Archive for the ‘Stew’ Category

For the veggies who read this- my apologies for the meat-feast nature of the last few posts. For those who have a problem with eating bunnies because they are cute- I make no apology.

Rabbit is a great meat, slightly gamier than chicken (although this also depends on whether the rabbit is a buck or a doe and how old it is) it has a sweetness and is cheap too, it is amazing slow cooked. I wanted to make something reminiscent of the rabbit braised in white wine that I ate at the Crooked Billet and I was quite pleased with the result. Don’t be tempted to try and joint the rabbit or de-bone it as it can be much easier done once cooked.

rabbit in white wine and lentil stew with garlic dumplings

serves 4 generously

  • 1 medium sized rabbit
  • 1/2 cup of red lentils and 1/2 cup green lentils or 1  cup broth mix
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 pints chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

for the dumplings:

  • 60g shredded suet
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • 6tbsps cold water

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy based pan and soften the onion and garlic on a low heat. Add the whole rabbit and brown on each side. Rinse the lentils in a sieve and chop and wash the leeks.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to the boil. Put a lid on and simmer on a low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring every now and then to stop anything sticking to the bottom. In the meantime make the dumplings. Crush the garlic and salt together with the back of a knife. Mix the flour, suet and crushed garlic and add to it enough cold water to make a soft dough. Make into 8 balls with floured hands and after the 1.5hours of simmering, add the dumplings on top. Put the lid back on and leave for 30minutes. At this point you can fish out the whole  rabbit (serve the dumplings into bowls first) and de-bone it once it’s cooled a little, it should just fall off, and you can add the bone-free meat back into the stew. Serve the stew in a bowl with steamed greens.


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Did I mention I like cooking for people…oh I did? Well last Thursday I cooked for the alpha course at my church, so I happily pootled around in the kitchen the day before preparing 20 portions of tagine. For your convenience, I’ve shrunk the numbers (you are welcome), though if you did want to make this for 20 it’s a pretty simple “chuck it all in the pot” endeavour. Also I’d like to take this opportunity to sing the praises of butternut squash, which is definitely in my top ten vegetables. One of the best things about it is the smell when you cut it open, all sweet and autumnal; I actually find it quite a wrench to have to cook it. Just as well it tastes good too, eh?

Oh and sorry for the lack of photos, I just didn’t get round to snapping the food what with all the talking and that…

lamb or lentil tagine with butternut squash

serves 4

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp Moroccan spice mix (ras el hanout)
  • just under 1/2 tsp of harissa
  • 200g diced stewing lamb or 1/3 cup of red lentils
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp/a squirt of tomato purée
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 3cm cubes
  • 300ml lamb or vegetable stock
  • 70g dried apricots, diced finely
  • 1tsp honey
  • ground pepper and salt

Preheat your oven to 170C and then find a heavy based oven proof dish with a lid. Heat the oil in it on the hob and fry the onions and garlic until softened. Add the powdered spices (NOT the harissa!) and fry for another two minutes. Then add everything else and stir until well mixed. Plonk on the lid and pop it in the oven for 1.5 hours, then check seasoning, and how watery it is and the tenderness of lamb (unless its the veggie version of course). Put back for another 30mins for the veggie version and 1hr for the meat. If it looked a bit watery to you when you pulled it out take the lid off for the last 30 mins. Another easy peasy crowd pleaser done.

Serve with couscous. Follow the instructions on the packet to work out quantities but before I pour on the hot water, I like to add a pinch of salt and about 1/2 tbsp of olive oils and 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice stirred into the dry couscous to coat it and give it a bit of extra flavour.

I would also say that any root vegetable like sweet potato, carrot or swede would work well here. I was going to put other veggies in when I made this but the butternut squash I had was so mammoth nothing else would fit in the pots!

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fish stew and harissa

I served the fatayer from my last post with this fish stew and having vaguely referenced bouillabaisse recipes, I made my own version of the spicy “rouille” it is normally served with. Ever the over ambitious I even decided to make my own harissa which is an ingredient in the “rouille”. This comes with a serious health warning, I saw a recipe that told you to cut up dried whole chillies which I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND. Just buy chopped dried chillies unless you want to end up breathing in chilli dust and nearly choking to death as your lungs burn. Even wrapping my scarf over my face like a kitchen ninja didn’t help.

The fish stew became a bit of an exercise in how many herbs I could throw in a pot, to which the answer was: lots. If you wanted to simplify it I’d say the parsley is the priority, followed by the bay leaf, then the thyme and the fennel last. You could use any white fish instead of the tilapia  like cod or pollock, and any smoked fillet instead of the smoked haddock.

fish stew serves 4 generously

for the stew

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 anchovies
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • bunch of parsley finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • a handful of fennel fronds
  • a few strands of saffron
  • a bay leaf
  • 1 satsuma or clementine
  • 1 fillet haddock
  • 2 fillets of tilapia
  • 1 fillet smoked haddock
  • 1 fillet of salmon
  • a handful of prawns
  • salt to taste
for the rouille
  • 2 tsp harissa (see recipe below, or use a pre-made paste)
  • 1 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 bunch coriander finely chopped
Skin the fish fillets, and chop into bite size chunks. Select a heavy based pan and fry the anchovies, garlic , onion and the chopped stalks of parsley until the onion and parsley are softened.  Then throw everything apart from the fish in, and make sure you cut the satsuma in half, squeeze the juice in and then add the two halves to flavour the stew more. Rinse out the tomato tins with water and add the water to the pot. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, remove the satsuma halves and then add the fish. Simmer for a further 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through and season to taste. To make the rouille just stir all the ingredients together. Serve the stew in hot in bowls, with a dollop of rouille on top and fatayer or hot bread.
harissa makes 1 jar
  • 50g dried CHOPPED chillies
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp wholle coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole caraway seeds
  • 3 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 50ml olive oil
Soak the dried chillies in boiling water for an hour and then drain. After that I was really lazy and didn’t chop anything just chucked it all in a blender and blitzed it until it becomes a rough paste.  Store it in a sterilised jar in the fridge with a layer of olive oil on top to seal it. It should keep for 6 months. To sterilise a jar  preheat the oven to 120C, wash the jar soap and water, then rinse with very hot water, place in the oven until completely dry (roughly 20 minutes). Alternatively take hot from a dishwasher, in both cases just make sure you don’t dry it with a tea towel.

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