Sausage risotto

This is a favourite. It is probably not that authentic, but it is very tasty. As usual, the technique is to make a delicious stew, and then add the rice and stock to make the risotto. I allow around 60g rice per person, and 3x as much water as rice. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 sausages, chopped into chunks – around 200g
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper
  • 20g porcini mushrooms
  • approx 750ml hot chicken or beef stock
  • salt and pepper
  • around 50g grated parmesan

METHOD:

  • Melt half of the butter in a pan, and gently fry the onion and sausage until the sausage is cooked. 
  • Meanwhile, soak the porcini mushrooms in half a cup of hot water.
  • When the sausage is cooked, remove the soaked mushrooms from the water, chop them finely and add them to the pan, with the tomato puree and the mushroom water, to make a simple stew. Simmer for around 15 minutes. Keep an eye and add a little stock if the mixture is beginning to stick. 
  • Add all of the rice, stir to coat in the stew, and then cook gently. Add the stock one ladleful at the time, adding more stock only when the last bit has been absorbed. After 20 minutes, all the stock will be in and the rice will be cooked. 
  • Take the pan off the heat, and stir in the rest of the butter and half the parmesan cheese. Adjust the seasoning; I like a lot of pepper
  • Serve with more parmesan cheese on the side. 

I think the real version uses proper Italian sausages, but these are hard to come by locally. 

Rabbit risotto with olives

More rabbit recipes. This one is from Risotto Risotto by Valentina Harris. There are some risotto basics that crop up. Adding the ingredients one by one, and letting them cook together allows the flavours to build. Many of the meat risottos involve making a rich stew, and then adding the risotto rice and the stock, bit by bit. 

I allow around 60g risotto rice per serving, and multiply by 3 to get the volume of stock in ml. For example, for 100g rice, use 300ml stock. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 rabbit, jointed and rinsed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chopped pancetta or streaky bacon
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 glass red wine
  • around 20 small black olives, chopped. 
  • a pinch of dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 1.2 litres of chicken or vegetable stock, simmering 

METHOD:

  • Fry the onion, celery, pancetta and parsley in the olive oil over a low heat, until the onion is soft
  • Add the rabbit and brown it all over. 
  • Mix the tomato puree and wine together, and stir it in, with the olives, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer over a low heat or cook in a low oven for an hour and a half, until the rabbit is really tender. Add stock to ensure that the stew does not stick or dry out. 
  • Let the stew cool, and strip the rabbit meat from the bones. Cut larger sections of meat into pieces the size of a walnut. Return to the stew and bring it back to a simmer
  • Add all of the rice, and stir to coat all the grains. Cook over a gentle heat, and add the stock a ladleful at a time, Make sure the rice absorbs the stock before adding the next ladleful.
  • After about 20 minutes the rice will be cooked. Remove the risotto from the heat, and let it stand for a couple of minutes before serving. 

Carrots with Marsala

I have some enormous carrots in the garden, and this was a delicious side-dish. It is great with lamb. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • about 500g carrots, peeled and chopped into large batons
  • 50g butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 150ml Marsala wine, (madeira or sherry might do instead)
  • Chopped parsley or a pinch of dried tarragon

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter in a saute pan, and when it is foaming, add the carrots. Mix well with the butter so that the flavour is taken up by the carrots. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • After a couple of minutes, add the Marsala, simmer for five minutes, and then add water so that the carrots are not quite covered. Bring back to a simmer, put the lid on the pan and cook the carrots until they are tender. 
  • Take of the lid, turn up the heat and reduce the liquid so that it becomes a syrupy sauce. 
  • Add the chopped parsley or tarragon, and serve. 

 

Lamb shanks in a fragrant yoghurt sauce

I made this with a couple of shanks from a wee hebridean hogget. I used a Madhur Jaffrey recipe as a starter, but it has been adapted to suit me. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • salt and pepper
  • approx 200ml yoghurt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a walnut-sized bit of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • half a small onion, cut into fine slices. 

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper
  • Make the yoghurt sauce. Put the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, 100ml water in a food processer and blitz this until the garlic and ginger are finely minced. Next, sprinkle in the flour, coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper along with a small tsp of salt, and blitz again. 
  • Put the oil in a small casserole dish or pan suitable for the oven. It should accept the two lamb shanks. Over a medium high heat, add the cardamon, cloves, peppercorns and the lamb shanks. Brown the meat on both sides, adding the sliced onions as you go. 
  • Once the lamb is browned on both sides, add the yoghurt mixture, stir and bring to a simmer, before covering the pan and putting it in the oven. 
  • Cook for around 3 hours, checking from time to time. 

We had this with Greek flatbreads from the Co-op, a current favourite. 

Rabbit and chorizo stew

If you need a tasty dish for rabbit, look no further. I found it useful to have a mouli for the sauce. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil for frying
  • Approx 200g raw chorizo sausages
  • 1 rabbit, jointed
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, or home grown tomatoes
  • 4 colves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 2 pointed red peppers, halved and grilled to char the skin
  • 200 ml light stock (chicken, vegetable or rabbit)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

METHOD:

  • In a large frying pan with a lid, heat the olive oil to a low/moderate heat. Fry the chorizo until the fat runs. Remove it from the pan, and set aside.
  • Season the rabbit with salt and pepper, and fry until browned on all sides, around 5 minutes
  • Put the tomatoes, garlic and paprika in a blender and blitz. Then put the mixture through a mouli to get rid of any seeds. 
  • Add the tomato sauce to the rabbit in the pan, bring to a simmer, and reduce the sauce over a low heat for around 15 minutes. 
  • Remove the charred skin from the peppers, chop them roughly, and add them to the pan, along with the chorizo and stock, and bring back to a simmer.
  • Cover the pan and cook slowly for around an hour, until the rabbit is falling from the bone. Strip the meat from the bones, and put it back into the stew. 
  • Just before serving, mix the parsley, lemon and olive oil and drizzle over the stew. 

I’m not sure what you are meant to serve this with, we had potatoes. 

Mushroom and potato soup

The idea from this recipe is Italian, but there is the small issue about local ingredients. We haven’t got porcini, or even woodlands that they could grow in. I have got a lot of potatoes though, so I substituted quite a bit. The soup is delicious. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small sweet red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 125g butter
  • 2 medium potatoes, a variety good for mashing (I used Arran Victory)
  • 1.5 litres of boiling water or light stock
  • 1 punnet of chestnut mushrooms, 200g to 300g, sliced
  • 1 40g jar of dried porcini mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  • 250ml single cream
  • a large bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped.

METHOD:

  • Pour boiling water onto the porcini mushrooms in a small jug, and let this sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and gently fry the onion and celery together until they are soft, around ten minutes
  • Peel and grate the potatoes and add to the pan, stir to mix in the butter, and then add the stock or water, and bring to a simmer, and cook for ten minutes
  • Add the finely sliced mushrooms. Strain the porcini mushrooms and add the liquor to the pot. Chop the soaked mushrooms, and add them to the pot as well. Bring to a simmer and cook for twenty minutes.
  • Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste, then blend with a soup blender. Add the cream and bring it all back to a gentle simmer. 
  • Chop the parsley very finely and stir it through the soup. 

We had this with home-made crusty bread. The soup is deliciously buttery and smooth. 

Rabbit with aubergines

I have been given some fresh local tender rabbits to cook, and I’m very excited. I don’t have many go-to recipes for rabbit, so I am trying some out. I’m hoping to get more and try out a Spanish recipe that uses chorizo. This time I went with an Italian vibe.

INGREDIENTS:

  •  1 rabbit, cut into five (2 front legs, 2 back legs, one saddle)
  • 30g butter
  • 30g pancetta or diced streaky bacon
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram, or a handful of fresh marjoram
  • Salt and pepper
  • A glass of dry sherry, or Marsala wine
  • Water or stock
  • A small aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes, set in a colander and salted
  • One red sweet pepper, or a pimento for preference, sliced into strips

METHOD:

  • Heat the butter in the bottom of a braising pan or shallow casserole dish. Fry the bacon and the celery together.
  • As the fat starts to run from the bacon, add the rabbit to the pan and turn the pieces over to let them brown. 
  • Add the tomatoes, chopped garlic, marjoram and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, before adding the Marsala. Bring back to a simmer and reduce by half. 
  • Add water or stock so that the rabbit is just about covered, put the lid on the pan and simmer for around half an hour.
  • Rinse the salted aubergine, and add to the top of the pan. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes, and then add the sliced red pepper. Cook for another ten minutes. 

We served this with potatoes, because we have a lot of them. I would think that polenta would be an excellent accompaniment. 

Beef cheeks with pappardelle

While we were away in Devon, we went to a farm shop, where there were a lot of organic and locally produced foods. In the interests of no waste, they were selling a lot of cuts of meat that are not readily available in supermarkets. We bought a couple of beef cheeks. This is a delicious cut of meat, rich and tender when cooked long and slow. This made four portions, and is based on a few recipes I looked up on the internet. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 10 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 beef cheeks
  • olive oil
  • 100g smoked pancetta
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/4 tsp powdered cloves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • ½ a cinnamon stick
  • a bunch of mixed fresh herbs such as parsley, bay, rosemary, tied in a bundle.
  • 250ml wine
  • 300ml passata (or pureed tomatoes from a tin)
  • Salt and pepper
 
 
 

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Put the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Season the beef cheeks with salt and black pepper. Chop the vegetables into 1cm dice. 
  • In a small casserole dish, heat the olive oil, and then sear the beef cheeks on both sides until they are browned. 
  • When the beef cheeks are properly browned, turn the heat down a little, and add the pancetta and cinnamon, cooking and stirring until the pancetta is golden.  
  • Add the crushed garlic and diced vegetables. Reserving the liquor, drain the mushrooms and add them to the pan, along with the bundle of herbs. Cook and stir, cook and stir for 15 minutes. 
  • Pour in the wine, and bring to a simmer, reduce by half and then stir in the porcini water and the tomato puree. Add water, around 300ml. Scrunch up some greaseproof paper and dampen it, and put it on top, to retain steam, and then put the lid on. 
  • Cook in the oven for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until really tender. Check every so often to see if you need to add any water. 
  • When the beef cheeks are cooked, shred and stir. 
  • Serve with pappardelle, or with polenta. I’m sure it would be good with mashed potatoes as well. For pappardelle, I allow around 250g for four people. 

Local meat – it is the time that it is readily available as we head into winter. I have some plans for a duck ragu to go with pappardelle, and for a few lamb dishes. And some venison. 

 

Sausage and Kidney stew

This is delicious, but I may update this; the original recipe had peas in it, and I am not sure about when to add the kidneys to the stew. But it is delicious enough that I caught Mr B fishing around in it with a serving spoon, scooping up some more. I served this with mashed potatoes and kale. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 sheep kidneys, skinned, quartered and the middle bits removed
  • 6 sausages (I used beef sausages, because they were reduced in the co-op) – cut into thirds
  • 125g bacon or pancetta, cut into strips
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 200g carrots, cut into batons
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced quite thickly
  • 25g butter or 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 300ml stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 50ml sherry
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Set the oven to heat to 150C
  • Heat the oil in a casserole dish. When it is hot, add the bacon and cook until it is browning and the fat is running. 
  • Add the sausages and kidneys, and cook until just browning. Remove everything from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. 
  • Fry the onion, celery and mushrooms in the same pan over a medium heat, until softening. This will take around five minutes.
  • Add the flour, and stir it in, cooking all the while, for another minute
  • Add the stock, sherry and tomato puree, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Add the sausages and kidney back to the pan, along with the carrots. Put the lid on the casserole dish and put it into the oven. Cook for half an hour. 

Shoulder of lamb with mint and cumin

I made this for a large weekend meal, and it was delicious. It takes a bit of prep the day before, and is a long time cooking. It is not a weeknight event. It was delicious and I would make it again. It helped that I had the main ingredients in the garden, or in the freezer. The recipe comes from Ottolenghi ‘Simple’. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lemon – grated rind and juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic for the marinade
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 15g mint leaves
  • 15g coriander leaves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 boned shoulder of lamb weighing around 1kg
  • 1 celeriac (about 400g) cut into 2cm chunks
  • 3 carrots (about 300g) cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves. 
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 2/4 tsp salt, black pepper spices and herbs in a small spice grinder or small blender, and blitz into a paste. 
  • Put the lamb into a large bowl and stab it at least 20 times. Rub in the spice mixture, wrap in a plastic bag or similar, and refrigerate overnight. 
  • Start cooking after lunch. Heat the oven to 170C. Put the marinaded lamb into a casserole dish, cover and put it in the oven for an hour. 
  • Reduce the temperature to 160C, add all of the vegetables including all of the unpeeled garlic cloves. Return to the oven. I found that I needed to add small amounts of water to keep everything moist during cooking, checking every hour or so. I cooked this way for four hours. 
  • Add another small splash of water, remove the lid and return to the oven for another hour. Prepare anything else you need, such as mashed potatoes, greens, etcetera. 

I had a boned shoulder of lamb, but you could use bone-in lamb, and keep the joint in the oven until the meat is falling off the bone.