It is that time of year and to make a change from cold turkey sandwiches, cold meat and pickles and the obvious of turkey curry which I have nothing against this year I am doing something different with the legs off my bird. If you are getting your turkey from your local butcher get them to remove the legs for you if not there are plenty of videos on you tube showing how to remove the legs which is really very easy to do. Cooking the legs in this way will give you what resembles pulled pork in a rich Smokey sauce with a nice bite to it, will lift any boxing day meal to another level.
2 turkey legs, skin removed
1 large onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil
4 cloves of garlic minced or grated finely
1 tbl spoon chilli powder of choice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
125 ml tomato sauce
75 ml cider vinegar
2 chopped chipotle chillis (these are dried chillis soak in hot water for 20 minutes to hydrate, keep the juice)
2 finely chopped jalapeños
1 tbl spoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tbl spoon molasses or honey
125 ml water
Sea salt and pepper to season
This can be cooked in a slow cooker, cast iron casserole or an oven proof dish. Can also be done in your BBQ or smoker, I will be doing this in the wood fired oven on boxing day and making up some special Christmas pizzas.
Sauté onion until soft and golden roughly ten minutes, add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute. Stir in the tomato sauce, cider vinegar, chillis, Worcestershire sauce the honey or molasses and add the water. Stir well and cook through for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the skinned turkey legs either whole or as thighs and drumsticks cover with the sauce and cook for around 3 hours until the turkey is soft and tender. If cooking in a slow cooker either cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours until as above.
Once cooked transfer to a bowl and allow to cool so that either with your hands or two forks shred the meat into long shreds just like pulled pork. Stir the shredded meat into the remaining sauce and serve with good bread rolls, coleslaw, pickles and all your other boxing day sides.
The only fast food I have really eaten and one that since I started to eat only free range meat that I actually miss is fried chicken, everyone loves fried chicken with that crispy crunchy coating and moist tender chicken inside, picking the bones to get the last morsels of meat from them. For one reason or another it is not something I have cooked that often in the past, this is my method and recipe for making southern fried chicken, you can adjust the flour mix with various herbs and spices to get your own personal taste.
To get the most of this recipe you need to plan it in advance as you need to marinade the chicken in buttermilk for 24 hours minimum. The enzymes in the butter milk help tenderise the chicken and keep it moist when frying, I also find you get a crisper end result. Most supermarkets stock buttermilk. I used 8 chicken thighs and 500 ml of buttermilk.
After the chicken has been marinated for 24 hours it is ready to be dredged in your flour mix.
The easiest way to coat your chicken is in a large food bag with your flour mix in, this is far less messy than a bowl with the mix in.
My mix for this recipe was.
100g/3½oz rice flour
4 tbsp cornflour
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp baking powder
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and add to the bag containing the flour, shake well coating each piece with your flour mix. Pre heat a deep fat fryer to 165-170c, fry until golden and cooked through roughly 8 minutes for thigh joints. I always use a temperature probe when cooking and test the core temp chicken should reach 165f or 73c to be safe.
Another visit to my favourite farm shop and another gift off Dillys, two large pieces of flank steak the last flank I had from them I flash fried and it was amazing. The idea for this comes from Marcus Bawdon another outdoor cooking lover and an inspiration on the BBQ and Smoking side of it. It is always good to visit the farm shop and see the actual cows in the field or sheds that supply just great meat.
flank steak chilli
The recipe is not very different to my usual chilli, I used the same mix of chillis being ancho, chipotle, cascabel and jalapeno. The one difference in this was I used beer in the sauce rather than just stock.
Place the dried chillis in a bowl and cover with hot water to rehydrate. Finely chop onions and mince garlic fry until softened in olive oil.
Blend the chillis with the liquid they were re-hydrated in and add to the onion and garlic, finely chop the oregano and stir in. Add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock cube and beer and bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Use either a hand blender or food mixer to blend the sauce, add the flank steak and beans to the sauce in an oven proof casserole, if you can not get flank brisket, shin or some braising steak will be a good substitute.
Place in a preheated oven at 140c for 6-8 hours, this could also be cooked in a slow cooker placed on before you go to work in the morning.
Proper chips not skinny little fries from fast food outlets but chunky deep-fried in beef dripping chips just like we had as kids.
There are only a few steps to perfect chips number one is your choice of potato a good floury potato is best for chips so you can not go far wrong with King Edwards or Maris Pipers. Number two on your checklist is the fat you cook your chips in forget vegetable oil or sunflower oil what you need is a proper fat a natural fat such as beef dripping or lard.
Peel and cut the potatoes in to chips the width of your thumb giving you a nice chunky chip, always rinse the chips well to remove the starch, then dry well.
Heat your fryer to 150c lower chips in remember never more than half fill any pan or deep fat fryer with fats or oils. Fry for 6-8 minutes until they just start to colour remove from fryer shake excess fat from chips and place on kitchen paper and allow to cool once cool place in fridge and chill.
The second frying is at 170c and for around 3-4 minutes until the chip is just about cooked through again remove from fat drain excess fat and place on kitchen paper and allow to cool.
twice cooked chips
To finish off your perfect chips heat your fat to 190c, it is only going to take about 2 minutes to get that golden brown outer and keep that soft fluffy inside of your chip.
Perfect chips and Steak
The extra bit of effort really does make it worthwhile if you want perfect chips.
Another weekend another food adventure, for a long time bread has been my downfall in the kitchen. Flatbread of varying types from parthas to chapatis have been made during my curry cooking nights but the traditional loaf has always seemed to have the upper hand on me ranging from bread that could be used for armour plating to unrisen tasteless efforts. So a decision was made get a decent book and try again, how difficult can mixing four ingredients together then waiting be, yes just four not the dozen or more in shop bought bread. The first task getting fresh yeast local supermarkets failed even the ones with bakery sections all coming back with the same answer sorry only got dried, this is where twitter again turned out to be a valuable tool. Among the people I follow is Alex Gooch a local artisan baker based in Hay on Wye so after a message I had sourced some fresh yeast, me and Ffion were going to the Hay food festival on the Saturday so arranged to visit Alex and collect the yeast. An unusual for this year sunny day with just the occasional shower made the visit to the food festival pleasant with plenty of great local produce available, award-winning cheeses local ciders and meat producers all enjoying the sun that brought out a good crowd, a chat with John Standerwick Trealy Farms fantastic butcher and as usual a bodin noir was in the basket this time their new spicy one which will feature later in the post.
A short drive from the food festival we arrived at Alex’s bakery on the outskirts of Hay, the smell of the place was fantastic. There is no hiding Alex’s passion for what he does and his fantastic produce, the highlight for Ffion was being shown Daphne the sourdough starter she has just started her own and as required by sourdough law has named it, I say it she has two Sebastian and Gertrude, they are being done on different methods one just the standard flour and water the other from the book Dough by keeping back some dough from your last bread making I will keep you all up-to-date on which does best.
Time to face the nemesis and make some bread, nothing to adventurous of the first go a simple white loaf. The only thing I will say is to use the best ingredients you can as with everything you cook.
This was made with
500g of organic stone ground flour
10g fresh yeast
10g Salt (i used Halen Môn)
350g water, you can measure 350ml but I always weigh water as it is far more accurate and as we know baking requires accuracy.
Add the yeast and salt to the flour and rub the yeast in as if making a crumble.
Crumbing yeast into flour
When all the yeast has been crumbled into the flour slowly add the water, it should be room temperature water not hot not cold, holding your bowl with one hand mix in the water until a dough forms.
Ffion forming a loaf
Having read and been told by a number of people now there is no set time on letting the dough rest it will take as long as it needs all you want is for it to double in size, after this form into the shape you want be it a long loaf, small rolls or placing in a tin. I have been told that the secret to a good crust on the bread is steam, some commercial ovens inject steam as the bread is cooking, i achieved the steam part by placing into a tray in the bottom of the oven a cup of boiling water and the oven at maximum as the bread was placed into the oven on a hot tray, i do not have a stone yet. After ten minutes i turned the oven down to 230c and baked for a further 30 minutes.
Unlike previous attempts at bread making I was pleasantly surprised by this my latest effort.
Fresh Baked Bread
As I wrote earlier in the post Trealy Farm spicy boudin noir (black pudding) would feature. After an afternoon baking bread with Ffion and the aroma that the kitchen was full of I was feeling rather hungry, we had planned on a BBQ but the rain god’s of British summer said otherwise, so it was to be pork burgers for tea unlike bread most other cooking does not phase me, home made burgers are a favourite during “BBQ” season. I had shoulder and belly minced together to give a good fat content essential in burgers and sausages alike, roughly 70% shoulder to 30% belly. This is where the black pudding came in along with caramalised red onion and some good cheese it was mixed into the pork to make the burger’s, I always chill the burgers for around an hour before cooking it helps them keep shape better.
Pork with spicy black pudding burger served on an Alex Gooch ciabatta roll with young leaf salad. The black pudding gave the pork an added extra that made a fantastic burger.
I have to say that there maybe a pattern appearing on my blog in that I somewhat like pork, well yes it may be true that I love all things pork especially when it comes from free range rare breed animals, to keep these fantastic breeds in existence the best way is to breed them for eating, some say that this is a bizarre statement but if these breeds are not bred for fantastic meat produce then there may only be a few left in petting zoos and as pets.
Tonight’s tea was to be pork chops and roast veg, now these are not the insipid white chops you see in a supermarket and even came with the kidneys, the kidneys are going to make tomorrow’s breakfast of devilled kidneys on toast.
Pork Chops & Kidneys
The chops were to be seared in a pan then finished in the oven along with the roast veg.
Pork Chops & Roast Vegetables
The longest part of this whole meal was the veg roasting, around an hour at 180c, the meat was 3 minutes each side to sear then around 8 minutes in the oven with the veg to finish it off.
Pan fried pork chop & roast vegetables
A simple yet delicious meal, use whatever veg you have to hand and whatever is in season, the only limitation is your imagination.