Pulled pork seems to be this Autumn’s ‘it’ recipe, covered by most every foodie magazine over the last month or two and helped no doubt by the increasing popularity of street food, of which the pulled pork van is usually the shining star. But Hubby was making this long before it became trendy, bringing his recipe from the motherland of BBQ with him when he washed up on these shores. What elevates Hubby’s version for me though is the home-made BBQ sauce that he makes from the leftover cooking liquid, which is hands down better than anything store bought that I’ve ever tasted.
Hubby serves it in the traditional way, on a bun with lashings of coleslaw and french fries and spears of dill pickle on the side, but it’s also delicious in a wrap (great leftover lunch!) or on mash or as a quesedilla filling. I think I’ve even seen it suggested as a baked potato topping, and why not!
Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off, it really is as easy as throwing everything in a pot and then leaving it to do its thing through the afternoon, at the end of which you’ll have a succulent slow cooked joint that will just fall apart. Perfect Autumn fodder, I promise you 🙂
And now, over to Hubby!
Pulled Pork "Sammiches"
An easy slow cook approach to Carolina BBQ, all in one happy pot.
2-3 tsp mesquite liquid smoke (hard to find, but Lupe Pinto’s in Bruntsfield sells this. Or try Amazon!)
1/2 – 1 bottle favoured beer, add it to the stock
Stuff you’ll need, for the BBQ sauce…
2 cups reserved vegetables from the pork
6 ounces (170 mls) reserved cooking liquid from the pork
2 tsp garlic, finely chopped or minced
2 tsp very finely chopped ginger (or cheat and use powdered ginger at 1tsp, I do)
2 tsp cumin
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar (as a starter, more to taste, I do prefer a sweeter BBQ)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons cider vinegar (seems like a lot, but mixed in through the pork it isn’t)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 – 1 Tbsp Red Hot or Tabasco sauce
2-3 tsp mesquite liquid smoke
Stuff you’ll need, for serving:
Good sized burger buns or white baps
Other stuff you’ll need…
Good slow-cooker, or large stewpot with lid
Tray for cooling and shredding the pork
Good size mixing bowl
A liquidiser or food processor
Begin my browning the pork on all sides (even the fatty side), as this will help to seal in the juices. Keep the strings on the pork as well as it will hold it together while it’s slow cooking.
If you’re using a slowcooker, just put everything in the pot, cover, set to low heat and either leave overnight to tend to in the morning, or leave it all day whilst you’re at work, and come home to dinner ready-made!
If you’re doing this on the hob however, once you’ve browned the pork, simply toss everything into a large stockpot, mix it about, and then bring it up to a gentle boil.
Don’t worry about trimming the pork shoulder or cutting fat, it’s much easier to do later once it’s all warm and falling apart, plus the fat adds a great flavour to the cooking liquid.
Once boiling, cover, reduce temperate to lowest heat, and simmer. This should take about 4-5 hours on the hob before it’s ready to fall apart. Stir the pot and rotate the pork every hour or so, but keep covered. You’ll know when it’s done.
Remove the pork to a baking tray or deep baking dish for cooling, and reserve the cooked vegetables and cooking liquid for your BBQ sauce.
You won’t need to cool the pork completely, just enough to handle it without burning. At this point you can pull off or cut off the excess fat — don’t be afraid to take the pork shoulder completely apart. Any connective tissue will have nicely gelatinised by this point, but you don’t want too much fat in the pork, so remove as much as you like.
Now, divide the pork into workable chunks, and shred in the baking pan with two forks, pulling the fibres apart finely. This both increases the volume of the meat as well as making it ready to soak up all of the lovely BBQ sauce. You can use your fingers for a more “rustic” shredding, instead, if you like.
Once it’s shredded, drizzle over a ladle or two of the cooking liquid, mix, cover, and set aside.
Now for the BBQ sauce…
In your liquidiser/food processor, combine the reserved vegetables, cooking liquid, garlic and ginger, and process until smooth, and about the thickness and consistency of ketchup. Add the remaining ingredients and process until thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
The proportions are to taste, but this will, on its own, be a sweet, slightly tangy sauce. Mixing it with the pork results in a really rich, tangy sauce. Some like it sweeter, some like it with less cider, let your taste buds guide you.
Toss the pulled pork with about 2 cups of the sauce, and set aside. If it looks like it needs more sauce, add away. The remainder is just used for dipping on the side anyway.
You can prep all of this in advance and just reheat in a wok or stewpot, adding a -little- water to reheat it when it’s time to serve.
Serve it with the coleslaw on top of a goodly pile of the pork on toasted buns. We serve this in the States with chips and spears of gherkin (The Polish kind, with Dill, not the sweeter British ones).
You can use a pork loin roast but the yield will be much lower. A shoulder will comfortably feed four. If you get this at the supermarket the size should be ok, so go for a weighty one. Careful asking for this at a butcher as they’ll often give you the whole shoulder + shank, which is frankly massive.
Following my last post’s unusual tarragon and lamb combo comes a much more traditional one of tarragon and chicken, courtesy of my work chum Laura who tipped me off to this delicious recipe while we were raving about our mutual love of tarragon and James Martin, whose recipe this is. As you might expect from the cuddly host of Saturday Kitchen this dish doesn’t stint on the cream, but it’s absolutely luscious as a result and after one mouthful Hubby was already demanding that I make it again!
The only change I’ve made to Mr Martin’s original recipe was to halve the amount of chicken used so that we could have all that lovely sauce over rice for two 🙂 Hubby and I are a pair of ‘jup’ monsters after all…
It’s possibly one of a handful of supper recipes that doesn’t use onion and/or garlic which I have to admit gave me a wee cause for concern, but the wine base and the tarragon are so full of flavour that I didn’t miss the otherwise ubiquitous bulbs a bit. The lack of the usual vegetable prep work also makes this a really quick and easy supper to rustle up which, given how damn tasty it is, only makes this recipe better still!
Getting the chicken skin crispy on the hob is essential, not quite duck skin crispy but make sure it’s browning up nicely before it goes in the oven. The honey will do the rest of the work, not to mention adding a lovely sweet note to the dish without overpowering it.
Thanks again Laura, this one’s definitely a keeper 🙂
Chicken with a Tarragon Cream Sauce
Chicken in a too-easy-to-be-so-tasty tarragon cream sauce.
Get the oven on and preheat to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Place a roasting tin or shallow casserole over a high heat and brown the chicken breasts in a little oil, making sure the skin side starts to crisp. Season, turn skin side up, and pour over the honey.
Pop in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the oven off, and then remove the chicken breasts to a plate and cover with foil before popping back into the now turned off oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.
Pour off any excess fat from the roasting tin (or shallow casserole) before placing on a high heat again. Add the wine, scraping the pan to make you sure you get all the lovely juices from the chicken, and bring to the boil. Reduce until the alcohol has all burned off and there’s only a couple of tablespoons of liquid left in the pan.
Add the stock and two sprigs of tarragon and bring to the boil again, until the stock has reduced by a third. Next, stir in the cream and bring to the boil again, allowing it to reduce a little before removing the sprigs of tarragon.
Finally, add the freshly chopped tarragon to the sauce and check the seasoning, adjusting if required, and then serve over the chicken.
We seem to be eating a lot of lamb at the moment, not that I’m complaining as it’s such a fave in our house, and since we’re smack bang in the middle of Scottish lamb season it seems a shame not to indulge! So here’s another recipe from my #whambamthankyoulamb afternoon with QMS, and one I’ve been looking forward to making again to check it was as tasty as I remembered. It totally was if the happy smile on Hubby’s face is anything to go by 🙂
This recipe wins on taste and effort and really is perfect for a midweek make. The meatballs take next to no time to roll up and can even be done in advance and left in the fridge for a few hours until you’re ready to cook. The cherry tomatoes and fresh basil lend the sauce a freshness that I promise you’ll come back for, and if – like me – you’re thinking that tarragon and lamb is an odd combination let me assure you that it really really works. Really.
Tarragon Lamb Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce
Lamb and tarragon meatballs make for a quick and tasty supper.
1 slice of stale white bread, grated or zizzed into crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
handful of fresh tarragon leaves, gently chopped
25g fresh basil
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
200g cherry tomatoes
pinch of sugar
splash of balsamic
400g penne pasta
salt and pepper to season
50g parmesan shavings (optional)
CSI-style vinyl gloves (optional)
Mix the lamb, half the garlic and onion, breadcrumbs, egg, a pinch of salt and pepper and tarragon leaves. Get those CSI gloves on if you have them and roll yourself 12 golfball-ish sized meatballs. Cover with clingfilm before popping into the fridge for 30 minutes or so – the fridge bit is optional and you can skip it if you’re rushed, but it does help the meatballs hold together better when you’re cooking them. Not a mealbreaker if you can’t.
While the meatballs are chilling, preheat your oven to 200 °C/400 °F/gas mark 6. (If you’re skipping the chilling then probably best to do this bit first.)
If you have a casserole that is as happy in the oven as it is on the stove (and vice versa) then you can do this all in one pot. If you don’t, do your frying in a standard frying pan and then transfer to a casserole for the oven, or just cook the whole thing on the stove.
Put some oil in your casserole or pan and cook the meatballs in batches until they are mostly browned all over but not cooked through. Remove to a plate (with kitchen roll to soak up some of the excess oil) and set to one side.
Drain the oil from the pan, then gently sauté the rest of the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes. Season with salt, then add a pinch of sugar and a goodly splash of balsamic vinegar to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes. Bring up to the boil and leave simmering for 3–4 minutes.
Next, return the meatballs to the pan along with the cherry tomatoes and basil. Give it all a gentle stir so as not to break your meatballs, and bring to a simmer. Once it’s simmering, pop a lid over it and place in the oven for about 20–25 minutes (or leave on top of the stove for the same amount of time).
Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet and drain so that it’s ready when the meatballs are.
Remove the pan of meatballs from the oven. For best noms, remove the meatballs from the sauce onto a plate and then add the drained pasta to the pan and mix well with the sauce. Add the meatballs back in and mix again so that everything is coated in the tomato sauce.
Plate up, sprinkling over some parmesan shavings and a few sprigs of basil. Serve up, and marvel at the unusual but totally tasty marriage of tarragon and lamb 🙂
I have no idea where the time has gone! We popped stateside to visit Hubby’s folks for a couple of weeks in September and then I blinked and it’s almost November! Which is probably just as well, because this delicious steamed pudding is perfect for the onset of Autumn. As I sit here listening to the rain I think I can safely say that the comfort food season is officially open 😉
A couple of years ago we had some friends come visit us from New York. It was their first time in Scotland so we took them on the mother of all road trips, up through the Highlands and all the way across to Skye. The pair of them are as fond of good food as we are so having dragged them right up to the doorstep of the Three Chimneys it would have been a shame not to cross it and go in…
A meal at the Three Chimneys deserves a blog post all of its own, it really is that good, but today I’m going to rave just about the pudding which was worth the 400 mile round trip alone – the sponge was seductively dark but surprisingly light, and tasted most definitely and deliciously of marmalade which, as you might have noticed, is a particular favourite flavour of mine 🙂 If you ever ever make it up there don’t even look at anything else on the dessert menu, it will only tempt you away from one of the best puddings you’ll ever have.
Alternatively, stay home and have a go at making it yourself! We watched Nick Nairn make this on Saturday Kitchen one morning and it looked really really easy, like what-have-you-got-to-lose easy, so we tried it out courtesy of a recipe in The Guardian and it really was as easy as NN made it look. But, and probably most importantly, it comes a damn close second to the real thing! We made this as our contribution for the family Christmas dinner last year and the parentals have already pre-ordered it for this year 🙂
The Three Chimneys serves theirs with a Drambuie custard but Hubby and I found a nice vanilla ice cream goes just as well, so serve up with whichever you prefer.
This pudding supposedly freezes well but we’ve never had enough leftover to try (!) If you do freeze it though, you can apparently reheat it by steaming it again, or popping it in the microwave for a few seconds. Hubby has plans to pan fry slices in a little butter but see comment above re lack of leftovers…
Three Chimneys Hot Marmalade Pudding
A sweet citrusy steamed pudding that is perfect for a cold night.
25g self-raising wholemeal flour (or white self-raising flour)
120g soft light brown sugar
8 tbsp coarse-cut marmalade, plus 3 tbsp extra for serving
3 large eggs
1 rounded teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Other stuff you’ll need…
3 pint pudding basin
Large mixing bowl
Large saucepan or stewpot, deep enough to fit the pudding basin inside with the pan lid firmly on
Start by buttering the pudding basin well, and then set to one side.
Place the breadcrumbs, flour and sugar into the mixing bowl.
Melt the butter and marmalade in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Pour the melted ingredients over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and then mix it all together thoroughly.
In a seperate bowl, whisk the eggs until they’re frothy, and then beat gently into the pudding mixture until it is all blended together well.
Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in 1 tablespoon of cold water before stirring into the pudding mixture, which will increase in volume as it absorbs the bicarb.
Finally, spoon the mixture into the buttered basin. Cover it with close-fitting lid or, alternatively, make a lid with circles of buttered greaseproof paper and foil, pleated together across the centre and tied securely around the rim of the basin (if that made no sense then click here to watch a very good video explaining what to do).
Lower the pudding basin into the saucepan/stewpot of boiling water (the water should reach halfway up the side). Cover and simmer for two hours, checking the water throughout and topping up when needed (trust me, it will need it!).
When the two hours is up, carefully remove the pudding basin and remove the lid. Put a plate on top, turn the basin upside down and wait for the pudding to unmould. It should do this on its own but if it needs help then give it a sound tap on top, or squeeze if the basin is plastic, and it should slide on off.
Remove the basin and rejoice in the dark steamed perfection of your pudding!
Melt the extra marmalade in a small saucepan, then drizzle all over the pudding as you’re serving it.
Lamb is my favourite red meat, hands down. Roast has to be lamb, curry has to be lamb (but pathia or kofta?), and the pie has always got to be shepherd’s, never cottage. So when I got invited by Quality Meat Scotland to an afternoon of sharing their new recipes for cooking Scotch Lamb with Scottish food bloggers I couldn’t say yes quickly enough! And what a fantastic afternoon it was, and not just because it culminated in a plate of this 🙂
Hubby works for Scotland Food & Drink so we usually try to shop the Scottish options when we can (he makes me put things back if they’re not Scottish, honestly!!) but I learnt a couple of things at the Scotch Lamb afternoon that made me even more determined to shop Scottish when it comes to lamb.
Did you know…
1. that to qualify as Scotch Lamb, the wee bleaters have to have spent every day of their lives in Scotland – born, raised and processed?
2. that Scotch Lamb was one of the first red meats in Europe to have been granted the Protected Geographical Indication status?
3. that apparently we Scots eat only half as much lamb as the English…! #gobsmacked!
Scotch Lamb is just coming in to season now and the season continues until February/March, so there really isn’t a better time to tuck in and support Scottish, ESPECIALLY since it’s Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight right now! Not to mention all those nasty food miles you’ll be saving…
But back to the afternoon! It was held at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School where we got to watch one of their chefs demonstrate three fairly different recipes, all using different cuts of Scotch Lamb. The first was a Lamb Biryani, which went against convention and used neck for a relatively quick cook – delicious! Second was Lamb Meatballs with Penne… I had never heard of of using tarragon with lamb before but it is a properly winning combination and one I can’t wait to try again – deliciouser! Last, and zomg not least, was the Lemony Lamb Fillet which was the most delicious dish of the three! It’s not a cut of lamb I’ve ever cooked with before, but that is going to change…
What I loved about all three of the recipes, other than the downright tastiness of them, were just how quick and easy they were to cook. And to prove it wasn’t just because the chef was good at her job we all got to pick one of the three dishes to try cooking ourselves right there and then (fyi, the Lemony Fillets seemed to be most everyone’s favourite!). It also gave all of us a chance to chat while we cooked, which was awesome as some of the bloggers were ones I’d been following for a while so it was kind of like meeting my blogging heroes 🙂
Socialising and eating aside, I came away from the afternoon wondering why I’d never really thought about cooking lamb for midweek suppers, but I realised that all of my lamb recipes are real labours of love that are better suited to the weekend. Not anymore! In fact, I’m already planning on making those tarragon meatballs tomorrow, they were that good.
If you’re interested in checking out the official recipe it’s here, along with all the other new Scotch Lamb recipes which I recommend having a peek at, but I’m going to write this up the way I cooked it on the day because it was absolutely lush, properly melt in the mouth stuff, and I don’t want to change a thing 😉
300g Scotch lamb fillet, all fat removed and sliced lengthways into three strips
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil 300g new potatoes, halved if large
Bought mint sauce OR…
a large handful of fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
75 ml cider or malt vinegar
Other stuff you’ll need…
pestle and mortar, or a small bowl and rolling pin (or spoon)
griddle pan, or large frying pan
First things first, set your griddle pan over a high heat and leave it until it’s searing hot and literally smoking. Start a saucepan of water heating too – new potatoes, unlike their larger non-new brethren, should go into hot water and not cold apparently.
While you’re waiting, rub the olive oil onto the lamb and then loosely sprinkle over half the lemon zest and garlic before pressing the flavouring lightly into place. Give it all a good grind of black pepper and then turn over and do exactly the same to the other side.
As soon as the water is boiling, lightly salt and then drop in your potatoes and leave them on the boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they’re tender.
Next, make the so-ridiculously-easy-you’ll-never-buy-it-ready-made-again mint sauce. Finely chop the mint and put into the mortar or a small bowl, sprinkle the sugar and salt on top and then crush to release all that lovely minty juice from the leaves. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, the rounded end of a rolling pin will do the job just as well, or failing that, squash it all together firmly with the back of a spoon. Add the vinegar – you might want to hold some back and taste first, adding more vinegar until you hit your preferred sweet/sour mix – and stir together well. Set aside until needed.
By now your griddle should be smoking hot, perfect for searing the lamb fillets and giving them that lovely chargrilled flavour. Sear for about 2 to 3 minutes per side which should be enough to leave the middle perfectly pink but not bloody (if it’s too pink, just pop it back on the griddle pan for another minute or 2).
THE IMPORTANT BIT! When you remove the fillets from the pan, cover with foil and leave to rest for about the same amount of time the lamb was cooking, so between 4 to 6 minutes depending. This allows all the lovely juices to be reabsorbed, giving you a far far juicier eat. Don’t be tempted to skip this and tuck right in, your lamb will be drier for it.
While the meat is resting, drain the potatoes and then return them to the hot pan. If you’re not quite ready for them yet just pop the lid on to keep them warm.
When you are ready, add the butter to the pan and break the potatoes up with the back of a fork so that they’re less mashed and more bashed. Plate the potatoes and then slice your lamb fillets and lay on top. Finally, daub with the mint sauce, and then tuck in.