Slow-cooked winter warmers from AWTBy Antony Worrall Thompson
December 03, 2012
What can be more comforting than coming in from the cold to find a warming stew awaiting you? It’s a real winter treat.
Here Antony Worrall Thompson shares two tempting recipes
Looking on the bright side – as I always try to do (!) – with the shortening of the days comes the lengthening of good winter warming cooking. What’s needed are dishes that comfort you when it’s cold, dark and wet outside.
I can almost smell the aroma of a beautiful, steaming bowl of stew – my favourite of all comfort foods. Why not consider getting the old casserole pot out and start slow-cooking the sort of traditional meals that we used to enjoy when ready-meals weren’t around? Once you’ve managed that there are some great slow cookers around on the market for under £50.
Just place the ingredients into the casserole and just leave them to cook while you get on with something else, simple as that.
Many of the recipes used in slow cookers or stews are inexpensive ingredients, including beans, lentils and cheap cuts of meat – and they are deliciously succulent after hours in the pot.
Perfect for the family table, either at weekends or during your working week.
And now with the credit crunch it’s our turn to ‘re-do’ food.
How many times are those leftover vegetables, roast potatoes, even meat from the Sunday roast just binned? Too many?
We all know that the months ahead are still going to be tough both for all us as individuals and households but even more so for our farmers and for businesses. Be sure to refrigerate leftovers promptly and use them within one or two days or freeze. If you have any doubt about whether a food is still safe to eat, throw it out.
When making dishes with mince such as cottage pie, bolognese, lasagne and so on, you can substitute half of the mince for lentils – this way the meal will be healthy and also cheaper, making your mince go twice as far.
Keep an eye out for reduced veggies in the supermarkets – you can make soup and freeze it, great for taking to work instead of buying that over-priced sandwich or make a vegetable purée and freeze to have with your Sunday roast.
Some of my favourite dishes are shoulder of lamb and belly pork – both cheaper cuts of meat which are fantastic when slow-cooked.
Take a look at the great ideas on the website www.lovefoodhatewaste.com. It’s packed with top tips on how to stop waste and still keep loving your food.
One of our best-selling dishes at The Greyhound is Paprika Goulash. I’ve made a couple of traditional changes which I think enhance this classic – red peppers and gherkins. It’s a great one for making on the hob.
You can’t beat a good Lancashire Hotpot which is also featured. This is a one-pot meal but traditionally you might serve it with pickled red cabbage.
We tend to forget about old classics. Not many dishes can touch the flavours that Lancashire hotpot provides and it’s a great way of using some cheaper cuts of lamb or mutton.
So until next time, get cooking and stay happy!
750g onions, roughly chopped
25g unsalted butter
55g seasoned plain flour
1kg chuck steak, brisket or silverside, cut into 4cm cubes
125g pork belly or smoked streaky bacon, cut into 1cm cubes
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and diced
2tsp caraway seeds
2tsp sweet paprika, plus extra for serving
600ml beef stock
2tbsp tomato purée
1tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
300ml sour cream
2tbsp chopped sour gherkins or cornichons
Rice or mashed potatoes, soured cream, mixed with chopped sour gherkins or cornichons
Put the onions in a food processor and blitz to a purée. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Roll the beef in the seasoned flour and fry in the butter, over a high heat, until golden on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the pork belly to the same saucepan and brown all over, then add the garlic, red pepper, onion purée, caraway and paprika and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Return the beef to the pan and add the stock, tomato purée, salt and a few turns of black pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and then simmer for 2 hours, stirring from time to time, until the meat is cooked.
Five minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the soured cream with the gherkins but do not allow to reboil. Serve with rice or mash potatoes, dolloped with some more soured cream mixed with chopped gherkins and sprinkled with more paprika.
1kg end-of-neck mutton or lamb chops
4 lamb kidneys, skinned, halved horizontally and the core (the fatty white half moon inside) removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp vegetable oil
55g unsalted butter
1kg floury potatoes, peeled, cut into 8mm slices
3 onions, finely sliced
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1tbsp caster sugar
450ml lamb stock
Preheat oven to 160ºC. Season all the chops and kidneys with salt and plenty of pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat and brown the chops and kidneys all over, then set aside.
Butter the bottom of a heavy-based casserole with a quarter of the butter. Place an overlapping layer of potatoes in the bottom of the casserole. Top this with the chops, kidney halves and onions. Tuck in the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Season with extra salt and pepper and add the sugar.
Finish with the remaining potato slices, slightly overlapping each slice. Pour in the stock carefully so that it doesn’t cover the top layer of potato.
Melt the remaining butter and brush the top of the potatoes with it. Cover the casserole with a lid and pop in the oven for 2 hours, then remove the lid and increase the heat to 200°C/Gas mark 6 and cook for a further 30 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown and the meat cooked.
Serve with seasonal vegetables.
Recipes are taken from Antony’s book Slow Cooking: Easy One-Pot Dishes For The Slow Cooker, Oven and Hob, published by Mitchell Beazley, £17.99. ISBN: 978-1845334918