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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Roast Venison with Red Wine, Beetroot and Mushroom Sauce

New winner of tastiest thing I have ever cooked. This recipe is a culmination of ideas from 2 friends and some of my own. The thing that made this so tasty was the beetroot. It was cooked under the venison with some garlic then pureed and added to the sauce. I have sort of used this idea in past to flavour gravies but never to create the central flavour. I don't see why this couldn't be done with different types of meat. One of the other benefits to this recipe was that there was very little preparation. This was served with steamed beans and roasted parsnip and potato. As with most of my left over sauces, this one ended up in pasta with chunks of the left over meat with some parsley and parmesan.

A lamb rump and bacon version - still great.
1 piece of venison for roasting (mine was 1.5 kg)
1 large beetroot in 1cm slices
1 head of garlic, cloves separated
7 slices prosciutto (more if necessary)
Sage leaves (guessing about twenty)
500 gms mushrooms diced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 tbs cream
Roasted potato and parsnip
Steamed beans/greens

Preheat an oven to 220C. Calculate the cooking time for the venison at 20 mins per 450gms + 20 mins extra cooking time. Roast for the first 20 minutes at 220C then reduce the heat to 180C. Lay the beetroot slices in your cooking dish (cast iron frying pan, non stick frying pan, roasting pan), I used a 30cm non stick frying pan. Place the whole garlic cloves on top of the beetroot, sprinkle the lot with a little olive oil. Crack some pepper over the venison and place as many sage leaves as you feel necessary on the venison. Lay strips of prosciutto over and under the venison, no need to be too pedantic, its going to warp in the oven. Cook in the oven as per above. Remove the venison from the oven to a clean plate, cover with foil and a tea towel to keep warm.
Remove the beetroot and garlic (removing the garlic skin) from the pan,  process in a blender or similar. Add the extra virgin olive oil to the pan, heat to medium high and cook the mushroom with a little salt. When they have some colour, add the red wine and reduce until the booze smell is gone. Add the beetroot goo, the cream and the chicken stock and simmer over a medium heat or until you have reached the required consistency. Add the juice from the resting venison to the sauce. Slice the venison, arrange on a plate with steamed greens and roasted potato and parsnip. Add sauce and enjoy.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sweet Potato Chips

Hella easy. You could apply this also to parsnip, potato, carrot and beetroot. I most recently did this in a kitchen with a deep fryer, but this also works in a heavy based saucepan at a high heat. This works really well with rosemary salt. Last time I cooked this, it was still crunchy when being finished an hour after cooking, I don't see why this couldn't be stored in an air tight container for later use.

1/2 a sweet potato
Oil for frying (at least 1.5 litres for stove top)

Heat the oil. Peel the sweet potato and discard the skin. Using the same peeler, hack away at the sweet potato until you have only an unhackable stub left. Sprinkle the sweet potato into the oil, cooking in batches of about a handful. Sprinkling the slices in will keep them mostly separate. If using a deep fryer, sprinkle the slices into the frying basket for easier removal. If using a saucepan, follow the same process removing with a slotted spoon. When crispy and coloured (usually when the oil has stopped bubbling), remove, gently shake off excess oil, and place on absorbent paper. Sprinkle with salt while still hot and oily. Repeat until it has all been cooked. Serve with a meal as a vegetable or as a garnish. Alternatively serve as a snack or with nibbles.

Rosemary Potato Discs

We do this from time to time. The kids love it and surprisingly they maintain their crispness after having been in the fridge. You can use different or no herbs but I would recommend that bottled herbs are avoided, they are overpowering. You can cook these in oil or fat (duck, goose or chicken). This last time I cooked them I used some of the rendered fat that had risen to the surface from the Garlic Thyme Pot Roasted Chicken recipe. Not every one will be picture perfect, some will be limp, some may be burnt a tad, they still taste good. For more even cooking, turn the trays around and change shelves half way through. Store any leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge. A mandolin makes this heaps easier.

4 large potatoes sliced (about 3ml)
1 sprig rosemary stripped and finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat an oven to 180C. Combine the ingredients in batches so that you get a more even spread of oil and rosemary. Using 2 or 3 biscuit trays, spread out the potato in a single layer, pouring the oil/rosemary from the bowl over the top. Roast for about 30 mins, keeping an eye on them, changing shelf height if necessary. Remove from the oven, place the discs on a cooling rack in a single layer, sprinkle with a little more salt. Eat when cool enough either as a snack or with a meal.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Pork Belly in Apple Cider

This is the first time I have attempted pork belly in cider, I have been meaning to do a pork roast in cider for a while. It was worth the wait. If you haven't tried it before, give it a go. After some consultation with a friend this was the direction I decided to take, slowly and, removing the skin at the end and grilling to create crackle while reducing the cooking liquid with some cream. I had planned on placing sliced apple under the pork with some leek but forgot. The leek was omitted and the apples were fried in butter in wedges and served under the pork on the plate. I think that it worked out better this way as the apples weren't mush all through.

1.5 kg piece pork belly (more if you want)
1 onion sliced
1 sprig rosemary stripped and chopped
2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tbs salt (or more)
4 garlic cloves in thick slices
2 bottles of cider (liquid to half way up the meat)
1 tbs cider vinegar
4 Granny Smith apples, quartered, core removed
1 tbs butter
2 or 3 tsp sugar
2 tbs cream
Some Mashed Potato (previous recipe)
Steamed beans

Preheat an oven to 140C. Spread the onion out on a roasting tray to the same size as the pork belly piece, sprinkle the caraway seeds and garlic on top. Rub the salt, pepper and rosemary into the scored skin of the pork. Place the pork on top of the onion, pour in the cider (until about half way up the meat), cover with foil and put into the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the pork from the oven to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice the skin from the belly in one piece. Pour the cooking liquid into a saucepan and place on a high heat to reduce. Stick the skin, fat side down under the grill on high on the lowest shelf, turning if desired. Watch carefully that it doesn't burn. When the crackle is ready, remove it to a drying rack with absorbent paper underneath (less cleaning up) to dry out and harden. In the mean time, melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the apple wedges flesh side down for about 5 minutes on a medium high heat, remove and cover. Check the reduced cooking liquid for sweetness, if necessary add the sugar and the vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the cream to the sauce and reduce the heat to very low until you are ready to serve. Serve with the apple under the pork, mashed potato, beans, chips of cut crackling and the sauce.

Maple and Rosemary Roasted Carrot Soup

The tastiest soup I have made. I have finished this dish with four extras, you don't in fact need any but they taste damn good together.

5 carrots halved and quartered
1/2 pumpkin in 4 cm wedges
4 garlic cloves chopped
1 sprig rosemary chopped
1/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup olive oil (use less if preferred)
1 tbs butter
1 potato chopped
2 onions chopped
2 stems celery sliced
1 handful of parsley chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups stock
Natural yoghurt
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sliced bacon

Pre-heat an oven to 180C. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, the maple syrup, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, salt and pepper and the rosemary in a bowl. Toss the carrots in the maple mix. Coat the pumpkin slices in a little oil. Place both the carrot and pumpkin on a grease proof lined tray, pouring over any mixture and then into the oven for 30 minutes or so.
In the meantime saute the celery, onion and remaining garlic in the butter, adding the remaining oil if necessary until translucent. Add the white wine and allow to reduce by half. Add the stock and potato, bring to the boil and reduce to medium low. Cook the bacon in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Allow the rendered fat to make the bacon crispy then remove to absorbent paper.
When the oven vegetables are tender and there is some caramelisation, remove, chop roughly and add to the pot, including any crusty bits. Add half the parsley and if necessary add more stock to mostly cover the vegetables. Allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Blend the soup to your required consistency, add half the bacon pieces, add more stock if required, maple and seasoning if necessary (it should be subtle).
Serve with more parsley, more bacon, a swirl of extra virgin and a teaspoon of yoghurt.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Potato, Corn and Bacon Soup

I used the stock left over the Garlic Thyme Pot Roasted Chicken recipe. Store bought would be fine, but I recommend that you add a few chopped herbs in with the onion mixture like sage, rosemary, thyme or parsley. I also used the fat that had solidified on top of the stock from the same recipe to fry the potato wedges in. If you have it use it, if not use duck fat if possible or, a combination of butter and olive oil.

1 kg potato chopped
2 1/2 medium onions chopped
Kernels from 2 corn cobs
3 bacon slices chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup white wine
1 litre chicken stock
3 tbs cream
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley
Chicken fat (duck fat or, butter and olive oil)
4 small potatoes cut into thin wedges
1/2 tbs stripped rosemary

Cook the onion, bacon and garlic in some butter until translucent. Add the wine bringing it the boil for a minute or so. Add the potato and corn and chicken stock, bring to the boil and reduce the temperature to medium low. Cook until the potato is tender. Turn off the heat put the lid on and allow the flavours to develop for an hour. Check for seasoning, sdd the cream and some parsley and blend with a stick blender. Heat the chicken fat in a frying pan, add the rosemary and potato wedges, turning and removing when golden. Serve the soup in bowls with some potato wedges and a sprinkling of pesto.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Pulled Pork, Beetroot and Mushroom Pasta

Slow cooked meat is awesome. I used the meat and braising liquid as the sauce for a pasta but this could just as easily be served with mash or polenta. Because there was so much pork after it was shredded, it spread the amount of pasta a lot further also. If possible serve this with some good quality crusty bread.

Olive oil
1.2 kg pork shoulder roast
1/2 sprig rosemary stripped
Salt and pepper
1 beetroot in small dice
500gms mushroom in small dice
4 shallots (or 1 small onion) thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic chopped
2 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp garlic oil
1/2 cup cream
Parsley chopped
1 packet of linguine
Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat an oven to 140C. Season the pork with salt and pepper and rosemary then coat in some olive oil. Sear the pork on all sides in a large saucepan and remove to a clean plate. Add some more oil, the shallots, garlic and mushrooms, sauteing until the translucent and fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Return the wine/mushroom mixture to the boil, add the beetroot and stock and stir to combine. Place the pork on top with resting juices, baste with some of the mixture, cover with a lid and place in the oven for 2 .5 hours. Remove saucepan from the oven, remove the pork to a clean plate, place the pan on a medium low heat, add the cream and if necessary a little more stock. Cook the pasta. Shred the pork with two forks, it should fall apart easily, discard the fat and bone, add the pork to the sauce with a little parsley and garlic oil . Check for seasoning and mix through the pasta. Serve topped with a little extra virgin and Parmesan.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Caramelised Onion

Takes time but it is really worth it. The hardest part is slicing the onions up, the rest is done by slow cooking and a watchful eye toward the end. You need to allow about three hours. Onions are cheap, it lasts for over a week in the fridge and can be used in heaps of ways. My favourite is on biscuits with creamy/blue cheese. Turn it into a tart by spreading on puff pastry 1cm in, add some extra thyme and a little crumbled feta, bake for about 20 mins at 200C. Saute some garlic, add some white wine, when the alcohol evaporates (the booze smell is mostly gone) add some cream and 2 tbs of the onion and mix through pasta. Sandwiches, scrambled egg, salads, use your imagination. A word of warning though, 1 tbs of onion gear would be about the equivalent of 1/2 an onion, eat too much and there will be consequences.

1.5 kg onions, halved length ways and sliced
1/2 a handful of fresh thyme sprigs, stripped
2 tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic roughly shopped
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbs raw or brown sugar
2 tsb garlic oil

Add some the oil to a large heavy based saucepan over a medium heat, add the onions, add the garlic, add the lid. When the onion mixture just begins to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low or less. Stir occasionally for an hour, remove the lid. Cook for a further hour stirring occasionally. In the final hour to half hour, watch more closely as it will be begin to 'catch' and brown, do not allow to burn (use your nose). When the onion starts to take on quite a dark colour, add the balsamic and sugar and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Check for seasoning, add garlic oil.