Category: Meat


Cochinita Pibil with Pickled Corn

October 1st, 2014 — 12:04pm

Cochinita Pibil Tacos

I’ve been thinking hard about how I’m going to use up my three huge jars of pickled corn. I’ve been gnawing the kernels straight off the cobs but it’s starting to feel like a missed opportunity.

I thought they’d make an excellent taco topping, and originally wanted to do some kind of breakfast tacos, before realising that the idea of breakfast tacos is kind of gross, actually. I feel the same way about breakfast burritos. I love eggs, but I don’t want them all squished inside a tortilla like a big farty roll up.

So here we are with cochinita pibil, a Mexican dish of slow cooked pork – traditionally a whole suckling pig – rubbed with annatto and sour orange juice, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a pit. Annatto is a seed which colours everything orangey-red. In Mexico it is used in cooking but also to make dyes and body paints, and in the UK it has been used to colour cheese (such as Red Leicester) for centuries, as it was thought that the more orange the cheese, the better the quality. There’s a rather obvious lesson here, which is that annatto is extremely effective at colouring things, particularly hands, clothes, cats, whatever happens to be nearby. I wouldn’t advise accidentally snorting it either, as I did when I was enthusiastically smelling my spice blend; it reminded me of a time in Iceland (THE COUNTRY) when I was given some snuff by a man in a bar and I thought I’d ‘give it a go’. Possibly the most painful half hour of my life.

Anyway, this recipe for cochinita pibil is made with a pork shoulder, and cooked in the oven wrapped in foil, although you could do it on a BBQ. Quite why it has taken me so long to re-create a recipe I thought was so, so fine the first time around I have no idea. This version is even better as I’ve tweaked it here and there. If you’ve never made it then get yourself some annatto off that there internets and get rubbing (after you’ve put your gloves on). You’ll inhale the results.

Once we’d pulled the meat apart, and rubbed it around in the glorious juices, it went onto tacos with a dollop of guac, some mild red onions and that pickled corn, which is sweet, sour and spicy enough to give you electric tingles. New. Favourite. Pickle.

Cochinita Pibil Tacos

Cochinita Pibil Tacos

Cochinita Pibil Tacos

Cochinita Pibil Tacos

Cochinita Pibil with Pickled Corn

1 x 3.25 kg pork shoulder

For the paste

2 tablespoons achiote powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano (decent leaves, not the dusty stuff)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons salt
6 whole allspice
6 cloves garlic, crushed in a pestle and mortar with a large pinch of sea
1/2 tablespoon ground piquin chillies or other dried chillies, ground (Diana Kennedy says you should use powdered ‘chilli seco yucateco’ or paprika)
3 tablespoons orange juice mixed with the juice of 6 limes (should be about half and half) for rubbing the pork and making the paste. This mixture is a substitute for sour orange juice. If you can get sour oranges, then obviously use them.

Rub the pork all over with the orange and lime juice followed by the salt.

Make the paste by grinding the allspice berries, cumin seeds and piquin chillies to a powder and mixing with the crushed garlic and a tablespoon of the orange juice and lime mix, the pork should be quite moist so the paste doesn’t need to be that wet.

Smother this all over the shoulder, rubbing well in. Make a parcel by layering tin foil, put the shoulder into it and refrigerate, preferably overnight. Bring out of the fridge for a couple of hours before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 135C. Get a big roasting tin and put a rack inside it (I just put a cooling rack in a tin) then put enough water in to fill the base of the tin to about 0.5cm. Place the pork package on top of the rack and cover it tightly with foil. Cook for 7 hours, refilling the water occasionally.

Carefully remove the shoulder from the parcel, taking care to save those precious juices. Tip the juices into a bowl and set aside. break up the meat and set aside in a bowl then pour the juices over and give it a good mix.

This is now ready to serve with the sauce, guacamole, and pickled corn.

Pickled corn recipe here.
Guacamole recipe here.

17 comments » | Main Dishes, Meat, Mexican Food

BBQ Leg of Lamb with a Hibiscus Marinade

September 12th, 2014 — 3:41pm

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I have a Big Green Egg BBQ. I know. It’s okay, you can hate me. In all fairness, you should be grateful, actually. You heard. You should be grateful I haven’t been boasting about this for the past year because that’s just about the amount of time I’ve owned this piece of exceptional BBQ equipment. I’ve actually been very kind, if you think about it properly. I can contain it no longer, however: BGE’s are incredible. Everyone should sell an organ (might need two actually) in order to buy one.

Anyway, this recipe. I’m always seeing hibiscus flowers around Peckham but I’d never bought them. I knew that they’re used to flavour the ‘sorrel drink’ that one finds in Caribbean takeaways but…yeah that was the limit of my knowledge. They also love them in Mexico though I’ve since found out, which is where my flowers actually came from, brought back as a gift by a friend. Apparently they use them a lot more in cooking there, and also eat them candied as sweets.

The amount of flavour and shocking red colour that leaches from a handful of the dried flowers once soaked, is staggering. The flavour is a bit like red berries, with a tart, lemony edge and it occurred to me that this might work very well indeed with lamb.

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I steeped the flowers with an assortment of Mexican chillies: piquin (quite hot), guajillo (fruity), puya (similar to guajillo but hotter) and pasilla (literally: ‘little raisin’). Then I added garlic (because it’s lamb, and it’s the law) and bay. The resultant liquid was a frankly terrifying shade of red which stained the meat the colour of those curly pigs’ tails, tongues and penis shaped things (penises?) you see piled up in Brixton market. Thankfully, it was also extremely tasty: a sort of fruity, floral (yes I know), smoky thing going on.

I dunked the lamb into its bath for 24 hours, then drained it, rubbed the meat with more chillies and rammed with more garlic before cooking low and slow in the Egg. The marinade I reserved, reduced until syrupy and used for basting. That gave it a lovely sticky glaze. The leftovers were mixed with juices from the drip tray to serve at the table. We ate it in a sort of feverish caveman style, hunched over, fingers in, after-dark.

Oh and those things wrapped in foil around the outside of the lamb? Yeah they’re called ‘Death Star Onions’. They need work.

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BBQ Leg of Lamb in a Hibiscus Marinade

The idea here was to get a subtle flavour seeping in from the marinade, then add the rub for more of an aggressive ‘crust’ to form during the first part of cooking, then add the glaze after that. Seemed to work.

1 x 2kg bone-in leg of lamb

For the marinade and basting liquid

50g dried hibiscus flowers
2 bay leaves, torn in half
4 cloves garlic
A few peppercorns
1 dried guajillo chilli
1 teaspoon dried piquin chillies
1 dried puya chilli
1 dried pasilla chilli
100g golden caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

For the rub

1 dried guajillo chilli, de-seeded
1 teaspoon dried piquin chillies
1 dried puya chilli, de-seeded
1 dried pasilla chilli, de-seeded
2 tsp sea salt
10 black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic

In a saucepan, combine the hibiscus flowers with 1 litre of water, plus 2 cloves of garlic peeled and bashed a bit, the bay leaf, sugar and the chillies. Simmer this mixture for 5 minutes. Allow the marinade to cool then make slits all over the lamb, submerge it and refrigerate overnight. I had mine in there for 24 hours and I turned it once and basted it a few times.

When ready to cook the lamb, remove it from the marinade, pat dry, then strain the marinade into a bowl through a sieve. Add the extra sugar and reduce the marinade by about half until it starts to look thicker and more syrupy.

Prepare the BBQ. You want it at about 150C. You want to set up a drip pan too. This is going to be different depending on the type of BBQ you have.

Blitz the chillies, salt and peppercorns for the rub in a spice grinder. Rub this all over the lamb. Slice the 2 cloves of garlic and push the slices into the slits in the lamb.

Cook the lamb for about 2.5-3 hours until tender. After the first hour start basting it with the marinade mixture every 20 minutes or so. There will be marinade left over, so mix this with the lamb juices from the drip tray and serve at the table.

7 comments » | Barbecue, Big Green Egg, Main Dishes, Meat

BBQ Adana Kebab Rolls

July 23rd, 2014 — 1:59pm

BBQ Adana Kebab Rolls

Since returning from an Istanbul > Beirut > Istanbul jaunt way back in April, I’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of recipes I want to re-create. Despite writing about lahmacun, yoghurt with celeriac, liver and onions Turkish stylee, and Turkish lamb meatballs with rhubarb, I am in no way through dealing with Istanbul, and I’ve barely started on you, Beirut, posting only about the marvellous man’oushe.

This recipe was inspired by a restaurant in Istanbul that actually, we didn’t much like. I think that happened once in our entire trip. It’s in Beyoglu, which seems to be the trendy bit of Istanbul. It’s also the area I enjoyed the least. It felt a bit young and hip and I dunno, I guess I’m really not the latter, because it’s just not the kind of atmosphere I enjoy when I’m exploring a new city. Is that weird? Maybe that’s weird. It is? How dare you! I’m very cool, it’s just that a thousand spaghetti-strapped women and block print embellished denim-ed men leaning around in bars playing Europop isn’t my idea of a good time. That’s a really unfair picture of Beyoglu in general, but perfectly accurate when it comes to the surroundings of this restaurant. The staff thought they were THE SHIT, too, prancing around like the restaurant floor was a fashion show or something. Totally aware that’s the kind of thing my mum said when I asked if I could have those high-heeled patent sling backs for my first year at Big School, but anyway.

They did one good thing, and that was to introduce us to adana kebabs rolled up into cigar shapes inside very thin bread. This is brilliant because you get the contrast between crisp bread and soft meat, but also because all the juiciness from the lamb soaks into the bread. This one dish made the whole sorry experience worthwhile. There’s also the opportunity to roll all sorts of other goodies inside with the meat of course, which I duly did…ranging from yoghurt, to feta, to spring onions. There was something else too but I’m not prepared to admit it.

It took a bit of experimenting to get the recipe right. Although the meat remained moist (there is a shit load of lovely fatty lamb in there after all…) they just weren’t QUITE juicy enough, so in the end I decided to cook the kebabs, before spreading the bread (lavash, by the way, it’s appropriately thin) very sparsely with some of the meat mixture, plonking the ‘bab onto it, rolling up, then commencing crisping. It does weird you out a bit, putting cooked meat on top of  raw, but it’s only for a moment and anyway, just get on with it.

BBQ Adana Kebab Rolls

BBQ Adana Kebab Rolls

BBQ Adana Kebab Rolls

The other major change I’ve made with my adana is to add some Georgian ajika paste so this is a little bit fusion I suppose but come on, Turkey and Georgia are bordering countries. Ajika is a rather fierce chilli paste, which some dunce rather dopily describes on Wikipedia as ‘vindaloo strength’. It’s pretty hot, basically, but with an incredible flavour. It’s a magic ingredient, the kind of thing you end up chucking into all sorts of dishes. I’ll post my own recipe for it here soon.

BBQ Adana Kebab Rolls

BBQ Adana Kebab Rolls (makes about 6 kebabs, depending on size obviously)

400g fatty lamb mince, 150g lean lamb mince (such as neck)
1/2 onion
1/2 red pepper
1 tablespoon ajika paste
2 cloves garlic
Few pinches salt
Lavash bread
Yoghurt (optional)
Feta (optional)
Spring onions, finely sliced (optional)

Blitz the lean mince into a blender with the onion, pepper, ajika and garlic. Add the fatty mince. Season highly with salt and give the meat a really good mix, kneading it with your hands almost like bread for a few minutes. Refrigerate for an hour or so if you can before shaping onto soaked wooden skewers (the kebabs will be easier to turn if you use two per kebab), then refrigerate again. Reserve about a tablespoon of meat per kebab, for smearing on the flatbreads later.

When ready to cook, prep your BBQ, and when the coals are covered in white ash, sling those ‘babs on, they won’t take long – 5 mins each side. Don’t try to turn them until they’ve built up a crust or else they wills stick. Cut a piece of lavash large enough to encase each kebab (remember you’re rolling it up), smear this with a tablespoon of the reserved meat, then plonk your cooked ‘bab on top and add any cheese, yoghurt, spring onions you fancy and roll it up. Slap back onto the grill until crisp on each side.

I like to serve these with extra garlic yoghurt and huge plates of herbs.

10 comments » | Barbecue, Bread, Cheese, Istanbul, Main Dishes, Meat

Liver and Onions, Turkish Style

June 4th, 2014 — 11:47am

Turkish Style Liver and Onions

This is a nifty wee dish to bash out on the  BBQ. What? No it’s not raining, you’re imagining things. Okay it is, but this is Britain; stick a brolly over it. The flavours here aren’t for the faint-hearted anyway; there’s liver, which some people are against, and a large amount of onions. Oh and an extremely spicy dressing. I have warned you about the last bit.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I recently went to Istanbul. The Turkish absolutely love their liver, and I’ve been hankering after some of those deftly cooked cubes, hot off the grill, charred without and softly offaly within. This is similar to many preparations we ate in that glorious city and it’s very easy to make as the liver is grilled simply and the spices dusted on afterwards. The onions are dressed in fierce Turkish chilli paste and pomegranate molasses, the latter giving a sort of curious perfumed back note against the HARDCORE FIRE of the biber. Addictive stuff.

Liver and Onions, Turkish Style

For the onions

2 onions, cut into half moons
2 tablespoons Turkish chilli paste
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon black urfa Turkish chilli flakes
2 teaspoons hot chilli flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Soak your onions in iced water for 30 minutes. Mix together the dressing ingredients. Dry the onions on kitchen paper and mix with the dressing. Leave for 1 hour before serving. They’re even better the next day.

For the liver

Lamb’s liver (this works with any amount as you’re just dusting it with spices)
Oil
Ground chilli
Ground coriander
Flaky salt

Give the liver a rub with a little oil and whack it on a BBQ for a couple of minutes each side, or until charred on the outside and still a little pink within. Once cooked, transfer to a warm plate and dust lightly with ground coriander, chilli and plenty of flaky salt. Serve immediately with the onions.

13 comments » | Barbecue, Istanbul, Meat

Turkish Lamb Meatballs with Rhubarb

May 12th, 2014 — 1:27pm

Turkish Lamb Meatballs with Rhubarb

Istanbul spans two continents, separated by the blustery Bosphorus. I’m sure you knew that already. Apparently tourists are often reluctant to cross over from the European to the Asian side, which is weird, because you can do it on a boat, and boat rides are fun. Also, why on earth would you miss an opportunity to travel between continents in the space of half an hour-ish? I think I possibly liked the Asian side even more than the European, actually. Or maybe I liked them the same. Or perhaps I liked the European more. Argh! It’s such an exciting city.

Anyway this recipe was inspired by a restaurant on the Asian side called Çiya which, like Çukur Meyhane, had a few dishes on the menu that jumped out at me as being things I absolutely had to eat or else something terrible would happen. There are three branches of Çiya, and to quote Rebecca Seal who kindly gave me lots of excellent recommendations, including this one, “you want the one that does more than just kebabs”. We sat outside, blinking in the high, bright sunshine on a wobbly table set on a steep cobbled street. Service is rapid and brusque; before we knew it silver dishes clattered onto the table, edges glinting like knives. The mezze appear to be self served from a buffet inside the restaurant, which I didn’t realise until we’d eaten our main courses. No booze either but it was worth the visit for this dish alone – rich, sweet meatballs, cooked with soft, gently acidic plums.

Ciya Meatballs with Plums

Original dish with plums at Çiya, Istanbul

I wanted to re-create the dish and rhubarb seemed like an interesting seasonal variation. It was awesome. Yes, I say so myself.  The meatballs are rich with Turkish chilli paste, which turns the oil bright amber as they cook, and those Turkish chilli flakes so small and dark they look like slate chippings. The sauce is heady, sweet and sour with pomegranate molasses and of course, the rhubarb.

Turkish Lamb Meatballs with Rhubarb

Meatballs

This was perfect served with saffron rice and a dollop of yoghurt. The only thing missing was the sun (pissing rain outside, naturally) and the opportunity to amble over to the bar opposite for a cheeky raki and a tooth-achingly sweet noodle dish with cheese in the middle.

Turkish Lamb Meatballs with Rhubarb (makes 25 meatballs)

500g minced lamb (not too lean)
1 smallish onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Generous tablespoon Turkish pepper paste, plus a bit for luck
2 teaspoons Turkish chilli (dark)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 slice bread soaked with water until completely wet, then excess water squeezed out

Oil and butter, for frying

For the sauce

2 sticks rhubarb (approx 300g)
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
2 cardamom pods
Generous splash white wine
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
Pistachios, to garnish (optional)

Greek yoghurt, to serve

Make the meatballs by combining the lamb mince, onion, garlic, Turkish pepper paste, Turkish chilli, cinnamon, bread and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix really well using your hands, then shape into 25 balls. In a frying pan, heat a splash of oil and knob of butter. Fry the balls in batches, about 5 or 6 at a time, until browned, then set aside. Drain the fat off into a bowl but keep it set aside.

De-glaze the pan with a good glug of the wine. Add the rhubarb, cardamom pods (crush them a bit), pomegranate molasses, sugar and some salt. Add a generous splash of water, bring to a simmer, put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes. Return the meatballs to the pan with some of the drained fat, and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on. Serve with bread or rice and yoghurt.

Istanbul Cat

Istanbul cat picture…seems to have become standard practice

18 comments » | Fruit, Istanbul, Main Dishes, Meat

Jerk Chicken and Ragamuffins

April 5th, 2014 — 5:44pm

Jerk Chicken and Ragamuffins

Almost looks a bit artfully food styley styley, that photo, doesn’t it? IT’S LIKE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME. Then you clock the gnawed chicken bone on the right, the Iphone slung to the left and you realise, yeah it’s just a genuine mess on my table, actually. Wang it on there and chow down, as I believe they say on Downton Abbey.

I cooked this chicken on the BBQ, which is how I will be cooking all of my food until Monday, since I had what is known to all rational (urgh) and calm people as a GAS CRISIS. The flame in my oven started burning orange instead of the regular, non-panic-making blue, so faster than you could say ‘Google is the first port of call in a potentially serious situation’ I was reading combinations of words like ‘incomplete combustion’ and ‘carbon monoxide production’. It did at least explain why the ragamuffins took 40 minutes longer to cook than they should have done. Mmmm carbon monoxide laced corn muffins. Think I’ll probably need to get back to you with that recipe at a later date. Still ate them. Well, half of one; the rest are still on the balcony.

The chicken however was awesome and I want to tell you two pieces of information with regards to jerk chicken. The first is that this method of soaking bay leaves in water and making a little bed for the chicken with them on the grill is brilliant, and probably the closest we’ll ever get here to replicating the flavour of allspice wood. The second is that my jerk marinade has some new threads, designed by my old roomie, Vicki Brown. I love them. As soon as I get my arse in gear there will be a new shiny website for it too, but you know, I’ve got 99 problems right now, and potentially slipping away in a gas induced coma during the night is one of them*. Might take me a while to get around to that website thing. You can buy the marinade here as before though, in Persepolis in Peckham and possibly maybe shortly in some new exciting new places which I’m too scared to tell you about in case something goes wrong.

Jerk on.

Jerk Chicken and Ragamuffins

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*(MUM, I’VE TURNED IT OFF AT THE WALL, DON’T WORRY)

19 comments » | Barbecue, Caribbean Food, Meat, Peckham Jerk Marinade

100% Horse Meat Crispy Pancakes in the Style of Findus

March 7th, 2014 — 4:46pm

I wrote somewhere recently that my family ‘ate well’ when I was a child, which prompted my mum to send me a text saying, “what? fish fingers and Findus crispy pancakes?” There’s no denying it, I was more than partial to a Findus or five, along with Mr. Brain’s faggots and many products from the repertoire of Birdseye. The minced beef crispy pancakes were my favourite, or, should I say, the minced beef and horse. That is of course if Findus were (unwittingly perhaps) using (maybe) horse meat in their pancakes at that time.

I clearly got a taste for hossie during those formative years as I was salivating at the thought of recreating these pancakes. 100% horse meat, mind. No beef for me! Incidentally, anyone who was under the impression that using horse meat is a money saving exercise, let me correct you – 250g of that finest filly set me (my boyfriend) back £5 and I bought 500g so that’s – all together now – a whopping £20 per kg! It’s probably cheaper online but we bought ours at Borough Market like impatient money-spaffing chumps.

We cooked that steed down with onions, celery and a bit of Old Bay seasoning, then slung in some red wine, beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Despite my best efforts to thicken the sauce with cornflour I couldn’t get QUITE the same gloop-ooziness (technical term) as displayed within the originals but rest assured there was enough gravy in there to spurt out liquid with third degree burn capability. Authentic.

The filling is clamped inside regular pancakes, which proved a challenge until I started to channel my inner child once again to form a kind of glue with egg and a sprinkling of flour. That worked. I had demanded the boyfriend buy the necessary dyed orange crumb for the proper oompa loompa hue on the outside, and then it was just a case of frying in hot oil.

The similarity of the final product to the original pancakes a la Findoos was astounding. My boyfriend had never had them because he’s too posh but I was all like, ‘WOAH NELLY!’ Yeah it was kind of unnerving, but then horse really does taste a hella lot like beef.

WHO KNEW?

100% Horse Meat Crispy Pancakes in The Style of Findus

For the pancakes

1 egg
300ml milk
160g flour
Pinch salt

For the filling

1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
500g horse meat, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
300ml beef stock
Splash red wine
Splash Worcestershire sauce, or two
1 teaspoon corn flour

To coat

Breadcrumbs, to coat the pancakes
Oil, for frying
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Seasoned flour
Sprinkle paprika (optional)

Sift the flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Crack the egg into the middle and whisk it in to make a weird crumbly mixture. Add the milk a bit at a time, whisking, until smooth.It should be the consistency of single cream. Cover and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat some veg oil in a pan and soften the onion and celery gently until the onion is translucent. Add the Old Bay and garlic and cook out for a few minutes, stirring. Add the horse meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until brown. Add the Worcestershire sauce and red wine and allow to bubble. Mix the cornflour with a splash of the stock until smooth and add to the pan with the remaining stock. Allow to cook until the meat is coated with a thick and glossy gravy. Allow this to cool while you make the pancakes.

Wipe a small frying pan with oil and add enough pancake batter to cover the base of the pan, swirling it around to cover. When cooked on the bottom, flip em. Repeat.

To assemble the pancakes, spread one plate with seasoned flour, then to the right of it get yourself a large shallow dish with the two beaten eggs in it, and to the right of that, spread another plate with the breadcrumbs (we sprinkled a little paprika into ours but it’s not necessary). Feel free to do this the other way around if you’re left handed. Uh huh.

Put a couple of tablespoons of filling on one side of the pancake, then fold it over. Brush the edges with beaten egg, then sprinkle on some flour. Stick it down with your fingers.

Heat oil to the depth of about 3cm in a frying pan. Dip the sealed pancake first in flour, then egg, then crumbs. Fry for about a minute each side. They really didn’t take any longer than this. Drain on kitchen paper. Repeat.

Reminisce!

34 comments » | Far Out Crazy, Guilty Pleasures, Meat

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