This is a very very quick post & no pictures of the finished product. Why? Because it took less time to prepare this meal than it did to write this post. Seriously. The only preparation is slicing the onion & garlic. This is my take on the classic sausage casserole with a Japanese theme: Wagyu Sausage & Asahi beer casserole.
Method: Slice the onions roughly. Roughly cop the garlic. Brown the sausages in a bit of oil & remove the sausages. Add a bit more oil if required & add onions & garlic & cook until softened, a few minutes at most. Place the sausages back into the saucepan on top of the onions. Add the tomatoes & beer. Cover & simmer until the liquid has reduced, about 45-60minutes. Season to taste, but you may find that it will be fine. Serve with some creamy mashed potatoes.
Have you ever woken up in the morning with a craving for a particular dish or food?
Well that's what happened to me Saturday morning. I woke up & wanted to make a Chicken & Leek pie. Wasn't interested in any other type of pie, it had to be Chicken & Leek. With a shortcrust cover. Not puff pastry - shortcrust.
A quick rummage through some recipe books to get an idea of quantities & I was on my way.
Fresh Leeks, free range chicken thighs - do not use breast as it will dry out & be horrible. Unfortunately I had to use dried Tarragon as I couldn't find any fresh. Some lard & a nice glass of white wine (for myself) & time to start having fun.
500g boned free range chicken thigh or leg
150ml chicken stock
150 ml white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 tbls Tarragon
cracked black pepper
200g sliced washed leek
1 tbls water
2 tbls plain flour
1.5tsp Dijon mustard
3 sprigs fresh thyme
100g plain flour
100g self raising flour
30ml approx cold water
1 egg, beaten, for glaze
Add the stock, water, wine, half the tarragon, sprigs of thyme & chicken to a saucepan & bring it to the boil, then reduce to a simmer & simmer for 20-25 minutes until just cooked.
In a separate saucepan add the leeks, butter & water, cover & sweat down till just tender.
Remove the leeks from the saucepan with a slotted spoon allowing all the liquid to remain in the saucepan.
Add the flour & mix in to form a roux. remove from the heat.
Remove the chicken from the pot & set aside to cool.
Add the remaining herbs & cream to the poaching liquid & bring back to the boil.
Allow to boil for a few minutes to reduce the liquid.
Cut the chicken into rough 2cm pieces.
Whisk in the roux & allow to thicken slightly
Add the chicken & leeks & combine with the sauce.
Season to taste & remove from the heat & allow to cool.
Sift the 2 flours together & rub in the lard with your fingertips.
Add just enough iced water to form a dough.
Form into a flat dis, wrap in cling film & chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out to a thickness of 5mm and cut to a shape slightly larger than your pie container.
Place the cooled chicken & leek mixture into the pie dish or dishes.
Cover with the pastry & crimp the edges with a fork.
Slice a couple of air vents into the pastry & brush with beaten egg
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown & you can hear the filling bubbling.
When ready remove from the oven & allow to cool slightly before serving.
As soon as I had read this month's ingredients for the Paper Chef (number 43!) i knew what I was going to make. A sweet spicy couscous. But Paul suggested a Tagine! Actually his idea was better so I went with it. The ingredients selected by Silejeng of Javaholic were: couscous, fresh chilies, rosemary and her selection of peaches. A Tagine is a slow cooked, North African dish that is braised at a low temperature. From what I have read there is no set guidelines as to what goes into a Tagine. But they all do contain a mixture of herbs and spices that produce a very aromatic & tasty dish. I decided to use pork even though its not a "traditional" North African meat, as it goes well with peaches, chili & other herbs & spices. I've used dried peaches as fresh peaches aren't available (apparently its winter in Melbourne therefore the wrong season for stone fruits) and that dried fruit hold their shape better & release a more concentrated flavour to the dish. Ive also used a combination of both fresh & dried Chili in the dish, Dried for the kick & fresh for the subtle flavour. Couscous is another north African staple, I think of couscous as a "filler" to which you add the flavours and textures you want. In this instance I've added dried peach, dried mint & pistachio nuts. Its all about the flavour & texture.
Pork Tangine with Peaches Ingredients For the Tagine 500g pork neck, cubed 1 small red chili, seeded & finely sliced 1/2 red capsicum, peeled & cut into strips 1/2 onion, cut into wedges 1 clove garlic, cut into quarters 6 cherry tomatoes, peeled 6 dried peaches roughly diced 1/4 tsp dried chili 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp ground ginger salt to season 1/4 cup red wine 1/4 cup stock 1/4 cup water 1 sprig Rosemary Coriander
For the Couscous 100g couscous 100ml stock 1 tbls oil 1/2 tsp dried mint 10g pistachio slivers 1 dried peaches, finely diced 1 tbls butter
Method: Pre-heat the oven to 160c Place the pork, onion chili, capsicum, garlic & peaches into a lidded oven proof dish. Sprinkle all the dried spices over Toss the ingredients to coat them in the spices Add the tomatoes, rosemary & liquids Cover and put into the oven for about 2 hrs
When the tagine is almost done, start the couscous. Bring the stock & oil to the boil in a lidded sauce pan & remove from the heat. Add the couscous stirring until it start to thicken & cover.for 10 minutes Add the butter & fluff with a fork & then add the remaining ingredients & toss. Sprinkle the coriander over the tagine and serve.
Yes, its a photo of a vegetable peeler. How boring you may say. But this is no ordinary peeler. If you look closely at the slightly blurry photo you may see that it has a very fine serrated edge, in effect dozens of tiny sharp knives. Why? This one is made by Zyliss & is designed to peel soft fleshed fruit & vegetables like capsicum, tomatoes, peaches, plums etc. I thought it was a gimmick till I tried it & now I love it! No more roasting the capsicums to remove the skins for me.