "roof". With some of the remaining pastry, make some vague decorative shapes and don't forget to pierce the pastry top a few times to let the heat escape. Glaze it with an egg and a brush.

Put it in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the pastry rises and goes nice and brown.


2 apples
Brown sugar
1-2 cloves
A small glass of water
The rest of the egg for glazing the pastry
(a spoonful of honey - optional)
(brandy, schnapps or port wine - optional)

Cut up the apples and roll them in cinnamon, then put them in some water. Add some more cinnamon, followed by a clove and some sugar. Heat it up gently until it is near boiling point, then simmer it for a good half an hour, or even more. Taste it to see if it needs anything added - more sugar, or maybe a little alcohol. Let it cool down for a while.

Line some tart moulds with the remaining pastry and blind bake them for a few minutes. I didn't, as I like stodgy pastry. Put the filling into the moulds and arrange the remaining pieces of pastry on top. Glaze it with the remaining egg and sprinkle some white sugar on the top to give it some sweetness.

Bake it in the oven for 13 to 18 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden brown.