Weekly menu 13

So finally I get round to the chilli recipe I promised weeks ago.  It’s definitely worth the time and getting the right chillies for this one, you can get them online, as previously recommended I use Chilli Pepper Pete, who are based in Brighton, UK.  The subtle different flavours that come out after the dish has been left to sit for a few hours is amazing and you can add more or less heat as you wish as the basic chilli blend is on the milder side of medium (even though it sounds like a lot, all the chillies used are very low down the heat scale).  So I would cook it in the morning if you are planning to eat it for dinner.  You can even leave it for up to 2 days in the fridge if you wish. It also freezes really well so great to portion up ready for a cheeky jacket potato filling.   Oh, and the rest of the meals this week are pretty yummy too so do give one of them a go!

Please, please feel free to comment and also to forward this blog on to your friends.  My reader numbers are slowly creeping up and I know there are people out there who do cook things off the blog (Natalie!), so leave a note and let me know how it worked out and what’s your favorite recipe.

Enjoy 🙂

Saturday: Ultimate chilli con carne w/ rice
Sunday: Roast shoulder of pork w/ apple sauce, cabbage and mash
Monday: Aubergine, tomato and mint w/ flatbreads
Tuesday: Teriyaki Salmon w/ noodles
Wednesday: Sweet onions w/ puy lentils
Thursday: Coconut  chilli chicken
Friday: Lemon Sole w/ crab butter sauce

Ultimate chilli con carne
Stage One – Chilli Paste Ingredients:
1 Ancho Chilli
1 Pasilla Chilli
1 Mulato Chilli
2 Guajillo Chillies
2 Chipotle Chillies
*Optional extra for heat lovers – 2-3 hot haberneros
Hot Boiled water

Chilli Paste Method
Firstly seed and de-stem all dried chilies.  Then place all in a large bowl and add enough hot boiled water to make them float. Place a plate on top to hold down the chillies under the water while they soak. Let them soak for at least 1 hour.

After soaking strain the chillies through a sieve. And then put them into a food processor.  Add 1/3 cup of cold water. Then blitz until you have a smooth puree. Once nice and smooth set aside to add to the pot, you can also freeze it at this stage if you want it for future use.

Stage Two – Main Ingredients
All of the Chili Paste from recipe above
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp whole cumin seeds,dry pan roasted for a few seconds and finely ground.
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
900 g chuck steak, diced (you can also use good quality mince)
1 tin tomato puree
1 tin red kidney beans
1 tin chopped tomato
Very dark chocolate – 4-8 squares (bitter choc is perfect, 80% cocoa or above)
230 ml beer,(I use Grolsch)
Worcestershire sauce, a good few dashes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Veg Oil
*Optional extras for heat lovers – 1 tbsp red chilli flakes

Method
Place meat in large bowl and add oregano and cumin to bowl then mix well.

In large pot add 2 tbsp veg oil, then let it get really hot and brown the meat, the more colour on the meat the better the flavour. Add the onion and stir, saute for 4 min or until onion is starting to be translucent. Now add garlic, Worcestershire sauce and beer. Stir well and cook for 5min.

Now add tomato, tomato paste and all of the chilli paste. This is the stage to add the extra chilli flakes if you are using them.  Stir well and cook for a further 5 minutes then add the chocolate, start with 4 squares first and let them melt in then have a little taste – there should be a background sweetness at this stage and wonderful richness, it’s up to you if you want to add more chocolate. I add the whole 8 squares but that’s to my personal taste.

Finally add the beans and season well.  Stir and simmer on low for about 1 hour. Adjust salt and pepper to taste as it cooks.  The meat should be very tender so keep it simmering away until it is.  If you are using mince then you 1 hour should be fine.  The longer you cook it and leave it to rest for the flavours to develop, the tastier it will be.

Serve with white rice or if you prefer tortillas and salad.

Roast shoulder of pork, w/ roasted apple sauce, cabbage and mash
Ingredients
3.5kg boned pork shoulder
3 tbsp salt
1 lemon, juice only
3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped into large chunks
50 g butter
2-4 tbsp caster sugar, to taste

For the mash:
2 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
150 g butter
150 ml milk

For the cabbage:
1 small to medium cabbage, shredded
50 g butter

Method
Preheat the oven to 150 C/gas 2.  Score the skin of the pork into strips using a sharp knife. Squeeze the lemon juice over the skin, then rub with salt.

Place the pork, apples, butter and sugar in the base of a deep-sided roasting tray with 600 ml water. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for three hours.

Remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 200 C/Gas 6 and cook for another 1½ hours, or until very tender and the skin in very crisp.

For the mash, boil your potatoes until tender then drain well and return to the pan then mash well (use a ricer if you have one), you don’t want lumpy mash.  In another pan heat the milk and butter until melted then add to the mash and beat together well over a low heat until soft and creamy.  Season to taste.

Heat a heavy based frying pan with 50 g of butter and then add your shredded cabbage along with about 75 ml of water.  Cook until the cabbage is just tender, keep stirring.  Season to taste.

Serve slices of the pork with your mash and cabbage and dollops of the apples which should have turned into a lovely sauce in the bottom of the roasting tin and don’t forget the crackling.

Aubergine, tomato and mint w/ flatbreads
Ingredients

6 tbsp olive oil
680 g (approx) aubergine, diced into 1-inch cubes
450g fresh, large tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1-2 tsp Harissa, plus more for the table
Lemon juice, to taste
Handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil for serving

For the flatbreads:
250 g plain flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
150 ml warm water

Method
To make the flatbreads, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the salt. Then add the oil and water and form into a dough with your hands. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Cover the ball with an upturned mixing bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Next roll the dough into a sausage shape and divide into 8 balls. Flour the work surface and roll out the dough to around 2-3mm thick, using plenty of flour. Once rolled let it rest for 3-5 minutes. Place a heavy-based non-stick frying pan over a high heat and when it’s good and hot, turn the heat down a a little bit. Have a plate lined with a clean tea towel so you can put your cooked flatbreads on it to keep them warm and soft. Shake off any excess flour and carefully lay a flatbread in the hot pan. Let it sit for a minute or two, until the dough looks ‘set’ on top and has started to lift away from the pan and you have some colour on the underside, a few darker spots are fine. Flip over and cook for another 30-45 seconds till the other side has colour too. Wrap the cooked flatbreads in the tea towel to keep warm while the rest are cooking. Once you have them all cooked, you can put the whole lot wrapped in the tea towel into a just warm oven (turn it on to a low setting so you just have some warmth it doesn’t need to be hot).

For the aubergine, heat a large frying pan on very high heat until it just starts to smoke. Add 4 tablespoons of oil and wait till it shimmers, then add aubergine. Stir to coat with oil and cook until lightly charred and tender but not too squishy. Remove from pan to a bowl.

Let the pan heat again until smoking, then add the remaining two tablespoons oil and let it get hot. Add the tomatoes and a good pinch of salt, then cook stirring occasionally until softened, juicy, and lightly charred. Add garlic, harissa (more if you like), and cooked aubergine to the pan. Toss and cook for a couple of minutes, then remove skillet from heat.

Add a good squeeze of lemon juice, mint, and a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Toss and season to taste, and serve immediately, with extra harissa at the table and your flatbreads.

Teriyaki salmon w/ noodles
Ingredients
2 salmon fillets
4-5 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 lime, zest and juice
1 small red chilli
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Ginger – end of thumb sized piece, finely chopped
1 sheet of egg noodles
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
Extra lime juice

Method
Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the ginger, garlic and chopped chilli. Add the zest and juice of the lime and pour in the soy sauce. Add the maple syrup and cook for 1 minute or until reduced and sticky.

Meanwhile, pan-fry the two pieces of salmon for 2 minutes each side in a hot griddle pan. When the sauce is reduced add the salmon to the teriyaki sauce pan.

Cook and drain the noodles according to the packet instructions, then add the sesame oil, seasoning and coriander and a squeeze of lime. Serve the salmon on a bed of noodles with chopped coriander sprinkled on top.

Sweet onions w/puy lentils
Ingredients
Handful, chopped unsmoked bacon or pancetta
4 medium sized onions
3 small carrots
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 nutmeg, for grating
300 g  Puy lentils
500 ml stock
Handful parsley
Knob of butter
100g crème fraîche

Method
Cook the bacon or pancetta in a deep heavy pan over a moderate heat. Roughly chop two of the onions and add them to the pan. Cut the carrots into chunks and add to the pan. Cover and let it cook for a few minutes. Then add the paprika, cinnamon, grate in ½ of the nutmeg. Add the lentils, stock and 500 ml water, no cover and leave for 30 minutes until the lentils have softened.

While that is slowly cooking, slice the remaining two onions and, in another pan, cook them very slowly in butter until golden brown and caramelised. Finish with a grate of nutmeg.  The last thing to add to the lentils is a handful of chopped parsley. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche and top with the caramelised onions on top.

Coconut chilli chicken
Ingredient
3 stalks lemongrass
50 g fresh ginger
2 hot red chillies
2 cloves garlic
Small bunch coriander
2 limes
2 tbsp groundnut oil
200 g tomatoes
2 tbsp fish sauce (nam plah)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
8 chicken thighs, (you can use diced breast but thighs have a better flavour)
400 ml can coconut milk
8 apricots, halved

Method
Remove the outer leaves of the lemongrass and cut the inner leaves into short lengths and put in the food processor. Peel the ginger, slice into thin pieces and add to the lemongrass. Chop the chillies, and add to the ginger along with the peeled garlic. Roughly chop the stems and half of the leaves of the coriander to add as well, reserving the rest for later.

Grate the lime zest into the food processor, reserving the limes for later, then blitz everything to a coarse paste. Add a little groundnut oil or rapeseed oil and scrape the sides down with a spatula if it sticks. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and the tomatoes and pulse for a few seconds longer.

Warm a further tablespoon of groundnut or rapeseed oil in a deep pan over a moderate to high heat and use it to brown the chicken pieces, turning them so they colour nicely on both sides. Lift the chicken out and pour away anything more than a tablespoon of oil and juices. Add the spice paste and let it fry over a moderate heat for two minutes till fragrant, stirring constantly, then return the chicken to the pan. Pour over the coconut milk, stir, cover and leave to simmer over a low heat for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile halve and stone the apricots and leave them to one side.

Test the chicken making certain it’s cooked right the way through, then add the apricots. Leave to simmer for a few minutes, then add the juice of the limes and the reserved coriander leaves.  Serve with boiled rice or roti.

Lemon sole w/ crab butter sauce
Ingredients
300g curly kale
100 g unsalted butter
1 lemon, juice only
2 lemon sole, filleted and skin removed

For the crab butter sauce:
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp white wine
225 g butter, cut into cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g white crab meat
2 small tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed and cut into small dice
4 tbsp chopped chives
1 lemon, juice only

Method
For the crab butter sauce, in a heavy based saucepan, bring the finely sliced shallots, white wine vinegar and white wine to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, then continue to simmer until only two tablespoons of liquid are left in the pan. Add a tablespoon of cold water and continue to simmer until the volume of liquid remaining in the pan is about one tablespoon.

Reduce the heat to low, then gradually whisk in the butter, a little at a time, waiting until all of the butter has melted and incorporated into the mixture before adding more. Once the butter has been added to the reduction, remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a sieve into a clean saucepan. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then stir in the crab, tomatoes, chives and finish with the lemon juice. Set aside at room temperature until needed.

Plunge the kale into a large saucepan of boiling water. Cook for a couple of minutes, then drain and put straight into ice cold water, then drain again and dry on kitchen roll. Melt 50g of butter in a large frying pan, add the kale, and cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes until wilted. Finish the kale with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Season the lemon sole fillets well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a frying pan until hot and add the remaining butter to the pan. Once melted, cook the fish for two minutes on each side. To serve, place the kale in the centre of the plate and put two fillets on top then pour over the crab butter sauce over and around the plate.

(Credits: Serious Eats, James Martin, Nigel Slater, Mike Robinson, JJMoola’s Kitchen)

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