Classic Beef and Ale Pie – British Food Fortnight

Love British Food logo

Summer seems to have come to a chilly, wet and blustery end and it is time for an overhaul of the summer salads and barbecues and start to cook some of my favourite foods, warming soups, hearty stews and casseroles, and traditional pies and puddings. As we shift into Autumn if you are a bit of a foodie you will know it is also time to celebrate National Cask Ale Week* and to promote British Food Fortnight, and if you follow this blog you will also know how I feel about some of the more obscure food promotions but as my day job is working for a brewery pub chain this is an ideal opportunity for me to promote two great passions, classic British pub food accompanied with a pint or two and what can be more suitable than a traditional Beef and Ale pie, a real pub favourite.

 

Braised Beef and Ale Pie
Beef and Ale Pie

Pies date back to pre-Egyptian history, early pies were flat, round crusty cakes called ‘galettes’ containing honey, evidence of which can be found on the tomb walls of the Pharaoh Ramesses I, located in the Valley of the Kings. The Roman cookbook Apicius has several recipes which involve a pie case, with a sweet filling, more like a modern-day cheesecake on a pastry base, which more often than not were used as an offering to the gods.

Medieval pies could be easily cooked over an open fire, the earliest pie-like recipes refer to coffyns ( meaning basket or box), with straight sealed sides and a top. The pastry was an effective airtight seal and used to prolong the life of expensive meat and was a handy carrying case when traveling on horseback.

Pies remained as a staple of traveling and working peoples in the colder northern European countries, with regional variations the locally available meats. The Cornish pasty is an excellent adaptation of the pie to a working man’s daily food needs.

 *Most of my recipes now include a beer and a wine choice to match the dish.

 Love British Food logo

More Great British Recipes

Classic Beer Battered Fish and Chips

The Best Ever Bramley Apple Crumble

Perfect Yorkshire Puddings

Shepherd’s Pie

 

Braised Beef and Ale Pie

Shin is an inexpensive cut of meat, which is big on flavour, and is full of gelatinous sinew which cooks down to make the most excellent gravy. It is easy to stew, you can also cook in the oven at around 350 F / 180 C / Gas mark 4 and it really lends itself to batch cooking in the pressure cooker and freezing down until required. You can adapt the recipe further sautéd kidneys or if you are feeling indulgent a dozen oysters just before you finish cooking. I am using Liberation Ale ( obviously ) but you can substitute any good flavoursome beer of your choice Adnams Broadside and Fullers ESB are other personal favourites.

 1.5kg Shin of Beef, bone removed, meat cut into chunks

( Ask you butcher to do this as you need a really good knife to cut shin

and ask the butcher to give you the bone )

500 gr Chestnut Mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

2 large White Onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 large Carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 sticks of Celery, washed and finely chopped

750 ml quality Beef Stock

500 ml Liberation Ale or a good Ale of your choice

100 ml quality Olive Oil or 3 tablespoons Beef Dripping

100 gr Plain Flour

2 tablespoons Tomato Puree

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

Bouquet garni; Celery stick, Bay leaf, Parsley and Thyme

A generous pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg

Fine Sea Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

Ready-made puff pastry

(use an all-butter one if you can) or Shortcrust

1 free-range Egg, beaten

Place the beef, flour, and seasoning into a plastic bag and shake. Meanwhile, heat the oil or dripping in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Fry the beef shin in batches until browned all over and set aside. In the same pan, adding a little more oil necessary, sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until soft for about ten minutes. Add the tomato puree and leftover flour and cook out for another minute, stirring continuously, before adding the beer and beef stock. Add the beef shin back to the pan, stir everything together and place the marrow bones and bouquet garni, tied with string, on top.

Reduce the heat and place a tight-fitting lid on the pan. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to achieve a gentle simmer. Allow to cook for about two hours then remove the lid and allow the sauce to reduce for another hour. When the beef is cooked, remove from the heat and thoroughly cool. When cool remove the bones and the bouquet garni.

To serve, preheat your oven to 350 F / 180 C / Gas mark 4 and on a floured surface, roll out the half of the pastry to fit an oven-proof pie dish. Carefully place the pastry into the greased dish and add the beef shin filling. Brush the edges with egg wash and top with remaining rolled out pastry, crimp the edges and brush the top with the rest of the beaten egg. You can decorate with any pastry offcuts if you want. Place the pie in the oven for thirty to forty-five minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked. Allow to stand for 5 minutes after baking and serve with horseradish mash and buttered peas or seasonal greens.

Wine

What to Drink? A fruity, smooth spicy new world Merlot is a perfect match with the rich, full flavours of the slow-cooked gravy or have a pint of the ale that you cooked with.

 

 

Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour   Milk    Eggs  Celery  Raw Fish In the Worcestershire sauce

Please see the Allergens Page

The Best Garlicky Roast Chicken

Parchment Roast Chicken
Delicious parchment roast Garlicky Chicken

Now I am a chef who loves his Sunday lunch and I cannot place the thinnest spatula between beef, lamb, and pork but as a family, we have a clear favourite, the great roast chicken. I am picky however and for the best taste, I prefer a nice free-range bird the skin crisp, the meat moist and succulent. In the depths of wet, windy Channel Island winters I love all the wonderful, traditional garnishes to go with the said roast. Bread sauce, sage and onion stuffing, bacon and chipolata rolls with mounds of fluffy potatoes roasted in duck fat and lashings of gravy.

But this glorious very hot summer and we are looking to our nearest neighbour, remember France is only a few miles away and serve up the roast chicken with some herbs and garlic, sauté potatoes and crisp green salad. Simpler, quicker and next time I must remember the chilled French wine or Normandy cider to serve with it! I stuff the cavity with a big handful of fresh herbs tarragon, parsley, thyme and lots of oregano, add a lemon, then sprinkle with Jersey sea salt and a good twist of fresh black pepper from the mill and add lots of sliced garlic.

Parchment Chicken

Garlic Roast Chicken                serves 4

The big secret is cooking the whole chicken in a baking paper parchment to keep it incredibly moist and flavourful. This method of cooking is called ‘en papillote’ and the poultry or fish is sealed in parchment or foil with herbs and other aromatics and cooks in its own steam.

4 lb ( 2 kg ) free-range Chicken from a reputable supplier

A handful of mixed, fresh Herbs, washed and dried

A couple of large knobs of Butter

A fresh Lemon cut in half

6 cloves of Garlic, peeled in sliced

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 F / 190 C / Gas Mark 5. Place a large sheet of baking paper into the middle of a roasting tray. The parchment must be large enough to fold around the chicken and seal. Place your chicken on the paper, fill the cavity with herbs and lemon halves, rub the butter over the skin, cover with the sliced garlic and season generously. Fold the parchment over the chicken and fold to form a loose parcel.

Place in oven and roast for one hour and a half to two hours depending on the size of your chicken or until the leg juices run clear when pricked with a small sharp knife. ( A meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh should reach 180 F ). Remove from the oven and cover in a T towel and rest for twenty minutes before carving. Simple.

Wine

What to Drink? Continental style Pilsner larger or bitter, hoppy I.P.A ale is a great match with the garlic chicken if you prefer wine try a classic White Burgundy or sparkling Rose wine.

 

Allergens in this recipe are;

Milk

Please see the Allergens Page

Butterflied BBQ Sticky Chicken Breast

BBQ Butterfly Chicken Breast – UK BBQ Week

My last recipe for this year’s National BBQ Week is a simple sticky BBQ butterfly chicken breast ( no bone so no need to worry about cooking the meat through ) with a nice simple sticky Kansas city style BBQ sauce which can be used on ribs and other BBQ meats. Don’t use it too early during the cooking process as it will easily burn due to the relatively high sugar content. For more information on how to BBQ successfully please read my post on grilling temperatures. When you make it use a good quality ketchup as I find cheaper varieties a little too acidic. Enjoy.

If you are like me and love BBQ food please follow my BBQ inspired blog here.

Butterflied BBQ Sticky Chicken Breast
Butterflied BBQ Chicken Breast

Brilliant BBQ Style Chicken Breasts

A butterfly chicken breast is sliced nearly through to open out the breast allowing it to be stuffed and rolled, batted out and breadcrumbed or simply cooked quicker.

4 large butterflied Chicken Breasts ( ask your butcher to do this )

A little Olive oil

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

For the sauce

400 ml quality Tomato Ketchup

100 gr Soft Brown Sugar

3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons melted Butter

1 teaspoon English Mustard Powder

1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

½ teaspoon dried Thyme

½ teaspoon Celery Salt

A couple of splashes of Sriracha hot sauce ( to your taste )

For the sauce, take a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and sauté the garlic gently in the butter until tender and without overly browning which will make the sauce bitter. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring regularly to prevent the sauce sticking to the pan and burning. Cook out for five minutes and remove from the heat and set aside.

To cook the chicken breasts, brush with a little oil, season well and cook over a medium-hot BBQ for eight to ten minutes each side then baste with the sauce and cook for five to ten more minutes, continuing to baste until the meat is cooked and any juices run clear.

Alternatively, line a baking tray with aluminium foil and lightly grease. Place on the chicken and cook under a medium hot grill as above. After cooking either under the grill or on the BBQ brush the chicken breast generously with extra sauce and serve.

Wine

What to Drink? Continental style Blonde beers cut through the sweet sticky sauce and I like to pair the chicken with sweeter, lower alcohol Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc white wines.

 

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery  Mustard

Please see the Allergens Page

 

How to Grill – UK BBQ Week

UKBBQWeek2018It is the middle of a heat wave in the UK right now and everyone will have fired up their BBQ’s or more precisely grills and if you are using charcoal or a gas grill, you need to know the best temperature for cooking your food. Now you can guesstimate by holding your hand over the grill, but I would not recommend it. I suggest getting yourself a decent thermometer and attaching the probe to your grill close to where you cook your meat or fish. Your BBQ, if it has a lid, will often have a built-in thermometer but that will measure the air temperature which can be 50 degrees cooler than the cooking surface where the action takes place.

BBQ charcole

Adjusting the temperature is easy with a gas fired BBQ you can simply adjust the flames on a charcoal fire, once the coals are glowing and turning white your best method is to move the distance between the grill and the coals. The higher the grill the lower the direct heat.

Low Heat Around 325 F / 160 C is perfect for sausages which need to be thoroughly cooked with burning or bursting the skins. You will be able to hold your hand over the heat source for up to ten seconds.

Medium Heat  Around 350 F / 180 C is best for cooking chicken thighs and drumsticks where it is important that the meat is cooked through without the exterior burning to a crisp. It is about six or seven seconds before you will need to move your hand.

BBQ 3
Grilling Fish

Medium-High Heat Between 400 and 450 F / 200 to 230 C. When you want to get a nice browning or crust on your food, but the interior is moist and tender, such as a thick piece of fish, grilled vegetables or a tasty medium-rare burger. You will only be able to hold your hand over the grill for about five seconds.

BBQ 2

High Heat

A temperature of 450 F / 230 C and above is perfect for flash cooking seafood, chicken or steak kebabs, and onglet or hanger steaks. The high heat adds some charring, with regular turning to prevent burning, and is sufficient to cook the food. If you hold your hand over the heat you can only bare it for one or two seconds.

Glazed Pork Ribs

My recipe for Jack Daniel’s and Black Treacle Rib Glaze – UK BBQ Week

UKBBQWeek2018.jpgMy last post gave away my secret for really crispy chicken and today to celebrate National BBQ Week ( it’s longer than a week but who cares when its sunny and you have an excuse BBQ every day ) the recipe I am sharing is for one of my personal favourites Jack Daniel’s and Black Treacle Rib Glaze.

Now you may think to add a classic bourbon to a barbecue sauce is a little extravagant, but the addition of Jack Daniel’s adds a silky smokiness to this glaze, which compliments the liquorish sticky sweetness of the black treacle and the gentle kick of the Cayenne and mustard. Use this barbecue glaze to baste ribs, steaks or chicken towards the end of cooking as your barbecue dies down. You want the sauce to cook on to the surface of the meat, but you don’t want it to burn. You can further enhance your dish with a dry rub to marinade your dish before cooking.

Glazed Pork Ribs
Jack Daniel’s and Black Treacle glazed Ribs

Jack Daniels and Black Treacle Rib Glaze

A lot of my barbecue sauces simply use cups ( the American staple ) as most are American influenced or originally from American friends, it is just so convenient and easy. If you wish to change to metric or imperial, American cups are best converted to 240 millilitres, 16 tablespoons or 8 ½ imperial fluid ounces.

1 cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey

2 cups Ketchup

½ cup light Brown Sugar

½ cup Black Treacle

¼ cup good quality Cider Vinegar

1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

3 cloves of Garlic, peeled and very finely minced

1 Bay leaf

1 piece of Orange peel

1 Star Anise seed pod

¼ piece of Cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon dry Mustard powder

A very good pinch of Cayenne Pepper

Combine the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and mix well. Over a medium heat simmer for twenty minutes then allow to cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you make it a few days in advance the flavours will have more time to blend together. Remove the bay leaf, orange peel, and spices before use.

 

Allergens in this recipe depend on your choice of BBQ sauce and may include;

Celery    Raw Fish   In the Worcestershire sauce

 

Daddy’s Not-so-Secret Crispy Chicken Recipe

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings
Crispy baked Chicken Wings

I posted an Instagram picture recently of a weekend tea-time meal I made with the help of my eldest daughter, she really is a far better baker than me, you should try her cookies but that’s another post. We had dough balls ( they are both big fans of Pizza Express – good job I used to be a Pizza trainer and learnt how to make them properly ), a big salad for Mummy, and Daddy’s Not-so-Secret Crispy Chicken Wings*. If you want a recipe for a chicken wing with a little more bite try my recipe for the Best Oven Baked Buffalo Wings Ever.

Now if I have a weakness for ‘junk food’ it is Southern Fried Chicken, I don’t have a pressure fryer like a certain well know high street chain, which is one of the secrets to producing a piece of crisp coated moist chicken but after a fair few attempts I do have an excellent recipe for well-seasoned coating and tender chicken. While Daddy’s Not-so-Secret Crispy Chicken Wings recipe doesn’t have anywhere near the 10 -12 herbs and spices in the famous secret Kentucky recipe** it has gone down great guns in lots of pubs, bars, and restaurants. I’m not worried you can share the recipe to and try your own variations.

*You can substitute thighs, drumsticks and chicken breasts.

**There is a copy of the recipe right here in Jersey.

Daddy’s Not-so-Secret Crispy Chicken Recipe

Proper Southern Fried Chicken calls for Buttermilk but it is still quite difficult to get hold off and relatively expensive. The slight acidity that helps to tenderise the chicken is easily replaced with a few tablespoons of natural yogurt.

For the Marinade

1 small Chicken cut into pieces 18 Chicken Wings, tips removed

or 8 medium Chicken Thighs

1 small pot of Natural Yoghurt

1 teaspoon fine Sea Salt

Juice of 1 freshly squeezed Lemon

2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed

½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

For the Coating

200 gr fine Polenta

100 gr Self Raising Flour

3 teaspoons Smoked Paprika

1 level teaspoon fine Sea Salt

1 teaspoon dried Thyme

½ teaspoon dried Oregano

½ Celery Salt

½ teaspoon Black Pepper

½ teaspoon dried Coriander

Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C / Gas Mark 5. Prepare a large non-stick baking tray by wiping with a little vegetable oil. In a large non-reactive glass or plastic bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic salt and Cayenne pepper together. Add the chicken and stir to coat completely, cover with cling film and leave in a refrigerator for at least two hours. Thoroughly mix the coating ingredients and when the chicken is ready, cover each chicken piece liberally in the spiced polenta.

Arrange the coated chicken on the prepared baking tray and drizzle with more vegetable oil. Bake on the lowest shelf in your oven for thirty minutes until the chicken is golden brown. Using tongs, carefully turn each piece of chicken and bake for five minutes longer for wings ( ten to fifteen minutes for drumsticks, large breast pieces, and chicken thighs ), or until the undersides are golden. Place the chicken pieces on kitchen paper to drain off excess fat then transfer to plates and serve.

The chicken can be baked ahead, chilled and served cold for picnics and buffets.

Wine

What to Drink? These Chicken wings are best paired German-style Riesling wines or hoppy Continental-style Pilsner lagers and IPA beers.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Flour

Milk