Thursday, 22 November 2012

Rabbit Ragu

To go along with our Game Terrine on our Game Night Part Deux, hubby and I decided on a rabbit dish.  A brief trundle along the internet brought up a Jamie Oliver recipe for 12 hour Rabbit Bolognase and as we have known from previous experience all Jamie Oliver's recipes "just bloody work", so of course we had to give it a go and let me tell you there is nothing but fun and enjoyment from this recipe!

Yes, it takes a long time, but for most of it you have to do bugger all, the oven takes the strain and you are left with a truly wonderful rich, unctuous ragu that really does serve 14 people as a little goes a long way so very cost efficient, it has left us with plenty to freeze.

Rabbit Ragu
Serves 14

Olive oil
3 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 whole rabbit, skinned but with offal
1 bulb of garlic, left whole
2 leeks, chunky chopped
2 carrots, chunky chopped
2 celery sticks, chunky chopped
2 red onions, halved
20g dried porcini mushrooms
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
500ml light beer, we used Pedigree
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 nutmeg for grating
Fresh thyme

Pre-heat oven to 110oc/ 1/4 GM.  In a large casserole pan heat the olive oil and add the bacon.  Cook until lightly golden then add the bay leaves, rosemary rabbit and offal.  Tip over the garlic, leek, carrot, celery, onions and dried mushrooms.  Pour over the tinned tomatoes, beer, tomato puree and just enough water to cover everything.  Bring to the boil and season well.  Grate over half the nutmeg and pop into the oven for 12 hours.  We did this just before going to bed and awoke to wonderful smells from the kitchen all night.

Fresh out of the oven after 12 hours.

The following morning we took the dish out of the oven and left to cool, then with a couple of mixing bowls at the ready went through the ragu a small handful at a time picking out the bunny bones and stalky bits of veg, the rest of the veg was squished and the rabbit flaked.  Go though this twice, because you will miss some of those tiny bones.  Pour everything back into the pan and when ready to serve, re-heat, check the seasoning, add the zest of a lemon and some thyme tips. 

Serve over 'big' pasta, like tagliatelle or penne, something that will really hold the sauce, grate over some Parmesan and om nom, nom
After being 'sieved' by hand and meat shredded.

Game Terrine

I recently went to a Game Demo & Dine Evening, run by the wonderful Seasoned Cookery, with whom I had done a couple of their cookery courses and found them most enlightening and enjoyable.  This evening was no exception.  We were greeted with a glass of wine and canapes, were given a talk by the owner of Catton Hall which supplied the game, watched a demonstration on how to produce Game Terrine and Partridge served two ways then ate the aforementioned Terrine and Partridge dishes, they were delicious and a great evening was had by all.  So much so Hubby and I decided to replicate the Terrine later in the week:

Game Terrine
Serves 8-10

1 tbsp olive oil
225g partridge breast, cut into slices
160g pheasant breast, cut into slices
320g duck breast, cut into slices (our original recipe called for pigeon, but we would net get hold of any)
250g rindless dry cure streaky bacon
450g sausage meat.  I used good quality pork sausages and removed the skins
250g chicken livers
3 bay leaves
100g white bread, crusts removed
2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley (which I forgot to add!!)
6 juniper berries, crushed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp Marsala

Pre-heat oven to 170oc.  Heat oil in a pan and fry the breasts for 2-3 minutes to seal the meat.  Season and put to one side to cool.
Grease a 900g loaf tin and line with 4 sheets of clingfilm, so it overhangs.  Place the bay leaves in the bottom.
Stretch the bacon with the back of a knife and line the tin, leaving a little overhanging, reserve 3 rashers for the top of the terrine.
Put the bread, sage, parsley, juniper and garlic into a food processor and blitz to fine breadcrumb.
Add the sausage meat and chicken livers, blitz again
Add egg and Marsala, season well and blitz once more to bring it all together.

Add a layer of the sausage meat mix to the base of the tin, then press in the a layer of game breasts.
A further layer of sausage meat and continue layering, making sure the final layer is sausage meat.
Fold over the bacon, adding the reserved rashers. Wrap over the cling film and cover with foil.
Place the tin inside a roasting tray and fill the tray have full with boiling water.  Cook in oven for 90 to 120 minutes until the juices run clear.
Remove from the oven and weigh down the terrine with a house brick wrapped in foil of some other heavy weight.
Leave the terrine to cool and then place in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill and set.

Once chilled, turn out and slice.  I served with a shop bought spiced plum chutney, that I heated in a pan and added a dash of cranberry balsamic vinegar, and a toasted slice of Hubby's sourdough bread.

 A very tasty, rich dish, that is easy enough to prepare, just a little time consuming, but made the day before your meal take the pain out of it.  Does make a stunning starter.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Squash & Turkey Bake

Having a pack of turkey mince in the fridge and none of my usual turkey mince recipes hitting my gastric juices I went in search of something a bit more 'punchy'.  This search led me to the website and a recipe from the delightful Nigel Slater.  A recipe that take the humble if not a little bland but oh so good for you if you are watching your weight turkey mince and turns it into a flavour packed and colourful baked dish, perfect for dreary, dark and cold Autumn evenings.

Squash & Turkey Bake
Serves 4  Est WW Pro Points per Serving 9

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
150g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
500g turkey mince
1 tbsp flour
400ml red wine
splash Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp butter
a scratch of orange zest

Preheat oven to 200oc/GM6.  Steam the butternut squash until soft about 25mins.
Heat half the oil of a large pan and gently soften the onion and garlic, then add in the mushrooms and thyme, fry until soft then transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the turkey mince, season with S&P and stir in the flour.  Cook for a couple of minutes then pour in the red wine and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, stir and then bring to a simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes to reduce slightly.  Tip the onions and mushrooms back in and cook for another 5 minutes.  Turn out in to your baking dish.

Mash the butternut squash and stir through the butter and a little grating of orange zest, Season to taste then pile the mash on top of the turkey mixture.  Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes.

I served with sprouts and a spiced red cabbage and it certainly made a punchy colourful meal.  Perfect for cheering up these dark nights.  Plus the left over wine was a perfect accompaniment.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Chicken Cacciatore

Another little recipe, packed full of flavour from Weight Watchers.

Chicken Cacciatore
Serve 2 11 Pro Points per serving

One cal spray
1 tbs parsley-chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red bell pepper, diced
125g mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
ground pepper
150g pasta, dried weight
300g chicken breast, cut into chunks
400g can chopped tomatoes

Cook pasta and keep warm.
Spray saucepan with one cal and heat up to a medium temp, add onion, garlic, pepper and mushrooms, saute for 4 mins until tender.  Add chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Add basil, curry S&P.

Pour in tomatoes, I also added a handful of frozen peas at this point, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 mins, partially covered with a lid. Stir in parsley.  Spoon over the pasta and serve.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Very Slow Cooked Maple & Mustard Pulled Pork

This recipe takes an age, but it is so very worth it.  It is taken from the November editon of Good Food Magazine and takes slow roasting to a new level, but the results are spectacular.

Maple & Mustard Pulled Pork
Serves 6 or more or less depending how greedy you are.
Cooking: Takes 8 hours give or take

2kg pork shoulder
200g sea salt
300g light muscavado sugar
100g maple syrup
100g wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp English mustard powder

Take one pork shoulder, I had bone in with skin on.  I thought I would make a passing nod to my diet, so I got hubby to cut away the rind and some of the fat (have kept it in case I want crackling further down the line ;))

Mix the salt and 200g of sugar then rub all over the pork,place in a dish, cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge overnight.

The next day wipe down the pork with kitchen roll to remove the salt and sugar mixture, you will see a change in the colour and texture of the pork.

Heat the oven to 140oc/120oc fan/GM1.  Mix up the remaining sugar, maple syrup, mustard and mustard powder and some ground pepper. Rub half of the mixture over the pork.  Place the pork on a rack in a roasting tin and roast uncovered for 6 hours.

Spoon the rest of the mixture over the pork and roast for a further hour.

Remove the meat from the tin and rest, covered loosely with foil.

I turned the sauce in the bottom of the tin into a sweet, tasty gravy by placing over heat and bringing to the boil, scooping off the bits of sugar that clumped together, sprinkle in some flour and add stock, stirring all the time and reduce.

The meat is tender enough to pull apart, which would be great for popping straight into bread rolls and served with a tangy red cabbage as the original recipe called for, but as I was cooking this for a Sunday lunch (and had been up at 6am to put the joint in the oven) we carved the meat (well, carved the meat that was not picked at as soon as it came out of the oven, as the gannets clamoured for the sweet, crispy end bits)

The recipe was so delicious, neither the maple or the mustard too overpowering, certainly one to do again as it was a bit of a showstopper without taking up too much of your own time as the oven does all the work.