Tag Archives: mushrooms

Cold Weather: 0, Greedy Frog: 1! Slow-cooked Beef and Dumplings

image

I came back from visiting my family in France with, among other goodies, a new, huge, heavy cast-iron pan. I had been coveting one such pan for a very long time, but the price tag meant that I couldn’t afford one; not unless I defaulted on my mortgage payments, that is. My amazing parents, however, decided to buy one for me as an early Christmas present (have I mentioned they are amazing?), and it is fair to say that I have rarely been as excited as I was when I opened the box.

I know some of you might think that I am pretty pathetic, getting all excited over a pan like this, but I don’t care what you think, because I’VE GOT A NEW PAN!!!!

imageimage

Well, that’s the gloating neatly out of the way now, so let’s talk a bit about the recipe…

This dish is delicious, a mixture of meltingly tender beef, tasty veg and gravy, and light, fluffy dumplings… It is the ultimate antidote to cold, dark evenings. I like to make a big batch of this on a Sunday, and keep some back for the Monday night; I find it incredibly comforting when it starts getting dark on a Monday afternoon, and with the whole working week still ahead of me, to know that there is a lovely warming meal waiting for me at home that just needs re-heating…

This stew will freeze beautifully (without the dumplings), and any leftover sauce works really well with pasta, especially if you cook the pasta in it. Oh, and it is also very cheap to make!

The dumplings recipe is Jane Grigson’s, from “English Food” (one of the first cookbooks I bought after moving to England, I was very intrigued by the notion of a whole book about English food…).

You will need:

For the stew:

1 kg beef shin, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
2 onions
3 carrots
2 celery sticks
1 leek
4 cloves garlic
250g chestnut mushrooms
10g dried wild mushrooms (I used chanterelles)
1 handful plain flour
salt
pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
25cl red wine
1 tbsp tomato puree
500 ml beef stock
200 ml hot water

For the dumplings:

125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
60g shredded suet (vegetable suet is fine)
Water
1 tbsp chopped herbs of your choice (I used thyme)

Method:

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms in a bowl of hot, freshly boiled water.

Chop the onions, carrots, celery and leek. Quarter the mushrooms. Crush and peel the garlic.
image

Season the flour generously with salt, pepper and the oregano. Toss the meat in the flour until evenly covered.

Heat up the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-based lidded pan. Shake any excess flour off the meat, and add to the pan; turn regularly until brown all over.

Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and leek, and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the tomato puree and cook it out, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure all the tasty bits are incorporated in the gravy. Bring to the boil, then add the stock, the rehydrated mushrooms with their water, and top up with hot water if needed (the liquid needs to cover the meat almost completely.

Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to the minimum setting, put the lid on, and leave to simmer gently for about 4 hrs, stirring every so often.

30 min before you are ready to serve, make the dumplings. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and suet in a bowl. Mix with enough water to form a slightly sticky dough. Flour your hands and form into dumplings; I usually make 6 large ones but you could make up to 12 smaller ones.

Check the seasoning of the beef gravy, and add your dumplings to the pan, making sure there is plently of liquid there as they need to be poached. Put the lid back on and cook for another 10 to 20 min, depending on the size of the dumplings. Serve with hot, buttery mash.

Advertisements

16 Comments

Filed under Mains, Meat dishes

Steak and Mushroom Pie

image

image

It is a truth universally acknowledged that as the autumn rain and chilly winds make their appearance, one starts yearning for hearty, warming, comforting dishes.
This pie is one such dish, and it is very easy to prepare. You can make it in a large pie dish, or 6 individual ones. Unless we have guests, I usually make it in individual dishes and freeze four (unglazed) portions for another day (make sure you wrap them well before freezing, then defrost in the fridge for 24h before glazing and baking as below).

You will need (for 1 large pie, or 6 individual ones):

For the pastry:
200 g plain flour
100 g butter
Salt
1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing

For the filling:

Handful dried mushrooms (about 30 g dry weight)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
450 g stewing steak, cubed
3 tbsp flour
250 ml hot beef stock
Salt
Pepper
200 g fresh mushrooms, quartered
2 tbsp dried thyme, or 2 sprigs fresh
2 tsp cornflour

Method:

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms in hot, freshly boiled water. Reserve.

Put the flour in a bowl, season generously. Toss the meat in the flour until well covered.

In a large pan, heat up the olive oil. Shake any excess flour off the meat, and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until brown on all sides.
image

Add the onion, then the fresh mushrooms. Drain the rehydrated mushrooms and add to the pan.

Add the stock, thyme and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, covered, for about 1h30.image

Meanwhile, make the pastry. In a large bowl, add the salt and butter to the flour. Work the flour into the butter between your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to bind, knead briefly then form into a ball (you can use a food processor instead if you prefer). Wrap in cling film then chill.

When the filling is ready, preheat the oven to 200 C/ fan 190 C/ gas 6.
Mix the cornflour with a few spoonfuls of cold water, and add to the filling. Stir, then leave to thicken for about a minute. Take off the heat.

Roll out the pastry to about 5 mm thickness (roughly the thickness of a beer mat). Invert your pie dish, or individual dishes, over the pastry and cut pastry lids to shape with a sharp knife. Roll any trimmings into a ball, and freeze for another time.

image

image

Transfer the filling to the dish. With a brush, wet the rim of your pie dish(es), and carefully place the prepared pastry on top. Press down all around the edge with a fork to seal.

Bake for about 10 to 15 min for individual pies, 15 to 20 min for a large one, or until nice and golden.

8 Comments

Filed under Bakes, Mains, Meat dishes

Pasta Bake With Goat’s Cheese and Turkey Meatballs

image

I do not run for anyone. Not only do most of my shoes not allow it, but if I am totally honest I also find it rather tedious, and let’s face it, exhausting.

I am always happy however, to support friends running for charity in any way I can. Which is why this weekend I was delighted to welcome at Greedy Frog Towers two dear friends brave (and fit) enough to tackle the Great North Run.

The night before the race, I prepared this dish for them, with pasta for energy, plenty of vegetable goodness and lean protein in the form of turkey meatballs. It went down a treat!

They both finished the race and did amazingly well, raising a lot of money for Cancer Research in the process, and I am very proud of them.

You will need (for 6):

For the meatballs:
400 g turkey mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp dried sage
salt, pepper

For the sauce:
olive oil
2 large peppers
a handful mushrooms, chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic

To finish:
500g pack pasta
1 small log goat’s cheese
1 tsp dried sage

Method:

Preheat your grill to medium-high. Grill the peppers on all sides until black and blistered, then place inside a plastic bag. Wrap this plastic bag into another one, then reserve until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, mix all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl, and form into golf-ball size meatballs.
image

Heat up the olive oil in a large, deep pan. Gently fry the meatballs until golden on all sides. While the meatballs are cooking, peel, de-seed and dice the peppers. When the meatballs are well coloured, add the peppers and mushrooms to the pan, stir gently (taking care not to break the meatballs), and cook for 2 min more.

Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 30 min.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ Gas 6. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then drain. Butter a large ceramic or glass baking dish.

Spread a layer of sauce at the bottom of the dish, and top with a layer of pasta. Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients. Slice the goat’s cheese, and distribute evenly on the dish. Sprinkle the sage, then bake for 15 to 20 min, or until the cheese slices start to take colour.image

Serve with some fresh crusty bread.

2 Comments

Filed under Mains, Meat dishes, Pasta

Stuffed Chicken Breasts in Parma Ham, with Crispy Polenta “Chips”

image

You will need (for 2):

2 chicken breasts
6 thin slices of Parma ham
2 spring onions
A handful of mushrooms
2 heaped tbsp Greek yoghurt
100 g quick-cook polenta
20 g Parmesan, grated
2 heaped tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Pinch dried sage
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil

Method:

Prepare the polenta: boil 400 ml water, then add the polenta and stir energetically for about 5 min, or until thickened. Add some seasoning and the Parmesan. Pour into a lightly oiled dish or tray, spread out as evenly as you can then leave to cool and firm up.
image

Prepare the stuffing: finely chop the spring onions and mushrooms. In a small frying pan, heat up about 1 tsp olive oil, then gently fry the onions, mushrooms, parsley and sage on a low to medium heat.image

When cooked through, season and tip into a small bowl and leave to cool for a few minutes. Add the yoghurt.

Lay the chicken breasts on a chopping board. With a sharp knife, cut horizontally through the thickest part of the breast, stopping about 1 cm short of the edge. Open the breast like a book, and flatten with a rolling pin. The aim is to have a fairly even thickness the whole way through.
image

On another board, lay 3 slices of Parma ham, overlapping them slightly. Place one chicken breast on them, and half of the mushroom mixture. image

Roll tightly, overlapping the ends of the ham slices so the mushroom mixture doesn’t escape. Repeat with the other breast.

Cut the polenta into strips the size of chunky chips, and lightly coat these in flour.image

Heat up two frying pans, lightly brushed with olive oil, on a medium heat. Carefully lower the chicken in the first one, cook on one side for about 5 min, then turn. Cook for about 15 min in total, making sure it is evenly coloured on all sides.
image

At the same time, lay the “chips” in the other pan and turn every few minutes to ensure an even, golden colour.

When the chicken is cooked through, rest under a foil sheet for 2 min, then serve with the chips.

4 Comments

Filed under Mains, Meat dishes

Open lasagne with creamy mushroom and spinach filling

You can use any type of lasagne sheet for this recipe: you can buy them fresh or dry from most shops, or you can make your own (watch this space for a recipe and step by step guide, coming up sometime soon).

You will need (for 2 portions):

2 large lasagne sheets (or 3 small ones)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 spring onions
250g chestnut mushrooms
Pinch of thyme
150g spinach (about 2 large handfuls)
3 heaped tbsp crème fraîche
Parmesan (from a block)
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Method:

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the lasagne sheets according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the spring onions and mushrooms. Wash the spinach and drain thoroughly.

Heat up the olive oil in a frying pan, or sauté pan with a lid. Add the spring onions and mushrooms, salt, pepper, thyme, stir then cover for 2 to 3 min until the mushrooms are cooked.

image

Add the spinach and leave to wilt for a few seconds, then add the crème fraîche. Warm through, check the seasoning and take off the heat.

Drain the pasta and cut the lasagne sheets in half so you end up with square-ish pieces.

Lay one piece in each serving bowl, top with some of the filling and some grated parmesan. Repeat until you have used up the pasta and filling, then finish with some parmesan shavings and chopped parsley.

image

2 Comments

Filed under Mains, Pasta, Vegetarian

Quick bean stew with grilled halloumi and crunchy toasted almonds

This is very quick and easy to make, and ideal for a midweek evening meal.

You will need (for 2 portions):

2 tbsp olive oil
200g fresh white mushrooms
4 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tin baked beans
25g blanched almonds (flaked almonds would be fine too)
150g halloumi
Pinch thyme
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt
Pepper

Method:

Preheat your grill on medium.

Cut the spring onions into 1cm chunks, clean and quarter the mushrooms, crush the garlic.

Place a large pan on a medium heat, and heat up the olive oil. Add the spring onions, garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Toss in the oil then cover and leave for about 2 min until it all starts to soften.

Meanwhile, warm up a small frying pan. If you are using whole blanched almonds, crush them roughly in a pestle and mortar (or food processor), if using flaked almonds, leave them as they are.

When the frying pan is hot add the almonds to it and let them toast until golden. Make sure you keep an eye on them though: they would burn in no time if left unattended. When golden, take off the heat and set aside.

When the mushrooms have softened, add the baked beans, salt and pepper to taste, and warm through.

Slice the halloumi as evenly as you can (you should end up with 6 slices), and pop it under the grill on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

As soon as the halloumi is nice and golden (this should take 1 to 3 min depending on your grill), take it away from under the grill.

To serve, spoon the bean and mushroom stew into shallow bowls, top with the cheese and scatter the almonds on top. Finish with the chopped parsley.image

Leave a comment

Filed under Mains, Vegetarian