PAARDEPLAATS NATURE RETREAT
Saucy Chef’s, Comforting Winter Pot’s for family & friends:
July 21th 2020
Now that I’ve unburdened myself from the shackles of the virus, Capitalism, the freezing cold and my own frustrations, I think that we can continue down the road of ‘effort’ and give the lockdown another try!
From my restaurant days in Dullies, I will share two very successful, let’s call them, family pot recipes with you. Over the years, they’ve proved to be rather comforting, for my family. In winter when one needs the warmth and the added inspiration of sitting down each evening to a friends and family experience, with the emphasis on ambiance, they should help a lot.
We all need this, to recharge our batteries- sometimes even on a daily basis.
One of my philosophies I had, as a land surveyor, when I often lived away from home for long periods, was to pay attention to the details of the leisure part of my life. I needed this in my work, to preserve my sanity and to help me keep going with enthusiasm.
Of course, the old saying that ‘home is what you make it’, counts here, so you have to put thought and effort into creating that ambiance around the table!
The recipes and food of a meal are only one component. The rest depends on you, your creative thinking, the presentation of the food, plus of course the gratitude, fun and laughter of all, involved.
You certainly don’t want to become a food snob, in the process, but it is important to enjoy life, with all its trimmings. Your evening meal, is just such a trimming, so don’t skimp.
The more you put into life the more you can take out of it! and this will keep you sane and happy.
So here goes:
1. POT au FEU
(Pot on the fire)
This is an Old French, die-hard recipe. It cannot be rushed and requires at least 4 – 5 hours of slow cooking.
Ingredients: Serves 8 – 10
Shin of Beef (marrow bones in) 1kg (4-5 slices)
Beef short rib (bones in) 1kg
Beef marrow bones 10
Carrots (peeled) (Sliced into 2 cm slices) 6
Onions whole baby (peeled) (stuck with 2-3 cloves each) 8
Leeks (washed well and sliced into 2 cm slices) 6
Baby turnips (peeled and large diced) 4-6
Garlic cloves (crushed) 6
Celery with leaves (sliced) 2 stalks
Potatoes (medium) (peeled) (halved) 5 (10 halves)
Bouquet garni (thyme, sage, bay leaves & rosemary) 1
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Vinegar 1 tblsp
Beef stock 2 litres
White Wine 350ml
Dijon mustard 2 tsp
chopped chives for garnish ½ cup
Beurre Manie: (for thickening)
Flour 3 tblsp
Butter (soft) 3 tblsp
- Remove the marrow bones from the shin and set aside with the other marrow bones. Portion all the meat into suitably sized portions.
- On top of the stove (medium heat), in a heavy 5lt pot with lid (later to be transferred to the oven) add the butter, baby onions and sliced leeks, the carrots, turnips, garlic, celery, and all of the meat. Melt the butter and tossing gently and regularly, braise the contents of the pot for about 15 minutes, so as to cover all with a good coating of butter.
- Add the potatoes, salt, black pepper, mustard, vinegar, beef stock, white wine and toss lightly. Add the bouquet garni and bring to the boil. Adjusting the liquid level with more beef stock if necessary. Cook on top of the stove for about 15 minutes.
- Remove any scum that forms on top with a small sieve.
- Transfer the pot to a preheated oven (180ºC) with lid on. After 15 minutes turn the oven down to 160 ºC and allow to simmer very slowly for 2 hours.
- Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Carefully add the 10 marrow bones (on top). Making sure they are slightly covered with the liquid.
- Return to the oven for another 45 minutes of slow simmering. The marrow bones should not be tossed too roughly as the marrow will fall out – lost into to pot!
- In the mean time, mix the flour and butter (beurre manie) into a smooth paste & set aside.
- After the 45 minutes, Remove the lid from the pot, and very lightly toss in sufficient beurre manie to thicken the liquid to the desired consistency. Take care not to disturb the marrow bones, unnecessarily.
- Serve, with either brown lentils and pearled barley or with brown rice. Using warmed deep platters or large soup bowls. Arrange each serving carefully on top of the lentils and barley so that each has vegetables, a potato or two, meat, a generous amount of the gravy with a marrow bone on top. Garnish with chopped chives and enjoy together with a good crusty bread and mustard, with your favourite wine. And of course! Thanks for what we are about to receive. Enjoy yourself!
- The left-over’s are fantastic the next day served cold on freshly baked, crisp bread rolls, with gherkins and Dijon mustard.
2. CHICKEN PAPRIKA with a GREEK YOGHURT DRESSING
This is a delicious yet healthy eastern Mediterranean casserole, with an exciting dollop of Tsatsiki on top.
It is inexpensive but none the less rather elegant.
Ingredients: Serves 8-10
Chicken (portioned into 8 pieces) 1.5kg
Onions (chopped coarsely) 2
Olive oil 1 tblsp
Cayenne pepper or chilli flakes ½ tsp
Paprika (Spanish, smoked would be best) 1 tblsp
Tomatoes (firm & ripe) (chopped) 500g
Chicken stock 500ml
White wine (dry) 250ml
Bay leaves (preferably fresh) 3
Green pepper (deseeded and cut into large pieces) 2
Red pepper (deseeded and cut into large pieces) 1
Carrots (peeled and sliced) 3
Flour 1 tblsp
Butter (soft) 1 tblsp
Greek Yoghurt 350ml
Garlic (crushed) 2 cloves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste (don’t be shy with the pepper)
Lemon Juice 1 tblsp
Chopped thyme ⅓ cup
- Gently brown the onions in the oil, in a suitable casserole dish on top of the stove for about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Add the chicken pieces and brown (skin side first) for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the green & red pepper pieces and the carrots, toss well and braise gently for a few minutes.
- Dust with the paprika. Toss well.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, the chicken stock and the white wine, with the bay leaves.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook in a preheated oven 180ºC with a lid on for 1 hour.
- Prepare the Beurre Manie: buy mixing the flour and soft butter into a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Prepare the Tsatsiki: Mix the yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, some freshly ground black pepper, salt and the chopped thyme and refrigerate until needed.
- Remove the pot from the oven to the top of the stove, thicken the liquid with enough Beurre Manie to the consistency you require. Sprinkle with a more paprika and return to the oven for 30 minutes, with lid off. You can turn the grill on.
- When the chicken has browned, remove from oven, put the yoghurt mix on top of the chicken in the middle of the casserole – do not mix it in! Sprinkle with a little more paprika then serve with pasta, couscous or lentils with a spring salad and a good dry red or white wine.
- Bon Appetit!