Pollack with chickpeas and chorizo

A friend of ours came to the back door with a couple of very fresh large pollack, just as I was contemplating what to have for tea. I was about to make a Norwegian dish from Davidson’s, involving cheese and macaroni, but then I turned to Google. 

When I search for recipes online, I type in the ingredients that I have, and then pick out interesting sites to check what they suggest. I sometimes pick up flavour suggestions, or some interesting methods. I don’t like sites with too many photographs, it makes it hard to find and follow the recipe. I also don’t like sites with poor formatting, or dodgy programming that don’t let you download the recipe so that it is readable.

The BBC food website is reliable, informative and full of good ideas, so when I spotted this recipe, I had to try it. I had to tweak it to fit my ingredients and timescale, though. I get all my spices and herbs from Seasoned Pioneers, if you wondered. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • coarse sea salt
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1 large pollack, filleted, skinned and boned
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped, 
  • 4 cooking chorizos (about the size of a standard sausage, and soft) cut into 1 cm lengths
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chick peas (or 150g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 125g spinach (could be more, but that is all I had)

METHOD:

  • Cut the fillets of pollack in half to make four good-sized portions, In a close-fitting plastic container with a lid, sprinkle the pollack with coarse salt and a pinch of saffron, and ensure that the fish is well-coated. Cover, and put in the fridge.
  • After an hour and a half, start preparing the rest of the stew. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • Put a casserole dish on a medium/high heat, add the olive oil, and fry the onions, garlic and chillies for 6 minutes or so. 
  • Add the chunks of chorizo, and cook for a further 5 minutes. 
  • Add the cumin, paprika, bay leaves and cinnamon, and continue to cook for another 4 minutes or so. 
  • Add the drained chickpeas, chicken stock and chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil and then put it in the oven for 45 minutes. 
  • Next, remove the stew from the oven, check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste. I also reduced the stew a bit on the stove top at this stage. 
  • Take the fish from the fridge, thoroughly rinse off the salt and pat dry, before adding to the top of the stew, and returning the casserole to the oven for a further 12 minutes. 
  • To serve, lift the fish onto warmed dishes, and then stir the spinach into the stew before ladling it onto and around the fish. 

We also had some fresh bread and olives at the table, and a Spanish white wine. 

Persian Lamb and Celery Stew (Khoresht-e Karafs)

We got hold of some locally raised mutton the other week, and the first thing I made was this, so delicious. I love Persian food, and this recipe is just wonderful, so subtle and warming. It should be served with barberry rice, (zereshk polo), but we had it with plain rice, because I didn’t know at the time. 

The recipe is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses. All of the recipes I have tried from this book have been easy to follow, and delicious. She also writes a food blog called The Persian Fusion, which has a good gluten-free section as well. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large head of cellery
  • 100g flat-leaf parsley
  • 80g mint leaves
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 500g lamb or mutton, cut into chunks (preferably lamb neck fillet or lean shoulder, but I had a bit of leg)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp plain foulr
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • black pepper

METHOD:

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy casserole dish, and fry the onions over a moderate heat, until they start to brown
  • Add the lamb/mutton and the turmeric, and fry until lightly browed on all sides. 
  • Pour over boiling water, to cover the meat by a couple of centimetres. Bring to the boil, and then lower the heat so that the lamb/mutton can cook for the next hour. 
  • Next up, prepare the herbs. Remove any tough-looking stems from the mint and parsley, and add any leaves from the celery. Put them in a food processor, or slice finely. This makes quite a mound of chopped herbs. 
  • While the lamb continues to cook, cut the celery stalks into 2 centimetre pieces. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and add the celery along with 2 tbsp water, and cover. The celery should cook for about half an hour, until almost soft and beginning to brown at the edges. 
  • Once the meat has been cooking for an hour, add the cooked celery pieces with all their juices. 
  • In the frying pan, heat another 2 tbsp oil, and add the herbs and flour, stir and cook for 4-5 minutes, making sure that the herbs don’t burn. Add the cooked herbs to the stew. 
  • Bring the stew back to the boil and cook for another hour (possibly an hour and a half) – the meat should be really tender and the sauce should be thickened. 
  • Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, cook for a further five minutes. 

Serve with rice; I will test out the Zereshk Polo recipe soon. 

Sajjeyya – Syrian beef stew with arak

We are eating the last of the beef we got from Dr Louise, from cattle grazed on Askernish Machair. I made this last week, so easy. It is from #CookforSyria, a recipe book that I bought two years ago. The website link also tells you a little bit more about the creation of CookforSyria, a celebration of Syrian food culture, and a fund-raiser for Unicef. 

This dish is meant to be cooked in a single pot, as part of a barbecue, picnic or other al-fresco dining event. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g beef, cubed
  • 100g suet, beef fat or other cooking fat
  • 2 aubergines, cubed
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 125ml of Arak (or Raki, or Ouzo)
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • In the pot, cover the beef in cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Any stock that is produced can be used for other dishes. 
  • Take the beef out of the water, and reserve the stock for another day. In the pan, fry the beef fat for a few minutes then add the chopped vegetables and the beef. Add a few spoonfuls of the stock from earlier. 
  • Cover and leave to simmer for 25 minutes, and then add the Arak, and simmer for a further five minutes. 
  • Serve with flat bread and/or rice. 

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. 

Chicken, pepper and mushroom stew

We were given a marrow, a vegetable that I am not that confident with. We made stuffed marrow rings, and I didn’t get it right, so you’ll need to wait for a more successful version. Just to say that the marrow was not well-cooked. The redeeming feature was this stew, which I made to be the stuffing. We ended up eating it with couscous. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g chicken
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 250g mushrooms
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 can chopped tomatos
  • 500ml stock
  • 2 tsp cornflour (I mixed marigold stock powder with the cornflour before adding water)
  • salt and pepper
  • a good pinch of paprika
  • a good handful of chopped mint and dill (or 1 tsp each of dried mint and dill)

METHOD

  • Prepare all the ingredients. Chop the chicken into small pieces. Chop the onion finely. Core the pepper, remove the seeds and slice. Prepare the mushrooms and slice coarsely. 
  • Heat the oil in a casserole dish, and when it is hot,  gently fry the onion and peppers until soft. 
  • Add the chicken and mushroom, and fry for a further 4 minutes or so until the chicken is sealed. 
  • Meanwhile, mix a little stock with the cornflour to make a smooth paste, and then add the paste back to the stock and mix. 
  • Add the tomatoes to the chicken in the pan, and bring to a simmer
  • Add the stock, paprika, salt and pepper and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the stew starts to thicken. 
  • Cover the casserole and cook in a moderate oven for 20 minutes max.

Serve with couscous and garnished with chopped herbs, such as parsley and dill. 

Tunisian seafood stew with fennel

This is a delicious recipe, you can use it with just about any seafood you like. We made it with some fish that Hector gave us, and some squat lobsters. Any mixture of fillets of white fish, mussels, prawns, etcetera could be used. I started with a recipe in ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. A few adaptations were made – I want to use local fresh seafood, and good cooking tomatoes are not always available. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into thin segmental wedges
  • 1 large firm-fleshed potato such as Maris Piper, or 200g of any waxy potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes.
  • 700 ml fish, vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 a medium preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • a pinch of saffron
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • mixed prepared seafood – enough for four people, around 600g
  • 3 tbsp raki or similar spirit
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Put a wide casserole dish over a low heat, and add the olive oil, and gently fry the garlic for a couple of minutes
  • Add the fennel and potato, and cook for a further three to four minutes
  • Add stock, preserved lemon, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 12 minutes, until the potatoes are done. 
  • Add the chilli, tomatoes, paprika, saffron, half the parsley, tarragon, and cook through for another few minutes. Add the raki and bring to the boil.
  • Add the seafood, and enough boiling water to cover, bring back to the boil and cover, cooking fast for three to five minutes, until the fish is just done. 
  • Serve over couscous, garnished with chopped parsley.

The original recipe suggests taking out the seafood once it is cooked , and then adding the raki, reducing the sauce then adding the fish back in. I didn’t have the patience. 

 

Fish tagine with potatoes, tomatoes and olives

We had some white fish in the freezer, so I had another go at making this, from a recipe book called Moro. The first time I made it, the fish was wildly over-cooked, so it is adapted to take cognisance of the random bits of fish we sometimes get. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Approximately 600g fish – white fish fillets, prawns, etcetera
  • A bag of approx 20 small salad potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 green peppers
  • 2 tbsp oily black olives
  • 100ml water
  • salt and pepper

Marinade ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp olive oil. 

METHOD:

  • Make the marinade. Crush the garlic to a paste with the salt. 
  • Add the cumin and paprika, and continue to crush together, adding the other ingredients until reasonably well blended. 
  • Cut the fish into portions
  • Mix about two thirds of the marinade mix with the fish, cover and set aside. 
  • Next, prepare the other ingredients:
    • Boil the new potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes, then drain, cool and peel. Cut into halves.
    • Slice the four garlic cloves
    • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half
    • Take the stems off the green peppers, and scrape out the seeds. Put them in a microwave dish with a lid and cook on high for about seven minutes. Take them out, and remove the lid after a couple of minutes. Peel the outer skin off the cooked peppers. Chop the peppers into strips. 
  • In a medium pan, heat the olive oil, and over a medium heat, fry the garlic for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown. 
  • Add the tomatoes, and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. 
  • Add the green peppers and the rest of the marinade, and cook for a couple of minutes
  • Put the cooked potatoes in the bottom of a large flat casserole dish or tagine dish. Cover with most of the tomato mixture, then add the fish in a layer, still coated with the marinade. Then complete with the rest of the tomato mixture, and the olives.
  • Add 100ml hot water, and cook for a further 6 minutes or so, until the fish is just cooked through. 

Serve with bread and salad. 

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. 

 

Italian Sausage Casserole

In the freezer I had a large Italian pork sausage, flavoured with fennel. I made this stew, which could be made with any good quality coarse pork sausage, for example a Cumberland sausage. The stew is very easy to make, and we served it with creamed potato and celeriac mash, and sea kale florets. 

INGREDIENTS;

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 coarse Italian pork sausages (around 400g) or similar
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, or other chilli powder
  • 1 tsp date syrup, or treacle
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs (I used the mystery herbs from Italy)
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Fry the sausages in the oil in a large frying pan for around 8 minutes, until they are browned. Transfer to a casserole dish. 
  • Fry the onions in the same pan over a medium heat, for around 5 minutes, until they are beginning to brown.
  • Add the crushed garlic and chilli, and cook, stirring for another couple of minutes
  • Add the stock, tomatoes, puree and herbs, and bring to a simmer.
  • Pour over the sausages in the casserole dish, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

This tastes better if it is not boiling hot, let it sit for a few minutes whilst preparing the mash and vegetables.