Beef stew with fried peaches

This is a Persian recipe, which we made with some locally raised beef. The co-op has some peaches ready for ripening at home, which are ideal for this recipe, which is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large white/yellow onion
  • 450g beef, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 firm peaches
  • 20g butter
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Tiny pinch of saffron
  • chopped pistachio nuts

METHOD:

  • Put the saffron in a small cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water, and set aside
  • Heat the oil in a large flat casserole dish, and gently fry the onion until it is beginning to brown. 
  • Add the beef, turn up the heat a little, and fry until browned. 
  • Add the turmeric, cumin, white pepper, coriander, stir and add the tomato paste. Cook for another two minutes, stirring until the meat is well-coated. 
  • Add just enough boiling water to cover the meat, and bring back to the boil, then add the cinnamon and salt. Turn the heat down very low, and braise for a couple of hours, until the beef is very tender. 
  • Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to peel the peaches, halve them to remove the stones, and cut each half- peach into three segments. 
  • Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and fry the peach segments over a medium heat, until they are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. 
  • When the beef is tender, add lemon juice to taste, and add a teaspoon of saffron water. 
  • Arrange the peach segments over the stew, spoon over the sauce, cover and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes
  • Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts, and serve with plain rice. 

Chicken with white wine, garlic and bay leaves

This dish is not always photogenic, but it is delicious, a very simple standard recipe. I jointed an organic chicken to make this, and used Viognier, and bay leaves and garlic from the garden. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 1.5kg chicken joints, 
  • 50-60 ml Olive oil (4 tbsp)
  • 2 garlic bulbs, separated into cloves with the skin left on
  • a sprig of bay leaves, around 6 leaves
  • 200ml white wine
  • 100ml water
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and leave to stand while you prepare the other ingredients. 
  • Use a large casserole dish or pan with a lid. Heat the olive oil, and fry the garlic cloves over a medium heat, until they start to brown. Remove them from the oil and set aside. 
  • Fry the chicken in the olive oil, for around 3 minutes, until browned all over.
  • Return the garlic to the pan with the white wine and bay leaves, and agitate the pan to mix the ingredients.
  • Simmer for a few minutes, before adding the water, and bring back to a simmer to cook for another four minutes. 
  • Take out the white breast meat, and set aside: the thigh, leg and wing joints will need another 10 minutes. 
  • When the thigh meat is cooked, add the breast meat back in, bring back to a simmer and then serve. 

Pork chops in a cream and mustard sauce

We had guests round, and I had some pork chops in the freezer. This was delicious, nothing left at the end. Here are quantities for two. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pork chops
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • around 150ml white wine
  • around 150ml double cream
  • 1 tsp grain mustard
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Cornichons (optional, around 4 per serving)

METHOD:

  • Before cooking, season the chops with salt and pepper and set aside for at least half an hour
  • In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil together, and add crushed garlic, and then the chops. Brown the chops on each side and then cook until they are no longer pink inside, taking care not to over-cook them. 
  • Set the chops on a warm dish and keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, pour off any excess fat and oil, and then add the wine to the pan. Bring to the boil and scrape any delicious sediment in the pan so that it dissolves. 
  • Pour in the cream, bring to a gentle boil for a very short time, stir in the mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  • If you are using cornichons, you can add a tbsp of the liquor from the jar to the sauce. 
  • Pour the sauce over the chops and serve with mashed potatoes. 

 

 

Lamb and Carrot Stew with pickled sour grapes

So delicious. I tried this recipe from the marvellous book, ‘Nightingales and Roses’ by Maryam Sinaiee. I had to order the grapes pickled in brine from Persepolis in Peckham. They also have excellent quality saffron and other essential Persian spices. If you can’t get pickled grapes, something else sour would do, such as lime or lemon juice, or small gooseberries. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • around 400g boned lamb, for example, leg steaks or boned shoulder, cut into fairly large chunks. 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 25g butter
  • 500g carrots (around 5 medium carrots) chopped into batons around 3cm long. 
  • a tiny pinch of saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 4 tbsp pickled sour grapes. 

METHOD:

  • Over a medium heat, fry the onion in the olive oil, until beginning to brown. 
  • Add the meat, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin, and fry until the meat is browned. 
  • Stir in the tomato paste and salt, and stir and cook for another couple of minutes. Pour over enough boiling water to cover the meat, bring to a simmer and set to cook over a low heat for an hour and a quarter or so. 
  • Meanwhile, cut the carrots into batons and fry in the butter until beginning to caramelise at the edges. 
  • When the meat is almost cooked, combine with the carrots and add the saffron water, and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes or so.
  • Check the seasoning, add the pickled grapes and stir. When you are sure the meat is really tender, serve with basmati rice. 

 

Lamb chops, Persian style

This is an excellent recipe for a beach barbecue (ready for when these are allowed). The chops can be put in the marinade in a sealed box, and they are all ready to cook when you get to wherever the barbecue is. I have also defrosted chops whilst marinading them. Not sure if that is allowed but it worked. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 lamb chops
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp orange peel slivers
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g plain Greek Yoghurt
  • A good pinch of saffron threads in 2 tbsp water. 
  • Some more lime juice and 2 tbsp melted butter for basting

METHOD:

  • Put all of the ingredients in a plastic box with a good lid. Shake them together and marinade for a minimum of 8 hours. 
  • Under a hot grill, cook the chops for around 3 minutes on each side, basting with melted butter and lime juice. 
  • OR get the barbecue on, and when it is really hot (around 30 minutes) put the chops on, basting with butter and lime juice, and cook for around 3 minutes on each side. 

Serve with pitta bread and salad garnished with spring onions and basil. 

Venison and Guinness …

You could make this into a pie, a stew, or a steamed pudding. I added dumplings, rather than going out to buy potatoes. The venison came from Storas Uibhist. You can get this locally by visiting Eat Drink Hebrides. 

INGREDIENTS:

For the stew:

  • 500g venison, cubed 
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small celeriac
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 150ml guiness
  • 100ml stock
  • salt and pepper

For the dumplings:

  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50g shredded suet
  • 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 3-4 tbsp cold water

METHOD:

  • Chop the onion finely, peel and dice the celeriac. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole pan and fry the vegetables until they are just beginning to brown. 
  • Add the herbs and the meat, and fry until the meat is browned.
  • Sprinkle in the cornflour, stir, and then slowly add the Guinness and stock. Bring to a simmer, and then season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  • Put the lid on the casserole dish and put it in the oven at 140C for an hour and a half – then add the dumplings.
  • Make the dumplings so that you can add them to the stew for the final cooking time.
  • Mix the flour, salt, herbs and suet in a bowl and then add the water to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, and cut into 8 bits. Roll each dumpling into a ball, coating with a little flour.
  • Drop the dumplings into the stew, and return to the oven at 200C for a further 20 minutes.  

If you are going to make the stew into a pudding, make a suet pastry using 110g self-raising flour, 110g fresh white breadcrumbs, 110g suet, a pinch of salt and approx 140ml cold water. Line a greased pudding bowl with 3/4 of the pastry, fill with the stew, cap with the rest of the pastry, and steam for 2 hours. 

Venison Stew with Membrillo

It is time to make the most of what is in the freezer. I am avoiding going out as much as possible, and eating some of the odd ingredients that are stashed in our freezer. I often take inspiration from recipes from the internet, adapted to what I have. In the freezer, for this recipe, I had some venison diced for stew, and I also had an old pack of membrillo, a quince paste that is generally served with Manchego cheese. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g diced venison
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 200ml red wine
  • 200ml stock
  • 1 tbsp membrillo paste
  • salt to taste

METHOD:

  • Marinade the meat for at least two hours, and preferably overnight, in the wine and olive oil, seasoned with black pepper and dried rosemary. 
  • Strain the marinade and set aside. 
  • In a casserole dish, fry the venison in a little more olive oil,
  • When the meat is browned, add the strained marinade, stock and membrillo paste. 
  • Cook in a slow oven, around 140 C for around 1 1/2 to 2 hours, when the meat should be tender. Season to taste

I served this with kale tops and mashed potatoes. 

Lamb and prunes (Persian Style)

This is a classic combination of lamb and prunes, found across many cultures and cooking styles. This particular recipe is from the north west of Iran, near the border with Turkey. It is totally delicious and relatively easy. I found the recipe in the magnificent book ‘Nightingales and Roses’ by Maryam Sinaiee. Of course, we don’t have 100% of the ingredients in South Uist, but she makes suggestions that helped me to adapt to local circumstances. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 400g lamb neck fillets or lean tender lamb (I used boned lamb chops)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp madras curry powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 8 dried apricots, chopped in half
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 3 tsp salt 
  • 100g yellow split peas
  • 8 prunes
  • Oil to fry the potatoes. 

METHOD:

  • Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a heavy pan, and fry the onions over a medium heat until they are browning. 
  • Add the meat, turmeric and curry powder, and continue to stir and cook until the meat is browned. 
  • Add the tomato paste, cook for another couple of minutes, and then cover the meat in boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour and a half, until the meat is tender. 
  • Meanwhile, soak the apricots in water for at least 30 minutes
  • Meanwhile, cook the yellow peas – put them in a small saucepan and cover with water, and simmer over a low heat. The peas should be soft but still firm. Drain and rinse with cold water. 
  • Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes, and put them in cold water with the salt. 
  • When the meat is nearly tender, drain the apricots and add to the stew along with the prunes and split peas. Add a little water if needed to make sure all the ingredients are covered. Bring back to the boil and continue to simmer until the peas are soft. 
  • About 30 minutes before serving, check for seasoning. Drain the potatoes, and fry them in hot oil for about 10 to 15 minutes until golden and crispy. 

Serve the stew with the fried potatoes on top. This goes well with plain rice. 

Venison Curry

For Christmas, we had pot-roast venison, with a lemon and horseradish gravy. We had a lot of venison for two people, so I also made this curry. It is adapted from a very odd recipe from the BBC website – the quantities were mad, and didn’t match between imperial and metric, so I sort of made up the gaps. It was delicious, although rather hot. I’d like to make it again, so here is what I did. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg venison, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2cm of ginger root, grated
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp kashmir chilli powder, or 1 tbsp ordinary chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp crushed juniper seeds
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp molasses sugar or other brown sugar or treacle
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • greek-style thick plain yoghurt
  • 500ml stock (I used the lemon gravy)

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy casserole dish, and fry the chopped onions over a medium heat. 
  • After around 5 minutes, add the crushed garlic, grated ginger and chopped chillies. 
  • When the onions are browning, add the venison, and stir in to cook and brown the meat.
  • Add the spices and cook for a few more minutes, stirring them in well. 
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and stock, and bring the mixture to a simmer. 
  • Cook over a low heat on the hob or in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. If you are using left-overs, half an hour should be enough. 

To serve, stir in two tablespoons of yoghurt, and garnish with the chopped coriander. Serve with nan bread or rice, and with a side-dish of yoghurt. 

Venison casserole with red wine

I am lucky to live in a place where wild venison from red deer is readily available. This year I have bought my venison from South Uist Estates. We’ve now got rather a lot in the freezer, and the Christmas Day menu is sorted. 

Tonight I made a casserole using the recipe in The Game Cook by Norman Tebbit. I did add a few variations, couldn’t help myself. It was very very good. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 900g shoulder of venison, diced
  • 100g smoked pancetta, or streaky bacon cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 300ml stock
  • 150ml red wine
  • 100g mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Bouquet garni (I used the mystery herbs with added bayleaves)
  • a couple of good shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

MARINADE INGREDIENTS:

  • 150ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp brandy or rum
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • Peel of 1/4 orange, shredded

METHOD:

  • Put all of the marinade ingredients in a plastic box with a secure lid. Add the venison, shake it all around to mix, and then leave overnight in the fridge. 
  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Take the venison out of the marinade, wipe off the chopped onion and orange, and set aside. Strain the marinade and save that as well. 
  • Heat the oil and butter together in a large casserole dish, and gently fry the pancetta. Once it starts cooking, add the chopped onion, carrot, garlic and celery, and continue to cook until the vegetables are beginning to brown. 
  • Toss the venison in the seasoned flour, and then add the flour, herbs and meat to the pan. Keep stirring the meat in the pan until it starts to brown. 
  • Once the mixture is really dry, add the marinade, the red wine and the stock, a good splash of Worcestershire sauce, and  bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. The liquid should cover the vegetables and meat. 
  • Add the mushrooms, check for seasoning, and then put the casserole into the oven for a couple of hours. 

Serve with mashed potato, and a green vegetable. Try adding celeriac to the mash, or serving with roasted parsnips.