Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The best chicken gravy

This is a really simple sauce that takes no time at all to prepare and really brightens up a roast chicken meal, instead of that heavy gluggy gravy this is a bright sweet and sour sauce with the chicken drippings adding that unctuous roast gravy feel.

In a pot over a medium heat add a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a dash of water, slowly melt the sugar until it caramelises. How far you want to take it is up to you, I like quite a dark caramel.

Deglaze the pan with about the same amount of vinegar and let the sugar dissolve. Use something that will compliment the liquid you’ll add later, I used wine vinegar as I will add red wine, but if you were doing this for pork and wanted to use apple juice or cider, use a cider vinegar.

Add a generous glass of red wine and let the liquid reduce. If you want to add a herby note, now is the time to do it, with chicken I quite like to pop in thyme tied up in a bundle so it can be later removed easily.

Finally, once the roast has rested add the cooking/resting juices to the pan and reduce down again, season to taste and spoon over the served up roast.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tasty wee beets

It does take a little forethought and preparation to make the tastiest beetroot ever, and maybe a little more thought on what you’re going to use them for, as they are utterly transformed by the end. I haven’t really taken another serious look at them since making beetroot “tartare” but had an itch to scratch and quite a few good looking beetroot wanting to be used. There was no clear outcome with what to do with the finished product, just a desire to make it.

The beetroot are placed in a casserole dish with some aromatics, cinnamon, fennel, coriander seeds and a few cloves, dish is covered and placed in a moderate oven for an hour or so, until the beets are cooked through. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle the beetroot without burning yourself. Turn the oven down to 50/60ºC. Peel the beets and place on a lined tray, return to the now cool oven and leave to dehydrate for about 12 hours.

The beetroot will of shrivelled up and concentrated its flavour, it’ll be a bit dry and sticky on the outside. Place the beetroot in a bag and place in the fridge, the moisture should equalise through out the beetroot.

I puréed one of the beets with sour cream, seasoned it well and added a little acid to brighten it up. The sauce made a great addition to a tortilla with mashed garlicky peas, pickled kohlrabi, tomato salsa and some spicy grilled skirt steak.