Starting this week with a traditional Peruvian dish of green chicken with rice and ending up almost Christmassy stuffed mushroom. Most measure spoons these days do come with cup equivalents on them, I use the Joseph ones, where 1 cup = 250ml and 1/3 cup is 85ml. Worth investing in if you haven’t got a good set of measuring spoons!
The Vietnamese pho is really delicious and well worth trying if you have never made one of these, it’s really easy too.
Saturday: Arroz con Pollo Verde
Sunday: Slow cooked beef in ale with Stilton dumplings
Monday: Sweet potato and feta bake
Tuesday: Chicken tagine
Wednesday: Lamb meatball filled Yorkshire puddings
Thursday: Vietnamese pho
Friday: Chestnut stuffed mushrooms
Arroz con Pollo Verde
2 cups roughly chopped, coriander leaves
1 cup vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts with skin on, cut into 4 to 6 pieces
4 chicken thighs
4 garlic cloves, mashed
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red pepper
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups peas
4 cups rice, long grain
4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 bottle of dark beer
Ground pepper to taste
Purée coriander in a blender, adding up to 1/4 cup water to make a sauce. Set aside.
Rub the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of the cumin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook, turning frequently, for 10 to 20 minutes. When the chicken is golden brown on all sides, remove and set aside.
Add the crushed garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper to the oil used to fry the chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Add the diced carrots and peas and sauté for several minutes more. Add the water, salt, and 1 teaspoon cumin. Cover and bring to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, add the chicken pieces back to the pot. Add the rice and the coriander purée and stir briefly. Cover and bring back to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer rice, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Check rice to see how close to being done it is. When rice almost ready, add some of the beer to taste. Stir and taste for seasoning. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
Place rice in a large serving dish. Arrange the chicken pieces on top and serve with garlic bread and green salad if you like.
Slow cooked beef in ale with Stilton dumplings
For the beef in ale:
3 tbsp olive oil
900 g beef chuck steak, cut into 3–4cm pieces
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
500 ml Guinness
1 tsp English mustard
2 carrots, chopped into large chunks
2 parsnips, chopped into large chunks
400 g tin chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
For the dumplings:
200 g self-raising flour
100 g beef or vegetable suet
50 g Stilton cheese
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp hot horseradish sauce
For the beef in ale, preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy based, flameproof casserole dish that has a lid and brown the beef pieces for 3–4 minutes in batches. Once the meat is well browned, transfer to a bowl. Add the onions to the pan and cook gently for about 10 minutes until soft and transparent, adding a little more oil and a splash of water if the pan seems dry. Once the onions have softened, add the flour and stir well. After a couple of minutes, pour in the Guinness or dark ale, scraping off any bits from the base of the pan as these give a good flavour to your stew. Stir in the mustard before dropping in the carrots, parsnips, tomatoes and bay leaves.
Return the browned beef and any juices that may have collected to the pan and season with a few pinches of salt and some black pepper. Bring everything to simmering point then cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 1.5–2 hours or until the beef is lovely and tender and the sauce has thickened. Cook it on a low heat on the hob if you prefer.
For the dumplings: In a bowl, mix together the flour, suet and ½ teaspoon of salt using your fingertips to break up the suet – you can do this in a food processor. Next add the crumbled Stilton and the parsley to the bowl (remove the mixture from the processor if you’ve used one). Combine the hot horseradish with 150ml water and mix this into the dry ingredients, bringing it together with your hands until you’ve got a good dough consistency. Using your hands, roll the dough into 8–10 balls and set aside, covered, to prevent them drying out.
When the beef is soft and tender, taste the stew and check it for seasoning. Once you’re happy with the flavour, drop the dumplings on top, cover with the lid and return to the oven or set on a low heat on the hob for 30 minutes.
After this time, the dumplings will have puffed up, so remove the lid and raise the temperature of the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. (If you’ve been cooking on the hob until now you need to do the next bit in the oven or under a grill.)
Cook again until the dumplings have developed a crust on top. Scatter some chopped parsley over and serve with creamy mashed potato.
Sweet potato and feta bake
500 g sweet potatoes, chopped into large chunks
2 red onions, cut into wedges
80 g habanero chilli sauce (you can buy easily in supermarkets)
pinch of dried thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
100 g feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Place all of the ingredients, minus the feta cheese, into a bowl and using your hands, mix to coat with the sauce and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Tip the ingredients onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and golden brown.
Crumble the feta cheese on top of the potatoes and pop back into the oven for 5 minutes, or until the feta is golden and bubbling.
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp paprika
10 chicken thighs, skinned, boned and cut in half
50 g dried apricots, finely sliced
50 g sultanas
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp honey
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1/2 tbsp vegetable bouillon
250 g couscous
1 handful coriander, roughly chopped
Mix all the spices together in a small bowl. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, add half the spice mixture and toss until the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated. Cover and place in the fridge overnight to allow the spices to permeate the meat (or at least 1 hour).
Place the apricots and sultanas in a bowl and cover them with boiling water.
Heat the oil in a large high-sided frying pan over a high heat. Add the marinated chicken pieces and fry until browned all over. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and fry for 1 minute over a low heat. Add the remaining spice mixture and fry until the onions are soft.
Add the apricots and sultanas and the soaking liquid, along with the honey, chopped tomatoes and bouillon powder. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Add the chicken pieces and toss until coated in the sauce then cook gently for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Prepare the couscous according to the instructions on the packet and serve with the chicken, sprinkled generously with chopped coriander.
Lamb meatball filled Yorkshire puddings
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
500 g lamb shoulder, minced
100 g breadcrumbs
2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 lemon, zested and juiced
For the Yorkshire pudding:
30 g melted beef dripping
300 ml milk
300 ml water
115 g plain flour
1 tsp vinegar
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7 and line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onions and cook on a low heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook on a low heat for 3 more minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hands until well combined. Form the mixture into 16 balls, each 5cm in diameter, packing each one firmly. Place them on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 15-18 minutes, turning the tray halfway through. The balls should begin to brown on the top, but keep an eye on them to make sure that the balls don’t get burnt underneath.
Towards the end of the cooking time fill the holes of a muffin tray with the beef dripping for the Yorkshire puddings and put in the oven to get really hot.
once you take the meatballs out, keep them warm covered in foil and turn the oven down to oven to 200C/gas 6.
Mix all the Yorkshire pudding ingredients together in a bowl to make a smooth batter. Remove the muffin tray from the oven and pour the batter into the moulds.
Return to the oven and cook for 15 minutes until risen and golden. Don’t open the oven door as the cold air will make them sink.
Serve your Yorkshire puds, filled with meatballs, roasted veg and gravy.
175 g dried rice noodles
few handfuls mint leaves
few handfuls coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced
6 large spring onions, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
75 g bean sprouts
275 g fillet steak, thinly sliced
For the broth
1 cube of beef stock
900 g beef marrow bones (from the butcher)
225 g shin beef, chopped into large chunks
1.5 tsp black peppercorns
4 coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
5 pods green cardamom
3 cm piece fresh ginger, sliced but not peeled
Put the rice noodles into a large bowl, cover with lots of boiling water and leave to soak according to packet instructions.
For the broth: put the beef stock cube into a large saucepan and cover with 1 litre boiling water. Add the marrow bones and the shin of beef. Add the spices and ginger to the broth pan and simmer, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.
Meanwhile put the mint and coriander leaves, chilli, lime wedges and some fish sauce into separate small bowls so people can help themselves to each later.
Divide the rice noodles among 6 serving bowls.
Bring the broth back to a vigorous simmer. Take a large soup ladle and lay a quarter of the fillet steak slices over the sides of the ladle. Dip the ladle into the boiling stock so the meat is covered and leave for 5-10 seconds, or until the beef has changed to pale pink. Pour into one of the bowls and top up with extra broth to cover the noodles.
Repeat the cooking of the steak for each of the bowls. Serve immediately with the small bowls of herbs, chilli and spring onions on the side for scattering over and the bowls of lime and fish sauce for seasoning.
Chestnut stuffed mushrooms
For the mushrooms
6 large flat mushrooms
80 g butter
3 tbsp olive oil
6 sprigs thyme
6 sprigs rosemary, chopped
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
For the stuffing
2 medium onions, chopped
400 g good quality pork sausage meat
200 g breadcrumbs
250 g chestnuts, roasted and chopped (around 20 chestnuts, and you can buy prepared ones in the supermarket)
2 garlic cloves
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and keep to one side for later. Lay the mushrooms upside down in a large oven dish, toss with the olive oil and place a small knob of butter inside each one. Sprinkle with thyme and drizzle with vinegar. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
For the stuffing: Soften the onions in a large pan with a little butter until golden. Finely chop the stalks of the mushrooms and place into a large bowl with the sausage meat, if using, breadcrumbs, chestnuts, garlic and rosemary. Mix well, season and add to the pan with the onions and allow to cook through.
Remove the mushrooms from the oven and heap the stuffing into each one. Return to the oven for a further 30 minutes or until the stuffing is crisp and golden. Serve while hot with a side of mixed salad leaves.
(Credits: Marian Blazes, Thomasina Miers, Good Food magazine, Jason Atherton, Alan Rosenthal, Donal Skehan, JJMoola’s Kitchen)