Rabbits, apples and cider

We had this tonight, either this was an exceptionally tender rabbit, or the recipe was just fab. I think the latter. As it was midweek, I did my trick of doing the main cooking last night, and then reheating and cooking for another 15 minutes tonight. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 rabbit, jointed
  • seasoned flour
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cooking apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 good pinch of dried thyme leaves
  • a good grating of nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200g pancetta or diced smoked streaky bacon
  • 300ml dry cider
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Heat the butter in a saucepan, and fry the chopped apples, onions, bacon and celery together. When the onion is soft and beginning to brown, set aside, and add the herbs and nutmeg. 
  • Dip the rabbit in the seasoned flour. Add a little more butter to the pan and fry the rabbit until the joints are browned. 
  • Add the cider and the fried onion mixture, bring to a simmer and season to taste. 
  • Cover and put into an oven heated to 150C for around an hour and a half. 

We served this with mashed potatoes and braised cabbage. It would be excellent with parsnips too. 

Easy venison casserole

This is a basic venison casserole that could be made with meat from the shoulder, or other cut suitable for stewing. It is very simple and tasty. You could vary the vegetables a little to your taste. I have posted a similar recipe in the past, I think, but with a few more exotic ingredients.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 700 to 900g venison, in 2cm cubes, trimmed of potential elastic bits
  • 2 tbsp plan flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 neep/turnip/swede, peeled and diced
  • 200g smoked pancetta or bacon
  • 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 300ml stock
  • 300ml dark ale
  • salt and pepper to taste. 

METHOD:

  • Set the oven to 150C. Prepare the meat and vegetables. Dip the cubes of venison into the seasoned flour. 
  • Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and brown the venison in stages, so it cooks in a single layer and browns easily. Put this in a dish for adding back to the casserole later. 
  • Fry the onion, celery and carrot together with the bacon until the onion is beginning to brown. 
  • Add the herbs, and stock, bring to a boil and add the ale. Bring back to the boil and add the meat and neeps. Adjust the seasoning at this point. 
  • Cook for 2 1/2 hours at 150C. You can cook it for a couple of hours and then set aside for reheating and a final half hour of cooking the next night. 

We ate this with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts.

 

Rabbit cacciatore

I reserve the right to edit this recipe from time to time. I have been testing out a few variations on this theme, and this one is the best so far. It has taken a bit of experimentation and quite a few rabbits. Thanks to those of you who have been supplying me and to those who have butchered them for me. I’ll need to learn how myself one day. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 rabbit, jointed
  • 15g plain flour
  • salt and pepper
  • mustard/rape-seed oil
  • 100g smoked pancetta
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 75ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500ml stock
  • 20 black olives, stoned
  • chopped parsley

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Season the rabbit meat and flour with salt and pepper. Dust the rabbit with the flour.
  • In a large oven-proof pan, heat the oil and fry the rabbit in stages, browning on all sides, and setting this aside when done.
  • In the same pan, add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, peppers and pancetta and cook slowly until soft. 
  • Add the rosemary, wine and mushrooms and cook for a further five minutes, evaporating off any surplus moisture
  • Mix the stock and tomato paste. 
  • Add the olives and rabbit to the pan, and pour over the stock. Put a lid on the pan and put it in the oven to cook for around an hour. 

Best with mashed or baked potatoes. 

Lamb and yellow split pea stew

I love yellow split peas. They have a particular flavour and texture that goes well with lamb and turmeric. This stew is one of my favourites. It can be made with cubed lamb shoulder, or with chops from the best end of neck. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 dried limes
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 500g lamb neck chops or 400g cubed lamb
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 250g yellow split peas
  • a small pinch of saffrom
  • 1/2 tsp rose water

METHOD:

  • Put the limes in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and add a weight to keep them under water. I usually do this in a small jug, and use a ramekin to weigh them down. Do this before starting anything else; a two hour soak will reduce any bitterness.
  • Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the chopped onions over a low to medium heat until they are golden. 
  • Add the turmeric and cook for another couple of minutes, and then remove from the pan and set aside. 
  • Add the lamb to the pan, perhaps with a little extra oil, and brown all over. 
  • Add back the onions, along with the tomato paste, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and pepper. Stir to mix and add half a litre of boiling water. 
  • Bring back to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, rinse the yellow split peas, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook until al dente, and then drain and rinse. 
  • Drain the limes, nick each one to release their flavour into the stew. Add them to the stew and simmer until the lamb is tender and soft, at least 30 minutes and possibly more depending on the quality of the meat. 
  • Add saffron, rose water, and the drained split peas, and stir them in. Cover and continue to simmer over a very lowheat for a further 15 minutes. The peas should be completely cooked. 

Serve with rice or with fried potatoes. 

Lou’s vegan chilli

My sister Louise made this for one of the meals at Christmas. It doesn’t cost much, can be used with tinned ingredients, and it is vegan and delicious. It also freezes well. There are various substitutions and variations that can be made, depending on what you have in the kitchen. As you vary the ingredients, you may find that the fluid quantities need adjusting, so keep an eye on it as it cooks and top up as required. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 cm of ginger root, peeled and finely chopped – vary quantity to taste
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes, for example, pul biber – pick your favourite for heat, or add sriracha chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin (ground, or whole seeds bashed in a pestle and mortar)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tins of tomatoes, chopped for preference
  • 300g green lentils, presoaked
  • 200g of starch grain, such as bulgar wheat, pearl barley, brown rice or buckwheat. Not couscous
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, or 100g dark chocolate
  • 400g tin of beans, such as haricot beans, cannelini beans, navy beans, black-eyed beans. Alternatively, soak 300g dried beans overnight, and simmer for 45 minutes to cook. 
  • 1 to 2 litres of marigold stock or other stock
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Use a very large pan. Heat the vegetable oil over a low heat, and cook the onion, garlic and ginger for ten minutes, until it is soft. 
  • Add the chilli, cumin and paprika, and cook for a further two minutes. 
  • Add 1 litre of stock and all of the other ingredients, and bring to a simmer. 
  • Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, topping up with stock as required. Stop when the lentils and grains are cooked. 
  • Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

  • Tortillas or wraps, with yoghurt
  • Spooned over corn chips, topped with grated cheese and grilled, served with guacamole and salsa
  • In a taco with all of the extra bits
  • In a sandwich with grated cheese, possibly toasted
  • With brown rice, sour cream and chopped tomatoes or a side serving of green vegetables. (which is what we had with Lou)

 

Lamb (or mutton) siniyah

We are working our way through the winter mutton that we got from a crofter in West Gerinish. Two nights ago, we defrosted the best end of neck, which I boned out to get some tasty meat for this stew, and I made stock with the bones. I tried this recipe from Ottolenghi’s book ‘Simple’ – but found that I needed to cook the meat for longer to get it tender. Best end of neck is full of flavour, but it does require a longer cooking time. I also used slight variations in quantity, to fit what we could buy locally or online. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Olive oil – about 60ml
  • 2 small onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp baharat spice mix from ‘Seasoned Pioneers’
  • 1 kg lamb, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 can of chopped tomatos, or around 500g fresh tomatos, peeled and chopped, if available
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 60g pinenuts, toasted
  • 40g parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper 
  • 200g light tahini paste – stir well before weighing this out
  • Juice from 1/2 a small lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic

METHOD:

  • Add a splash of oil to a large casserole pan with a lid, and heat to low/medium. Cook the onions and celery for ten minutes, until soft. 
  • Add the tomato paste and the baharat spice mix, and cook for a futher two minutes. Put the mixture into a large bowl. 
  • Meanwhile, season the lamb with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. 
  • In the same pan, add a little more oil, turn up the heat a little to medium, and add the lamb to brown it. Make sure you only put in a single layer, cooking the lamb in three or four batches. Add the lamb to the bowl with the onions, before browning the next batch. If you need to, add a little oil before each batch. I found that I didn’t really need to do this. 
  • Once all of the lamb is cooked, return the lamb and onions to the pan, and stir in the tomatoes and paprika and bring to a simmer. Check for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if required.
  • Cover and simmer for around two hours for mutton best end of neck, could be less for shoulder of lamb. The meat should be tender. If the sauce is not thick enough at the end of cooking, take of the lid and simmer so that it thickens up. This is important; if the sauce is runny, the topping doesn’t stay on the top.  
  • While the lamb is cooking, blend together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, a generous pinch of salt and around 150 to 200ml water. The consistency you are aiming for is like double cream. 
  • Heat the oven to fan 180C or 190C if you don’t have a fan oven. 
  • When the stew is ready, stir in the toasted pine nuts and the parsley, and even over the surface of the stew so it is quite level. 
  • Pour over the tahini topping, replace the lid and bake in the oven for 20 minutes to set the tahini sauce. 
  • Remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes to brown the top of the tahini sauce to a delicious crust. 
  • Remove from the oven and rest for around five minutes. 

I served this with a pilau of bulgar wheat and broad beans. 

 
 

Smokey sausage casserole

Hello all. I’m using up all of the ingredients at the bottom of the freezer, ready for the mutton carcase that is coming tomorrow. I’m very excited; meat from local crofts is usually of exceptionally high quality and good flavour. 

This recipe used a pack of six pork sausages that we had bought because they were reduced. You could use more sausages quite easily. I’ve made this a few times, and think I have finally got it to my satisfaction. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pack of sausages
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 peppers, (green or red, your choice) roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp smokey paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • (as an alternative to paprika and chilli, you could use flakes of chipotle chilli)
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of cannellini beans or red kidney beans
  • 1 bag of spinach, around 200g

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in the bottom of your chosen casserole dish, and fry the sausages until they are browned all over, and then set aside. 
  • In the same pan, fry the onion over a low heat for around five minutes, and when it starts to soften, add the celery, garlic and peppers, along with the spices, and cook for another five minutes. 
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, beans and sausages, and turn up the heat until the stew is simmering. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Check from time to time, stir and add a little water if necessary. 
  • At the end of the cooking time, rinse and roughly chop the spinach and add it to the pot. Once it has wilted, the stew is ready to serve. 

It would be quite possible to leave out the spinach and still have a splendid stew. We like this with mashed potatoes, or with crusty bread. 

 

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. 

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.