Recipes from The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

October 15, 2017 | Author: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall | Category: Tomato Sauce, Meat, Sausage, Food & Wine, Western Cuisine
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Recipes including in this excerpt: Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken or Pheasant) Flying Toad in the Hole First published i...


MURGH MAKHANI (BUTTER CHICKEN OR PHEASANT) Serves 6 1 organic chicken, weighing about 3 pounds, jointed into “small” portions (pp. 140 –43) Or 2 small pheasants, jointed Or 3 pounds cut up organic chicken Or 11⁄ 2 pounds boneless organic chicken breasts 1 quantity of Tikka Marinade (p. 515) THE TOMATO SAUCE : 2 (14 ounce) cans of tomatoes, chopped, and their juice A small nugget of fresh ginger, grated 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 to 3 small green chiles, depending on heat, finely chopped 5 cloves 1 teaspoon salt 3⁄ 4

cup water


I don’t cook a lot of authentic Indian food. Most of the “curries” I make are improvised affairs. But when I filmed an episode of “TV Dinners” with sisters-inlaw and brilliant cooks Nina and Sumita Dhand, they showed me how to make a real murgh makhani (pronounced “merg muckney,” it means, literally, butter chicken). It’s similar to what many Indian restaurants would call chicken tikka masala, but this version, enriched with butter, honey, and cream, is the best I’ve ever had – completely sublime. Don’t be daunted by the long list of ingredients. They’re all fairly familiar spices. If you make up the marinade and the tomato sauce the day before, then finishing the dish is surprisingly quick and easy. You can make it with either onthe-bone pieces or boneless chicken meat. And I have made it very successfully with pheasant too. Add the chicken or pheasant pieces to the tikka marinade, mix well and leave in the fridge to marinate overnight. Put all the ingredients for the tomato sauce in a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until nicely thickened. Rub the sauce through a sieve and then put on one side. Transfer the chicken or pheasant to a roasting pan, with its marinade, cover with buttered foil and place in a hot oven (450˚F). Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 400˚F and cook for 20 to 25 minutes (knock 5 minutes off each phase for boneless chicken). To complete the sauce, melt the butter in a large pan, add the ground cumin, and sizzle gently for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato sauce, bring back to a gentle simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato purée, honey, cream, fenugreek, lime juice, and black pepper and continue to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is thick, rich, and creamy. Finally, add the cooked chicken or pheasant tikka. Mix well and heat right through, simmering gently for a final 5 minutes to marry all the flavors. Serve with plain boiled rice and naan bread.

cup butter

2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons tomato purée 4 teaspoons honey 2⁄ 3

cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon fenugreek 1 tablespoon lime juice 1 teaspoon black pepper

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FLYING TOAD IN THE HOLE 2 pheasant breasts, cut in half (or 4 pigeon breasts) 4 fat butcher’s sausages 2 large, plump prunes 3 bacon slices 1 tablespoon olive oil

THE BATTER: 1 cup all-purpose flour 1⁄ 4

teaspoon salt

A few twists of black pepper 2 medium eggs 1 egg yolk 2⁄ 3

cup milk

2⁄ 3

cup water

THE GRAVY (OPTIONAL): About 2 cups clear game stock, ideally made from the pigeon bones (p. 472) About 1⁄ 4 bottle of red wine (Or serve the Onion Gravy on p. 517)

Serves 4

I’ve always loved toad in the hole and have always felt that, on the whole (!), the meat-baked-in-batter concept is underexplored. This recipe aims to glamorize the dish a touch, while in no way compromising its earthy, trencherman appeal. The posh gravy is optional but makes it into a definite dinner-party winner. Choose a roasting pan or flameproof dish into which the breasts and sausages will fit with plenty of space for the surrounding batter. First make the batter. Put all the ingredients in a food processor, with the plunger removed to help aeration, and pulse for about five 10-second bursts until you have a smooth batter. Alternatively, put the flour and seasoning in a large mixing bowl, beat in the eggs and yolk, then whisk in the combined milk and water by degrees, until you have a smooth batter the consistency of light cream. Leave the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes before using. If you are making the gravy, do that in advance, too. Ensure that the stock is quite clear. If in doubt, warm it through and strain through a piece of cheesecloth or a cotton cloth. Add the wine and boil hard to reduce it to an intensely flavored sauce with a light, syrupy consistency. Season with salt only at the end. Take the pieces of pheasant breast and make 2 or 3 parallel slits about 3⁄ 4 inch deep in each one. Cut each prune into 4 or 5 slices, discarding the pits. Cut one of the bacon slices into thin strips. Push a piece of bacon (the fattier the better) and a sliver of prune into each slit in the breasts. Cut the remaining 2 slices of bacon in half and flatten and stretch each half with the side of a large knife. Then wrap each piece of pheasant breast in the stretched half slice. Pour the oil into your chosen dish and place in the center of a hot oven (425˚F) to heat through for about 10 minutes. Then add the sausages and wrapped breasts – they should sizzle in the oil. Start them cooking in the oven for a few minutes, then turn them browned-side up and push them around so they are more or less evenly spaced in the pan. By now the oil should be very hot. Pour the batter over and around the sausages and breasts and return the dish to the oven. Cook for at least 15 minutes, but probably not more than 20, until the batter is puffed up and a deep golden brown. Give each person a slab of the batter, with a sausage and a breast in it, and a spoonful of the rich gravy. Have buttered cabbage or other greens to accompany.

Variation Another great addition to toad in the hole, which you can use as well as or instead of the pheasant breasts, is kidneys. Use whole lamb’s kidneys, half pig’s kidneys, or trimmed calf’s kidneys cut into suitable chunks. Prepare exactly as for the pheasant breasts.

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Excerpted from The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Copyright ©2007 by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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