Tag: Pork

Italian Pork, Chicken and Chestnut Terrine – variations on an Autumn theme!

Italian Pork, Chicken and Chestnut Terrine – variations on an Autumn theme!

This is a very short follow up on the Autumn Pork and Chestnut Terrine blog from a few weeks ago which you can find here.  This was largely the same recipe and so we will not repeat that here.  The differences were simple and largely for visual appeal.  Instead of confining the pancetta lardons to a layer in the middle of the terrine, these were mixed into the terrine mixture.  Their place was taken by a thin layer of chicken breast.  This had been cut off some chicken we were going to eat that evening.  On top of the chicken layer we added a more substantial layer of the boiled chestnuts.

The final difference was that we bought enough pancetta slices this time to cover the whole terrine!  In the UK if I buy pancetta it is usually cut a little thicker than we find in Italy.  We therefore tend to stretch it and thin it a little by running the back of a knife along its length. There was no need to do that with the thinner pancetta.

We have also been asked what we would use instead of the Tuscan sausages when we cook this in the UK.  The answer is quite simple in that these Tuscan sausages are just minced pork (a mixture of shoulder and belly usually) with a generous dose of salt and pepper.  So in the UK minced pork bought from a butcher or pork minced at home.  The only point to watch is that Italian pork tends to be more fatty than the pork we have become used to in the UK.  It is this that gives it its special taste.   So if you are trying to recreate this don’t stint on the pork fat.  Indeed, if you get the chance (in the UK) add a little more!

As the sausages in Tuscany are already seasoned we have needed to add less salt and pepper to the overall mix. If using minced pork you will need to add more.  If in doubt – fry a little of the mix off, let it cool well and taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.  Alter the overall amounts of the ingredients to suit the size of your terrine.  If you keep the proportions similar to this you won’t go far wrong.

 

For the Original recipe: – Click here

 

 

Pork and Chestnut Autumn Terrine

Pork and Chestnut Autumn Terrine

We were in holiday in Tuscany in the late summer and early autumn in 2019.  This is later in the year than we had normally gone and it certainly felt different.  Gone was the searing summer heat and in this agricultural part of Italy everything was gearing to harvest time: grapes, olives, mushrooms and chestnuts!

We were in a region with lots of chestnut trees (more…)

La Scottiglia revisited – how close had we got in recreating this dish?

La Scottiglia revisited – how close had we got in recreating this dish?

We were very lucky to be able to go back to the restaurant La Scottiglia in Pescina near Seggiano in Tuscany.  Last year, 2018, we wrote about the wonderful dish La Scottiglia that the restaurant has been named after since 1972.  This year we arrived early for a Saturday lunch and were welcomed like long lost friends by the owner.  He immediately started to talk about the recipe and blog we had written last year when we had tried to recreate La Scottiglia (see here).  He offered his congratulations for our efforts and his apologies for not writing something on the website as it would have been difficult to do so in English!

We were shown down to the terrace so we could eat outside in the dappled early autumn sunshine and were  immediately met with a Prosecco aperitif, clearly we were going to have a good lunch!

The menus were newly printed and now carried English translations which was nice.  More staggering was that on the back page was a new description of the history of the restaurant.  We were pleased that the information that we had managed to piece together from the internet seemed to be largely correct – if only it has been present before it would have saved us hours of searching (but then, where is the fun in that!!).

Jackie ordered  a Tuscan Pâté, and then ricotta filled Tortellini with truffles.  For a main course I had the wild boar – but for my starter there could only be one choice – La Scottiglia.  It was with a degree of ‘bated breath’ I tried it – had we got close with our recipe or had I deluded myself?  I needn’t have worried  (too much)!!  Our interpretation was close, though not  identical!  This was ‘softer’ with a little more liquid.  I think there was just a slight hint of chilli which ours did not have and probably a little less tomato.   Also the bread at the bottom of the dish was thinner – and had soaked up less of the glorious juices. So overall a slightly more ‘gentle’ taste than ours – but I think we can be pleased  as we have only been making it for a year rather than for more than a century!  I think we can be reasonably comfortable that ours was a suitable ‘homage’ to this most regional of dishes!

And our plans for this autumn     ……………….. to get closer still!!

Chorizo sautéed new Potatoes with Asparagus

Chorizo sautéed new Potatoes with Asparagus

There are almost as many ways of sautéing potatoes as there are varieties of potatoes, but this is one we have used with quite a lot of dishes recently.  It makes a great tapas dish or a side for other main centre pieces.  We were using Jersey Royal new potatoes which were halved and parboiled for between 8-12 minutes until they were just beginning to soften.  They were then drained and shaken a little in the pan to gently ‘roughen up’ the edges of the potatoes.

The BGE had been set up for direct cooking at around 180C.  We have been using some ‘handless” frying/sauté pans from Tefal – these work perfectly on the BGE.  They work most easily (the handle is clicked off more easily) when the cooking grid is at the level of the gasket, and so are easier on the MiniMax than the Large for instance.   The pan was brought up to temperature and the chorizo was fried in rapeseed oil added to the pan. This both cooks the chorizo and in turn spices the oil.  The chorizo needs to be removed from the pan once it has released some of its flavour but before it fully cooks through.  The par-boiled potatoes were then added and allowed to sauté.  Remember to cook with the lid down, opening just to toss the potatoes round the pan.  Once the potatoes are cooked through and colouring up beautifully the chorizo was reintroduced together with a large handful of asparagus – cut diagonally into 3 cm pieces as in the picture above. The mix was cooked for a further 2-3 minutes and then served.

 

…………………………really simple and can be used in so many ways!!

 

Spicy Charred Chicken Breast with Chorizo Potatoes

July 9, 2019
: 2-3
: 10 min
: 20 min
: 30 min
: Easy

Chorizo sautéed potatoes with asparagus

By:

Ingredients
  • New potatoes, halved
  • Chorizo 3 inch piece
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Asparagus chopped into 3cm pieces on the diagonal
Directions
  • Step 1 Halve the new potatoes and parboil then set aside.
  • Step 2 Set up the BGE for direct cooking at around 180C.  Use a handless sauté pan and bring to temperature. Fry the chorizo in rapeseed oil.  Remove the chorizo and replace with the parboiled potatoes and sauté.
  • Step 3 Add the cooked chorizo to the potatoes and asparagus as they finish being sautéd
  • Step 4 Serve immediately

 

African Spiced Roast leg of Pork

African Spiced Roast leg of Pork

We seem to have had a spate of ridiculously cheap pork on offer at our local supermarket recently.  We buy most of our meat from one of a couple of very fine butchers we have locally.  Nevertheless, even when you are not looking to buy a leg of pork, if it is offered to you at £2 per kg, there is a real need to go and look for a recipe.  I am always a little cautious of expecting too much from inexpensive meat and so this African inspired spiced pork recipe from my friend Julie from Meat Smoke Fire Ltd seemed a perfect way of using this leg of pork.  The spicing inspiration is African and by using a ready made Harissa mix as the basis for the marinade is very straightforward and would cover any slight blandness that you may suspect with commercial supermarket pork.  Equally, whilst this is a roasted dish, the basting of the meat with the lemon and wine stock adds an element of a ‘braise’ and would hopefully add some tenderness to the meat.

To make the marinade the herbs and spices (oregano, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, marjoram or savory, turmeric) were ground in a mortar with 1tsp of course sea salt.  This was then added to 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 2tbsp of ready made Harissa and 60ml of olive oil to make a paste.  We took the skin off the pork but left as much of the fat in place as possible.  The meat was then slashed to make 8-10 deep cuts and the paste was rubbed all over the meat and into the slits.  The meat was then covered and left to marinade at room temperature for an hour or so.

The Big Green Egg was set up for indirect cooking with platesetter in place (feet up).   A little cherry wood was also added as a final ‘spicing’ for the mix.  All that was left to prepare was to quarter 2 onions lengthways and to mix the lemon juice and white wine. These were then set to one side.

When ready to cook, the pork was placed fat side down in the roasting dish and cooked for about half an hour.  The meat was then removed from the roasting dish and the quartered onions were arranged in the centre as a trivet. The pork was turned fat side up and placed on the trivet of onions. The lemon and wine mix was then poured over the top of the meat.  The EGG was closed and left to cook for another 40-60 minutes opening to baste the meat with the cooking juices every 10 minutes or so. Once the internal temperature reached around 70C the meat was removed, wrapped in foil and left to rest for at least 20 minutes.   The cooking juices were reduced to form a pouring sauce.  The meat was generously sliced and served with cauliflower and the roasted onions.  The cauliflower was a perfect foil for the spicy pork and carried the spicing from the sauce beautifully.

I would highly recommend giving the dish a go.   The results were spicy but not too hot, and very very tender!!

…………….if you want to add a little spice to your roast pork now is your chance!

African Spiced Roast leg of Pork

June 24, 2019
: 6
: 15 min
: 1 hr 30 min
: 1 hr 45 min
: Easy

Roasted skinless leg of pork with African spices

By:

Ingredients
  • 1tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2tsp dried oregano
  • 2tsp caraway seeds
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2tsp turmeric
  • 2tbsp harissa
  • 3 crushed cloves garlic
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1.5kg boneless pork leg roasting joint - skin removed
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 80ml dry white wine
  • 2 large onions, peeled and quartered
Directions
  • Step 1 For the marinade: grind the oregano, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, marjoram and turmeric in a mortar with 1tsp of course sea salt.  Add this to 3 crushed cloves of garlic and 2tbsp of ready made Harissa and 60ml of olive oil to make a paste.  Slash the meat after the skin is removed to make 8-10 deep cuts. Rub the marinade paste all over the meat and into the slits.  Cover and leave to marinade at room temperature for an hour
  • Step 2 Set up the Big Green Egg for indirect cooking with platesetter in place (feet up).   Add a little cherry wood.
  • Step 3 Quarter 2 onions lengthways. Mix the lemon juice and white wine and then set these to one side.
  • Step 4 When ready to cook, place the pork fat side down in the roasting dish and cook for about half an hour.  
  • Step 5 Remove the meat from the roasting dish add the quartered onions in the centre as a trivet.  Turn the pork over and sit on the onion trivet. Pour the lemon and wine mix over the top of the meat.  Close the EGG and leave to cook for another 40-60 minutes. Baste the meat with the cooking juices every 10 minutes or so.  
  • Step 6 Remove once the internal temperature reaches 70C and wrap in foil to rest for at least 20 minutes.  
  • Step 7 Reduce the cooking juices to form a pouring sauce.  
  • Step 8 Slice the meat and serve with cauliflower and the roasted onions.  
Pork Rillettes

Pork Rillettes

I tend not to buy meat from supermarkets very often but when you see boned pork shoulder at £2 per Kg it is difficult to walk past without dropping 5Kg or so into the basket.  I have to say it wasn’t the most beautifully butchered piece of pork I have ever seen.  Nevertheless, we were going to make some rillettes and use the rest for a slow cooked Pulled Pork (see here) so it was worth a shot!  The added bonus was that I wanted to try and render my own pork fat to top the rilletes.  There was a lot of skin on this piece which would be great to render and would certainly not go to waste.

A classic pork rillettes is not a pâté, rather it is a long, slow-cooked pork dish. It is cooked in its own fat with a little stock, few herbs, garlic and seasoning. In a way it has more in common with pulled pork, but a pulled pork set in its own stock and fat. It is quite simply delicious to the point that I need to ration it – once started it is difficult to stop. Be warned!  Spread rillettes on toasted baguette or sourdough bread, sprinkle lightly with freshly cracked black pepper and salt for a light lunch or a quick starter.  Try it too with a little sweet chutney – not authentically French but a delicious combination nontheless.

The recipe is quite straightforward. Cut the pork into pieces about the size of a walnut.  Then add the finely chopped garlic, bay leaves, thyme, crushed juniper berries, cloves and the coriander as well as the Chinese 5 spice and Allspice together with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. To this was added a couple of splashes of calvados and around 200ml of chicken stock to nearly cover the pork.  The pan was brought up to a very gentle boil and then transferred to an oven.  This can be done on the BGE where I would set the temperature to around 120C cooking indirectly, or just as readily at 120C (Fan) in a conventional oven.  I would do this in the BGE if I was cooking something else or if I wanted to add a little smoke to the spice mix.  In all honesty though it is perhaps a little easier in a conventional oven.  If doing on the BGE I would do this without the lid, but in a conventional oven with the lid in place.

After about 3 hours the meat should be sitting in a lovely liquid stock and have softened considerably.  At this stage it will easily breakup with the pressure of a fork.   To separate the liquid from the solids I would suggest putting the whole content of the pan into a sieve and gently squeeze the excess fluid from the meat and garlic residue.  Pop the liquid into the fridge to chill.

Put the meat and garlic back in the cooking pan and begin to shred the meat to the consistency you want.  I like it quite coarse with some body in the shredded meat. Some recipes suggest doing this in a food processor – personally I think this is a terrible idea and leaves you with a mousse not a rillette! Assuming the meat has been cooked for long enough it will break up with a fork very easily.  Once you have the meat broken down to the size you want, pack it loosely into ramekins.  It is packed loosely so that the reserved meat juices can be poured back into the meat.  It can then find a way of flowing round all the meat fibres.  When you take the reserved juices from the fridge a pure fat layer should have appeared on the top if you have left it for long enough.  Remove and reserve this fat layer.  Pour the meat juices into the ramekin stopping when the liquid just comes to the surface of the meat.  The ramekins were then allowed to chill further which allows some absorption of the meat juices.  The reserved fat can then be heated and gently poured over the rillette to seal it. The dishes are then left for at least 2hrs in the fridge to harden.  Left like this with the fat on the surface the rillette will keep happily in the fridge for around 10 days and the fat can be scraped to one side when serving.  If you are intending to use in the next day or so a simple cling film lid will do a similar job.  If you don’t like the idea of using pork fat to seal then an equally adequate seal can be made with melted butter.

……………………………. do give it a go!

 

 

 

 

Pork Rillette

April 24, 2019
: 12-14
: 1 hr
: 3 hr
: 4 hr
: Moderate

Slow cooked herbed and spiced pork transformed into a delicious meat delicacy

By:

Ingredients
  • Pork Shoulder or Belly 1Kg
  • Garlic 5 large cloves
  • Bay leaves 4
  • Thyme
  • 10 Juniper berries
  • 4 Cloves,
  • Coriander, quarter tsp
  • Chinese 5 spice, quarter tsp
  • Allspice, half tsp
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Calvados a large splash
  • Chicken Stock around 200ml
Directions
  • Step 1 Cut the pork into pieces about the size of a walnut.  Then add the finely chopped garlic, bay leaves, thyme, crushed juniper berries, cloves and the coriander, Chinese 5 spice and Allspice together with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Then add a couple of splashes of calvados and around 200ml of chicken stock to nearly cover the pork. (ideally leave to marinade overnight though this is not essential)
  • Step 2 Put the pan on the heat and bring up to a very gentle boil and then transfer to an oven.  This can be done on the BGE indirectly at a temperature of around 120C or just as readily at 120C (Fan) in a conventional oven.  If doing on the BGE I would do this without the lid, but in a conventional oven with the lid in place.
  • Step 3 After about 3 hours the meat will have softened considerably.  Separate the liquid from the solids using a sieve and gently squeeze the excess fluid from the meat and garlic residue.  Pop the liquid into the fridge to chill.  
  • Step 4 Put the meat and garlic back in the cooking pan and shred the meat to the consistency you want.  Pack the meat loosely into ramekins. Take the reserved juices from the fridge and remove the solidified fat layer. Pour the meat juices into the ramekins stopping when the liquid just comes to the surface of the meat.  Allow ramekins to chill. Gently heat the reserved fat and pour over the rillette to seal it. Leave the dishes for at least 2hrs in the fridge to harden.  The sealed rillette will keep happily in the fridge for around 10 days

 

When is a gammon not a gammon?!

When is a gammon not a gammon?!

The simple answer is of course once it is cooked it is then referred to as a “Ham”.  What ever we call them this is a delicious  way of eating pork and in the UK is always associated with the Christmas period – but it it too good to confine to Christmas!  There are so many different types of gammon available depending on how they have been cured and each of these produce slightly different types of ham. (more…)

Our Christmas Terrine

Our Christmas Terrine

Having finally come to the conclusion what we were going to include in the Christmas Terrine it was time to put it all together!!  The one thing we have learned this year making terrines is that (more…)

Game Terrine – getting in practice for Christmas

Game Terrine – getting in practice for Christmas

We had fun making terrines on the Big Green Egg over the summer when on holiday in Tuscany.  So now it was time to put some of that experience together as we get ready for Christmas.   (more…)

Tuscan Terrine – Two!

Tuscan Terrine – Two!

This is a very short blog (and modified recipe) about our second attempt at the Tuscan Terrine (see the first version here).

The recipe remains largely the same.  In an attempt to have a slightly drier mix, only the gin was used as a liquid addition, forgoing the red wine and orange juice, which meant we could limit the amount of the bread used for the bread crumbs.   (more…)

Tuscan Terrine – the first venture!

Tuscan Terrine – the first venture!

Making terrines is something of a lost art in the UK and we are venturing into this area quite tentatively.  I have to say most of our experience has been in the indoor kitchen and not in the BGE.  As I have found a very inexpensive small Le Creuset oval casserole, on eBay, that just fitted the mini BGE – I was going to see what opportunities it opens up when traveling with the mini BGE. – Was a terrine a possibility?

The plan was to use our standard home recipe – but clearly modified for the products around us. The basis of our standard recipe is minced pork shoulder, diced bacon (more…)

Braised pigs’ cheeks

Braised pigs’ cheeks

This is a title that will polarise people – some will rush to what is actually a lovely winter recipe, and I can already see others “screwing up their faces”!  If you like ‘pulled pork’ and you like slow cooked winter casseroles you will love this, trust me!! (more…)