Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fried Red Cabbage

This is really flavoursome. Goes well with game, pork or beef.
This would serve 6-8 as a side dish.
10 minutes prep, 30-40 minutes cooking.

Bacon, finely chopped (or use Lardons)
1 Onion, chopped
500g Red Cabbage, diced
1 Green Pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh Black Pepper

1] Gently fry the Bacon until crispy and well browned.
2] Take the Bacon out, leaving the oil in the pan, and set aside.
3] Add the Onion to the bacon pan and stir until it starts to go translucent.
4] Add the Cabbage, Pepper, Salt/Pepper and stir until all the cabbage is coated.
5] Cover and cook over a low heat, shaking the pan now and then, until the Cabbage is cooked, about 30 minutes.
6] Add the Bacon back in to warm through and serve in a warmed dish.

You can try spicing this up with some red chilli and/or garlic for a more powerful dish.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lemon-peppered Roast Leg of Lamb

Serves 8

6 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 teaspoon oil from the anchovies
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2·7 kg leg of lamb
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Half a tablespoon mixed peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
For the gravy
2 tablespoons plain flour
200 ml red wine
400 ml stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (190°C, 375°F).

Mix the anchovies, oil and garlic together in a small bowl.

Use a small, sharp knife to make incisions into the lamb and push in the mixture. Place the lamb in a roasting tin and squeeze over half the lemon juice. Mix the lemon zest, peppercorns and rosemary together and press all over the meat.

Roast the lamb for 2-21/2 hours (depending on how pink you like the meat), basting every 30 minutes.

Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, melt the redcurrant jelly in a small pan. Pour away the excess fat from the tin and brush the jelly on to the lamb. Return to the oven for 10 minutes until glossy and caramelised. Transfer to a carving dish and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

For the gravy, place the roasting tin over a low heat on the hob and stir the flour into the juices until smooth. Gradually blend in the wine and stock, followed by the remaining lemon juice. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then adjust the seasoning and serve in a warmed jug.

Carve the lamb in thin slices starting from the shank (bone) end.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chinese Ginger Beef

From Rhonda Parkinson,
Your Guide to Chinese Cuisine.

The staple dish of Chinese take-out restaurants.

Serves 4

1 pound flank steak

Marinade
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ginger juice (storebought or homemade)

Sauce:
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp white or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 teaspoon hot chili oil or crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

Other:
1 stalk celery
1 red bell pepper
1 carrot
4 to 5 cups oil for deep-frying
2 Tbsp oil for stir-frying, or as needed
3 red chili peppers, seeds left in
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
Batter:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Tbsp hot chili oil (optional)
1/3 cup water, or as needed

Partially freeze the beef to make it easier to cut.

If making homemade ginger juce, grate the ginger and squeeze out the juice until you have 2 tablespoons. Cut the partially frozen beef along the grain into thin strips the approximately length and width of matchsticks.

Add the marinade ingredients and marinate the beef for 25 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, vinegar, sugar, water and hot chili oil. Set aside.

While the beef is marinating, prepare the vegetables and sauce. Cut the celery, red bell pepper, and carrot into thin strips.

To prepare the batter, combine the flour and cornstarch. Stir in the vegetable oil, and the hot chili oil if using. Add a much water as is needed to make a smooth batter. It should not be too dry or too runny, but should lightly drop off the back of a wooden spoon.

Heat the oil for deep-frying to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip the marinated beef pieces into the batter. When the oil is hot, add the beef and deep-fry until it is golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Increase the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Deep-fry the beef a second time, to make it extra cripsy. Remove and drain. Clean out the wok.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the wok. When the oil is hot, add the chilies, minced garlic and ginger. Stir-fry until the chilies begin to blister. Add the carrot. Stir-fry briefly, then add the celery, and then the red pepper.

Push the vegetables up to the sides of the wok. Add the sauce in the middle. Heat to boiling, then add the deep-fried beef back into the pan. Mix all the ingredients together. Remove from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil. Serve hot.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Lemon-Dill Pollack

Servings: 4
Prep Time:: 15 to 30 minutes
Cook Time: Less than 15 minutes

1/3 cup minced fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove - minced
4 (6-ounce) pollack or other firm white fish fillets
Cooking spray

Combine all ingredients except cooking spray in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes. Remove fish from bag; discard marinade.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Place fish on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Pesto Crusted Pollack

Serves two

2 x 170g (6oz) thick pollack or coley fillet, fresh or defrosted, skinned
2 x 15ml spoon (2 tablespoons) pesto sauce
3 x 15ml spoon (3 tablespoons) fresh breadcrumbs
1 x 15ml spoon (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
30g (1oz) cheese, grated
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F, Gas Mark 6. In a small bowl mix the pesto, breadcrumbs, lemon juice and cheese together. Season the fish and spread with the pesto mixture. Spread any remaining mixture around the fish. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Serve with new potatoes and baby vegetables.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Honey Butter Baked Carrots

1 1/2 lbs. carrots, peeled & quartered
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper

Place carrot strips in a buttered 1 quart casserole with cover; dot with butter. Pour honey over top. Combine orange peel, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over carrots. Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Roast Lemon Chicken with Garlic & Herbs

If you don't have an open bottle of white wine to use for deglazing the pan, just use some of the lemon juice that gets squeezed over the chicken.

Serves four.

3- to 5-lb. roasting chicken
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
Finely chopped zest of 1 lemon (reserve the lemon itself)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or a mix of parsley and basil)
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 whole lemon (in addition to the zested lemon, above)
2 heads garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

For the sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
About 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbs. heavy cream (optional)

Heat the oven to 450°F. Remove the packet of giblets from the cavity of the chicken (and save for use in a stock if you like -- but don't include the liver, which will make the stock bitter). Pull any loose fat from around the opening. Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the outside of the chicken with about 1 Tbs. of the softened butter. Mix the remaining 2 Tbs. butter with the chopped lemon zest and herbs. Rub the butter on the inside of the cavity and under the breast skin (see Three steps to great roast chicken). Sprinkle the inside and outside of the bird with the salt and pepper. Pierce the whole lemon with a sharp knife and put it in the cavity of the chicken. Brush the garlic halves liberally with the olive oil and reserve.

Put the chicken, breast side up, on a V-shaped rack (or a flat rack) and set the rack in a roasting pan just larger than the rack. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze both halves over the chicken. Roast for 15 to 20 min., reduce the heat to 375°F, set the garlic halves in the pan near the chicken, and continue roasting for about 45 min. more for a total of about 1 hour for a 3-lb. chicken. For larger birds, add another 10 min. for each additional pound. The chicken is done when the leg wiggles freely in its joint and when the juices run clear from the thigh when you prick it and from the cavity when you tilt the bird. A thermometer inserted into the lower meaty part of the thigh should register 170°F. Set the chicken on a warm platter, propping up the hindquarters with an inverted saucer, and tent with foil to keep it warm while you make the sauce. Remove the rack from the pan.

Make the sauce from the pan drippings (see A double reduction intensifies the sauce). Carve the chicken and serve the meat drizzled with some sauce and with the roasted garlic on the side.

Roast Chicken Made Better

Make classic roast chicken even better by starting with seasonings under the skin and finishing with a delicious sauce from the pan juices

by Beth Dooley & Lucia Watson

Lemon Chicken with Garlic and Herbs is an example of how attention to detail before and after you roast the chicken can pay off deliciously.

Good roast chicken will never let you down," says my grandmother, and Lucia and I definitely agree with her. With its crisp, salty skin, moist breast meat, and dense, meaty dark meat, a whole roast chicken appeals to everyone from a sophisticated diner to a finicky kid (see Choosing the best chicken for roasting).

Getting any two good cooks to agree on how to actually roast the chicken is another story, however. Do you use high-temperature, fast roasting? Or should you take it low and slow? Truss it tight or leave it loose? Baste? Yes? No?

We tried several methods to really explore what worked best, and while we acknowledge that there are indeed many ways to make good roast chicken, we've developed a method that we think is simple, yet which gives us delicious results.

We start with an initial blast of heat, followed by roasting at a moderate temperature; we don't truss, and we don't baste (except for small birds). We do pay careful attention to the first and last steps of the process -- we season the bird to make it even more flavorful, and we always like to go one step further than just plain roast chicken by transforming the flavorful pan juices into a simple but delicious sauce.

Use butter for browning, seasonings for a flavor boost

Three steps to great roast chicken
The simplicity of roast chicken is part of its appeal, so we don't like to clutter it up with lots of ingredients and fussy steps, but we do like to give the bird a nice flavor boost before roasting (see Three steps to great roast chicken). Usually we'll just use butter and seasonings, but for a change we might marinate the whole bird.

For a basic approach, we rub the outside of the bird with softened unsalted butter, which encourages browning, and we work some butter and other seasonings under the skin of the breast to help keep it moist and to add some flavor notes to the mild meat. A generous dose of salt and pepper both outside and inside the bird's cavity is important so that the seasonings can be absorbed into the meat during roasting -- more effective than trying to season the surface later.

We also usually put other flavor additions into the cavity -- herbs, lemons, cloves of garlic -- which help flavor the meat and especially the pan juices as they flow from the bird into the roasting pan.

Don't truss, but do try a rack
Trussing seems time-consuming -- and a little counter-productive. Trussing keeps the drumsticks and wings close to the body so that the skin on the interior part of the breast as well as that inside the drumsticks and wings doesn't brown well. And getting the delicate breast meat and the denser dark meat to cook at the same rate is already an issue in roasting, and trussing can make the dark meat take even longer to cook.

We do like to use a V-shaped rack when possible, which cradles the bird and holds it up higher off the pan than a flat rack (or no rack at all). This lets the hot air circulate under the bird so that it browns entirely -- no more flabby chicken skin on the back side. By lifting the chicken up, the juices hit the pan and evaporate into a rich, caramelized layer (the intensely flavorful base for your sauce), leaving the fat as a layer that can simply be poured off. We've found that when setting the chicken on a flat rack or directly in the roasting pan, the juices that collect around the chicken never have the chance to reduce. Though flavorful, they aren't caramelized so they're not as rich tasting, and they're mixed with the fat, which makes degreasing difficult.

Use an initial surge of heat for crispness without making a mess
A blasting heat crisps the skin and gives the chicken a great roasty flavor, but we recommend just an initial 15 to 20 minutes at 450°F, followed by a more moderate 375°F for the remaining cooking time. High heat throughout cooking works, but the fat spatters a lot, making a needless mess. If the heat is too low, however, the skin never really develops that lovely crispy brown and the meat tastes too bland. As for basting, larger birds are fattier and don't need to be basted; we only baste birds that are under three pounds.

Ovens vary and so do chickens, so cooking times in the recipes should be guidelines only. You also need to consider the amount of other ingredients in the pan; for example, our yogurt-marinated chicken with mushrooms takes a little longer because you've got two pounds of mushrooms sharing the pan with the chicken. The important thing is to learn the signs of a fully cooked chicken. We don't like overdone birds, but unlike red meat, the flavor and texture of chicken don't benefit from undercooking.

A double doneness test is best. Look for clear juices and also use a thermometer. Undercooked chicken doesn't taste good, nor is it safe, so cook your bird to 170°F.

Our tests for doneness start with color. The skin should be dark golden, and the juices that come from the thigh when you prick it (and also from the cavity when you tilt the whole bird) should be clear, not rosy. The drumsticks usually wiggle easily in their sockets, though it's sometimes hard to get a good grip on a hot bird. The ultimate test you should use until you're really experienced is to stick a thermometer into the middle of the thigh meat, not too close to the bone nor too close to the skin; it should read 170°F.

Hurry up and wait. The next step in roasting may seem counterintuitive: you pull your golden-brown bird hot from the oven and you want to rush it to the table. Don't. The chicken will be much better if you let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This lets the juices redistribute themselves. We actually prop up the chicken, backside up, to let the juices run into the breast meat. The 10-minute rest also gives you time to degrease and deglaze the pan and to finish your sauce.

Capture all the flavor by making a sauce from the drippings.


A double reduction intensifies the sauce
This is always our final step in roasting a chicken, and one that we think too many cooks overlook -- making a sauce from the pan juices. The crusty bits that cling to the roasting pan are like gold: concentrated nubbins of roast chicken flavor. We pour or spoon off all the fat (don't go crazy and try to get every drop: a little residual fat won't make your sauce too greasy, and chicken fat tastes good) and then add some liquid to the pan to melt the caramelized juices, forming a thin, shiny veil that covers the pan. We add some stock, reduce it, add a little more, and then reduce that to a silky sauce, thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. If you like, you can reduce just once, but we like the double reduction technique because it seems to create layers of more complex flavors.

It's best of course to use homemade chicken stock or broth, but if you need to use canned, go for a low- or no-salt one; look for Shelton's Arrowhead Mills, or Health Valley. We also love a couple of products made by More Than Gourmet: Glace de Poulet Gold, which is a chicken "demi glace" that can be diluted to use as stock, and Fond de Poulet Gold, which is a concentrated chicken stock. Look for these products in your local market, or for more information, call 800/860-9385. You might save the carcass of the next chicken you roast, boil it for half an hour, and freeze the resulting broth to use with the next roast chicken you make.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Finnan Haddie

There are references to smoked fish in Scotland going back to the 16th century. James Boswell wrote about them in the 18th century, mentioning that Scottish smoked fish could be obtained in London. But these were heavily smoked (as a preservative) and a bit tough. In the late 19th century, as fast transportation by train became available, the Aberdeen fishing village of Findon (pronounced locally as "Finnan") began producing lightly smoked and delicately flavoured haddock (haddies) which were of a much finer texture. They were an immediate success and variations on these tasty fish have become very popular. They can be simply grilled with butter but here is a recipe with milk and onions which turns them into a delicately flavoured fish stew. The quantities are sufficient for four people.

Ingredients:
One pound (500g) smoked haddock
One large onion, thinly sliced
14oz (400ml or one and two thirds of a cup) milk
½ teaspoon cracked pepper
1½ teaspoons mustard powder
1oz (30g or ¼ stick) butter, softened
2 teaspoons plain flour
1 finely chopped spring onion
Some finely chopped parsley

Method:
Place the thinly sliced onion in the base of a large pan. Cut the smoked haddock into pieces about ½" to an inch (2cm) wide and spread over the onion.
Mix the milk, pepper and mustard and pour over the fish. Bring to the boil slowly, reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for five minutes. Then uncover and simmer for another five minutes.
Remove the fish from the pan with a slotted spoon to allow the juices to run off and place in a warm serving dish. Continue to simmer the mixture in the pan for another five minutes, stirring frequently.
Mix the warm butter and flour and add to the pan along with the finely chopped spring onion. Stir over a low heat until the mixture comes to a slow boil and thickens slightly. Pour over the fish and serve with some finely chopped parsley.

Oven Baked Smoked Haddock

4 to 6oz smoked haddock (I prefer the uncoloured version)
small knob of butter
salt and pepper
herbs (if desired)
pot of yoghurt
juice of half a lemon
grainy mustard

Cook the haddock really simply by placing it on foil with a small knob of butter on it. Season the fish with pepper. You may need a little salt but some smoked haddock is very salty already so be careful. If you use your local fishmonger regularly you will get to know how salty his smoked haddock is. Sprinkle on a few herbs if you like. Seal the foil into a parcel and bake in an oven at 175C for about 20 minutes.

For the sauce, heat some yoghurt but do not let it boil. I recently heard that you should use Greek yoghurt for cooking as it has been strained and does not separate. I have yet to confirm that but Greek yoghurt is always creamier and would give a lovely velvet sauce. Add grainy mustard to taste, the juice of half a lemon and some more herbs if you desire.

When the cooking time is over unpack the fish and serve with the sauce on top with lots of sweet corn.

Cooking the fish in foil could be done on the ashes of a barbecue. So if you entertain in the afternoon you can cook your tea on the remains of the fire if they are hot enough.

Sesame Prawn Toast

Totally non authentic chinese, as far as I know, but offered up in most UK chinese resturants. Usually badly done from pre prepared packs. Having said that, I have some had some great versions in Soho [thick, overladen with the topping of prawns, that have been delicious]. Hence my experiment below.

I confess to using shop bought bags of frozen, ready to go prawns here, they come in at 400g around here.
So, make the whole batch as follows for your dinner party, then enjoy the rest of the mix left over the next day as a traditional chinese wonton stuffing, or just plain and easy as deep fried balls. [roll them into 2cm ball, then drop then into hot groundnut oil, just to get a crust on them, as the contents are cooked already]

Notes: This is based on a recipe by Ken Hom, who recommends using uncooked prawns. By all means, use uncooked as long as you know their freshness etc, and you can put the extra time in by getting fresh-from-the-sea live ones.

1 slice of good quality shop bought sliced white bread per person. (This falls into the Nigel Slater area of you cannot beat a fishfinger sandwich made with shop bought white bread).
400g bag of frozen, cooked Prawns
1 Egg
1 bunch of Spring Onions [4/5 of them]
2cm bit of Ginger chopped very finely
Dash of light Soy Sauce
Dash of Sesame Oil
[sorry to be vague on those last two, but it depends on your tastes. More soy, and it will add a salty taste, more sesame, and it will be nuttier, more ginger, it will be....]
Sesame Seeds
Groundnut Oil for deep frying

1] Roghly chop the Spring Onions and Ginger.
2] Put the Prawns into a food processor, add the Egg, Spring Onions, Ginger, Soy and Sesame Oil.
3]Whiz it for a bit, stop, push the missed bits down into the mix, then whiz again for a few moments. The texture should be tangible, dont go for pate smooth.
[this can sit in the fridge, cling filmed, until you are ready to go]
4] Heat up your Groundnut Oil over a medium heat, being as careful as always with hot oil...
5] Generously spread the mixture over the bread, sprinkle the Sesame Seeds over the top and press down gently to make them stick. Prepare as many sliced as you need.
6] Cut the covered bread into 'soldiers', say 4 per slice.
7] Deep fry them, sesame seed side up, until they brown, say 3-5 minutes. Don't overcrowd the pan, do them in batches.
8] Drain them on kitchen paper, pop them in a warm oven, while you finish them all. Serve.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Celeriac Gratin

Serves 4

Preparation time 10 mins
Cooking time 10 to 30 mins

Ingredients
600g Celeriac, thinly sliced
400ml Double Cream
400ml Milk
200g Blue Cheese, crumbled
Bay Leaf
Garlic Cloves
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
4. Serve the gratin in the ovenproof dish.

Honey-balsamic Roasted Duck Legs

http://souperior.blogspot.com/

4 duck legs
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. soy sauce
Pinch of sea salt & a few peppercorns (if you have a mixture of pink & black peppercorns so much the better, but just ordinary black will do)


Mix all the ingredients (except the duck) together, pour half into the bottom of a small dish (just big enough to hold all the duck legs in a single layer), and add the duck, wiping it in the dish so the bottom side gets coated. Then pour over the rest of the marinade, making sure all the duck is touched with it. Cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge to steep for an hour or 3 (you could prob leave it overnight it you like, and if you have only 20mins to spare it probably wouldn't suffer excessively for it).


Preheat the oven to 180oC. Shake the duck from the marinade (but save it!) and put them on a rack over a baking dish, skin-side up and pour a few inches of water into the dish. This is important as a) the duck will drip lots of fat and you don't want it swimming in it (remember, its a duck - not a fish!), and b) the marinade will drip too and it will BURN and you will never ever get your dish clean again if you don't have the water there. Put the duck in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, but do not abandon it entirely, remember I said it needed basting? Periodically spoon a little of the reserved marinade over the duck. Halfway through the cooking time, turn the legs over so that the cut side can be basted as well. In a pestle and mortar bash together the salt and pepper to a fine powder and when there is only 10 mins cooking time left turn the legs again skin-side up, use up the last of the marinade (if there is any) and sprinkle the salt/pepper mix all over the skin and return to the oven.

Serves 3 people as baguette fillings (or if one person is greedy and has two legs), or 4 when served with some accompaniments.

Crispy Braised Duck Legs

Serves 4

4 fresh large duck legs
1/2 lb shallots, peeled
1 lb parsnips, peel and cut in inch thick slices
1 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 small bay leaf
salt and black pepper to taste
pinch of ground allspice
1/2 cups dry white wine
12 to 18 oz chicken stock

Put rack in center of oven and preheat to 450 F. Trim fat and skin from sides of duck legs and leave a covering of skin on top of legs. Reserve fat. Score skin on legs in a crosshatch pattern (cut through fat but not into meat). Coarsely chop reserved duck fat and cook on medium heat until melted, remove from heat and discard solids and set aside.

Place vegetables, garlic, thyme, bay and half the salt and pepper in a roasting pan, drizzle with 1 tbsp of duck fat and toss to coat vegetables. Roast 20 to 30 minutes (turn every 5 minutes) until lightly browned.

Pat duck legs dry. Stir together allspice and the remaining salt and pepper, then rub onto the legs. Heat duck fat on medium high heat, sauté legs until well browned on all sides, the place on paper towels to drain.

Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Nestle the duck legs (skin side up) into the vegetables, add wine and enough stock so that most of each leg is submerged except for the skins. Braise uncovered, until duck is tender (about 90 minutes). Transfer duck and vegetables to a warmed platter, skim fat from pan juices and serve on the side.

Succulent Duck Legs

Adapted from The New York Times

• Braise (for the most succulent meat). Season with salt and pepper, put the legs, skin side down, in a pan; cover, and turn the heat to medium. When the skin has browned and much fat is rendered, turn the heat to low and cook 90 minutes, turning occasionally, until legs are very tender. Braised legs go especially well with sauerkraut.

• Slow roast (for the crispiest skin). This is about as easy as it gets. Place legs, skin side up, in a roasting pan and put the pan in a 300-degree oven. Roast 90 minutes or until fat has rendered and skin is crisp. You'll end up with leaner, somewhat drier meat, good for using in a hash for breakfast.

In either case, you may serve the duck legs whole or pick the meat off (if you like chicken salad, consider duck salad). Braising, roasting, sauerkraut, it all sounds so . . . European. But duck legs are equally at home elsewhere in the world. Thai green curry is perfect with duck. Duck meat makes superb enchiladas. And those crisp-roasted duck legs can be treated like a country cousin of Peking Duck: Roll the meat and skin up in a mandarin pancake with hoisin sauce and scallions.

Now, what to serve with your duck legs? In my experience, cabbage, green beans and potatoes go better with duck than any other vegetables. No matter how you cook your legs, you'll render some duck fat, a golden liquid that sends the typical chef into fits of glee. This is the cooking fat for your vegetables. Sauté some onion or shallots in it, add some cabbage or green beans and cook until beginning to brown, add some water or stock, cover and cook until tender. Go ahead and throw the duck legs in with the vegetables if you like.

If you have potatoes, especially good potatoes like fingerlings from a farmer's market, cut them into one-inch chunks, toss with duck fat, salt, pepper and thyme. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Lamb Tagine With Honey, Almonds and Apricots

Serves: 6

3 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2½" cubes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ras el hanout
¼ teaspoon saffron
½ cup water
½ cup unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups dried apricots, roughly chopped, or raisins
1½ cups almonds, whole and blanched
¾ cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup carrots
½ cup parsley, chopped
hot cooked rice, couscous or potatoes, peeled, cut in ½-inchthick slices

(Mrouzia) Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice mixture that translates as "top of the shop." It usually includes a combination of ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom, black cumin, aniseed, coriander, cayenne, lavender, mace, nutmeg and turmeric. It can be purchased from Middle Eastern specialty stores or Kalustyan's, 800-352-3451 or www.kalustyan.com . If you cannot find it, substitute an equal amount of Chinese fivespice powder or a mixture of spices that are available (ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander, etc.)

In a bowl combine the ginger, pepper, ras el hanout, saffron and water and mix well. Add the meat and rub in the paste, coating evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In a Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and cinnamon sticks and cook until the onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant.

Add the marinated meat to the pot and then the chicken stock to cover the meat. Bring the stock to a boil, and skim off any scum that appears.

Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring from time to time. Add water if the pot becomes too dry. Stew until the meat is tender, about 1½ hours.

Add the apricots, almonds, honey, carrots, and ground cinnamon and simmer, covered, stirring often to prevent scorching, until the meat is very soft and almost falling apart, about 30 minutes longer. (If it is too soupy, uncover and simmer to reduce the sauce to a syrupy glaze.)

Stir in the chopped parsley and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Serve immediately with couscous, rice or potatoes.

Morrocan lamb tagine

By Lesley Waters from Saturday Kitchen

Serves 4

Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time over 2 hours

Ingredients
900g/2lb shoulder lamb
600ml/1 pint chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
175g/6oz dried apricots
½ tsp ground black pepper
3 large pieces orange peel
For the relish:
2 oranges, segmented
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
handful coriander leaves
1 tbsp mint leaves, shredded
55g/2oz pine nuts, lightly toasted, to serve

Method
1. Remove excess fat from the surface of the lamb and cut into 5cm/2 inch chunks. 
2. Heat a large non-stick sauté pan or wok until hot. 
3. Add half of the lamb chunks and sear on all sides until brown using two wooden spoons or tongs to turn the meat. When brown, remove, and splash in approximately 100ml/3½fl oz chicken stock. 
4. Stir to remove sediment from the bottom of the pan. Pour out and reserve. 
5. Repeat this process for the remaining meat.
6. Return the pan to the heat and add the olive oil. When hot add the onion and fry gently for approximately 10 minutes or until golden. 
7. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the ground spices to the pan and fry for a further minute. 
8. Add the reserved meat and the remaining tagine ingredients, including the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for approximately 2 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.
9. Combine all the relish ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the tagine and serve with the relish.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tonkatsu - Deep Fried Pork fillets

Deep fried pork is one of the most popular dishes in Japan, it is enjoyed simply on a bed of shredded cabbage with a bowl of rice and is accompanied with hot mustard that is derived from the English version and Tonkatsu sauce. Like tempura Tonkatsu is of European origins being based on the 'schnitzel' but is not shallow fried like its origin, but deep fried of course when preparing this dish you prefer to shallow fry you may but the texture will be slightly different.

6 Portions

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Pork:

* 6 Pork escalopes, around .5mm thick and weighing 130-150g each
* 120g plain flour
* salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 200g dried breadcrumbs
* oil for deep frying

To Serve:

* shredded cabbage
* boiled rice
* Hot English Mustard or Japanese Mustard (prepackaged hot English mustard)
* Tonkatsu sauce or a mixture of 50/50 Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce

Method:

1. Pork Escalopes: Using a mallet or meat tenderiser flatten out the pork fillets evenly. Season the flour with salt and pepper in a bowl. Place the beaten eggs and breadcrumbs on seperate plates or bowls. Coat the pork escalopes in the flour then eggs and finely the breadcrumbs shaking of any excess crumbs. Set aside until ready to cook.
2. To Cook: Heat some oil in a deep fryer or wok to 180-190°C. Cook the 1 or 2 fillets at a time in the hot oil for around 5 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove them from the heat and drain them on kitchen paper and keep warm while you cook the remaining fillets.
3. To Serve: Place a bed of cabbage on each plate. Slice the pork fillets into 6-8 slices and place them on the cabbage. Accompany each serving of pork with a bowl of rice, mustard and Tonkatsu sauce or a mixture of Worcestershire and tomato sauce. Serve.

Pork Escalopes with Honey Vegetables

Antony Worrall Thompson

Serves 2

Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time less than 10 mins

For the escalopes
2 170g/6oz pork tenderloins
4 tbsp seasoned plain flour
2 eggs, whisked
110g/4oz fresh breadcrumbs

For the honey vegetables
2 tbsp olive oil
4 medium carrots, peeled, diced and blanched
200g/7oz green cabbage, shredded and blanched
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp honey
To serve
fried egg (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
2. Preheat a medium frying pan over high heat.
3. Place the pork steaks between two sheets of cling film and batter with a meat mallet until 1-2cm thick.
4. Rub the steaks in the seasoned flour, dip in the egg and finish in the breadcrumbs.
5. Heat the oil in the frying pan, and cook the steaks for 6-8 minutes either side.
6. Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan and add the carrots and cabbage. Cook for 5-6 minutes to soften.
7. Stir in the mustard and honey and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
8. Remove from the heat and transfer to serving plates.
9. Remove the escalopes from the heat and serve alongside the honey vegetables.