Thursday, 31 May 2012

Roast Ham

OK OK so this all sounds simple yeah, ham is ham right? 
Most people, veggies excluded love a slice or two of ham. You know the stuff, the succulent slices lying sultrily at the deli tempting you to part with your hard earned or perhaps some of the supermarkets finest pre-packed for your convenience. I’m not talking the reformed crap that you can get for £1 I’m think about the quality stuff that costs about £2-£3 for a couple of slices.

What really amazes me is how people will readily purchase the sliced stuff when cooking your own joint is not only simple but so much cheaper

This recipe starts of with a simple boiling process, with a few additions for flavour. Now you could eat it at this point and boiled ham is great in its own right but roasting, ahhh roasting, with the glaze gives that lovely sticky coating and renders the fat down a little further, plus you can make an amazing sauce with the juices

Interested, the please read on you don’t know what your missing

Gammon joint - smoked or unsmoked its up to you
1 Onion peeled and halved
2 Carrots chopped into chunks
1 Stick of Celery chopped into chunks
Couple of sprigs of Thyme
Small bottle of quality dry cider about £1.50 per bottle
1 apple halved
Good Dijon mustard
Pepper corns
Oh you might want to get some string, I'll explain later ...

Boil the ham
Remove the plastic from the gammon but not the plastic ring that holds the meat together
Put the gammon in the pan together with the Celery, carrots , apple, thyme, onion, a few pepper corns and about 5 cloves
Fill with water enough so the ham is covered
Bring the water to the boil and simmer for about 90mins to two hours

Turn off the heat and leave in the pan for about 30 mins

Heat the oven to about 160 degrees
In a small pan put half a bottle of cider a good dollop of honey and a couple of teaspoons of mustard
Bring to the boil and let it reduce (keep boiling until most of the liquid has gone), by now you should have something that resembles a syrup, you'll need to stir every now and then, if the cider starts fizzing up to much turn the heat down a bit.
If it becomes so sticky that you cant get your spoon out, just add a little water

Glazing and roasting
Remove the gammon from the pan and take off plastic sleeve, if it starts to come apart you will need to tie it up with string if you're not sure this link might help

Remove all but 5mm of the fat and then, with a sharp knife, do diagonal scores across the fat so you get a diamond pattern
Stud the fat randomly with cloves
Put the gammon in a small roasting tin
And cover with some of the glaze
Put the ham in the oven for about an hour
Every 15 mins add more of the glaze until there is None left, if the bottom of the roasting tin has become dry add a little of the water so it loosens the bits at bottom.
Once the glaze has gone you should have enough liquid in the bottom of the roasting tin(by adding water every 15 mins if you need to) so that you can use a spoon to baste the gammon.
Remove from the oven and let it rest for 20-30 mins.

You can also deglaze the bottom of the pan with some Water/Cider/Wine and then add cream to make a sauce if serving hot

Monday, 28 May 2012

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Ham and Spinach

This is probably my second favourite Gary Rhodes recipe and one I’ve cooked many many times. If you can get the tenderloin on offer it makes for a really tasty, cheap (this one was on offer £4.60 I think) and crowd pleasing Sunday dinner. It’s also excellent cold with chips and pickle, chutney etc ..

To me the idea of stuffing pork with, well, basically, more pork and then adding a further layer of pork (OK ham and bacon but it’s still pig right) seemed a little bit excessive sort of like Roast beef stuffed with steak, . Amazingly it works so well each bit of the pig complementing the other and then contrasted by the spinach, sage and nutmeg flavours, the gravy is sweet yet savoury and the wine gives just the right amount of acidity

I served this with new potatoes covered in sage butter and crème fraiche leeks with pancetta, perhaps I got carried away with the pig thing

1 Large Pork Tenderloin
2 Rashers of streaky bacon, normal back bacon is ok if you forget to get some , ahem .
2 Roughly chopped red onions
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
3 Tbsp Olive oil

25g Butter
2 Shallots finely chopped
½ tbsp finely chopped sage leaves
115g baby spinach washed and shredded
50g Sliced Ham (original was 25g)
55g Fresh Breadcrumbs
1 beaten egg
¼ tsp grated nutmeg

2 Glasses of white wine
150 ml Chicken Stock

Preheat the oven to 180OC

First off you need to remove the silverskin from the tenderloin, it’s the thin white layer of stuff (I think it’s fat) that often covers one side of the meat. Removing this prevents the meat from getting tough and chewy apparently, some chef imparted this bit of wisdom on the TV. I can’t remember who it was and I’m not entirely sure it works; I still do it though just in case

Slice open the tenderloin lengthways, two thirds of the way through, open out and pound it gently, not sure if that’s possible, it’s bit like asking you to softly stab someone. Right, erm, flatten it anyway

Melt the butter and very gently fry the shallots and sage for around 10 mins. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts. Mix in the rest of the ingredients

Spread the stuffing along the centre of the tenderloin, roll it up then using the help of another person or the extra two hands you didn’t know you had, tie up with kitchen string (What the hell is kitchen String anyway, I used normal string , the type next to the selotape and I’m still alive). By the way not being the most dextrous of people trying to tie up a long piece of pork stuffed full of things is bloody hard to do, so either enlist the help of someone else or teach the kids some interesting new words, it’s up to you

So once you’ve trussed it up with the skill veteran dominatrix, lay it on top of the onions in a roasting tin then lay the bacon on top.

Roast for 35-40 mins basting every now and then, sorry can’t be more specific. My basting technique is directly relational to what else I have to do or what’s on TV.

Remove the joint, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 mins
Discard the onions, deglaze with wine then add the stock and boil rapidly until reduced by half. Season to taste of course but then you knew that didn’t you

Remove the string, yeah yeah, I know but some people would seriously not do this unless explicitly told to do so.

Carve and serve with whatever you fancy plus the gravy of course

Feel free to make your own Carry On style, pork stuffing innuendos

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A Kind Of Cassoulet

I've got a thing for beans at the moment, they’re good for you , filling and cheap the only other advice I can offer is stand down wind

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a Cassoulet for a while now but Lisa’s ever increasing list of don’t likes includes the texture of beans

Not put off at all , a free weekend and with space in the freezer I came up with this little beauty
If you look at proper Cassoulet recipes you’re supposed to add some chicken, completely bucking tradition and incurring and indifferent shrug from the entire French nation I left this out, its still tastes marvellous though

I guess the most important thing is to get some really tasty sausages, I used Sainsburys Chorizo style pork sausages

With the addition of the tomatoes it’s a but like grown sausage and beans

Also because the quality of the sausages wasn’t all that Instead of slicing them I remove the skins and made little sausage balls

I really liked this and I’m glad I’ve got some in the freezer

8 Sausages with a good strong flavour, sliced or made into balls
3 Cloves of Garlic finely chopped
1 Onion chopped
1 Large Carrot Chopped
½ Stick of Celery finely chopped
1 Glass of white wine
500 ml Chicken Stock
200g Cubed Pancetta
½ Tsp Paprika
1 tin of Sainsburys Pomodori D’Oro Plum Tomatoes
2 410g tins of Haricot Beas Drained
Two good handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
Bouquet Garni

In a large pan gently sweat the onions for a couple of mins, add the garlic and fry for another min, add the pancetta and gently brown

Next add the carrots and Celery and fry for another couple of mins

Now add the sausage and again gently brown
 Add the wine and reduce by half

Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to the boil
Add the beans and bring back to the boil add the bouquet garni, simmer gently partially covered for around 2 hours, stirring occasionally

When its ready most of the liquid should have been absorbed and the beans have a satisfying soft yet resistant texture

Stir in the lemon juice top with Breadcrumbs and then grill for a couple of mins until golden brown

Drizzle with Good Olive oil and add chopped parsley, serve with Shredded Cabbage