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Cook-Along Friday Recipe Shed

#RecipeShed – Keema Aloo (Mince curry with potatos)

Many years ago, my wife (then we were but boyfriend and girlfriend) took me on a trip to Bradford.  We went to the IMAX theatre and saw a couple of movies then went for a curry in what is, for me, the finest curry house in the land: The Kashmir.  You walk past the posh seating area at street level, round the corner onto a side street, down some stairs into the basement.  Formica tables.  Tin plates.  Very plain, very functional and always very busy for a very good reason:  The food is excellent.  We vowed to repeat the trip.

In there, on the next visit, I had my first keema curry.  Rather than lumps of meat, keema dishes are made from mince.  Whenever I get the chance, I go back there for a keema madras, usually tying it in with a visit to what was then the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television and is now a branch of the Science Museum.  Well worth a visit if you get the chance.  2 Daleks, Morph, the Wombles and much, much more.

Anyway.  Fast forward a few years and I’m on a cookery course.  What do we want to cook next week?  I suggest a keema dish, the teacher agrees. I’ve got to say, it’s a dish that starts out very unpromising in looks and then pulls it all out of the bag near the end.  Here you go.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb lean lamb mince (best if you can make it yourself by taking a good slab of shoulder and trimming away as much of the fat as possible).
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (or paprika if you’re dialling down the heat)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic & ginger paste (equal quantities of garlic and ginger, blitz together in a food processor and add a little vegetable oil.  Keeps for ages so make it up in big batches. You’ll be amazed at how useful it is)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 4 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Large bunch fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. In a large pan, put the mince, onions, salt, red chilli powder (or paprika), turmeric, cinnamon stick, black cardamom and a large glass of water.
  2. Bring to the boil.  Break up the mince with a wooden spoon to make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Put on the lid, simmer for half an hour.  Stir after 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid, allow the water to evaporate completely.
  5. Add the tomatoes and a half-ladle of vegetable oil.  Start to fry the mince, adding the chillies (if you’re  using them) and the garlic & ginger paste (for some reason my hands want to type “garlic & finger paste”.  Don’t use that.  That would be wrong).  Fry for 15-20 minutes.  Add a little water if it all starts to stick.
  6. Add the potatoes and keep frying gently for 10 minutes.
  7. Put on the lid, reduce heat to minimum and allow the potatoes to cook.  Usually another 10-20 minutes.
  8. Just before serving, sprinkle over the garam masala and the coriander, stir and remove from the heat.  Serve at once with fresh naans or chapatti.
Until you start the frying at step 5, this dish is plain ugly.  One thing I was told on the course I did:  If you’re cooking a meat curry, you want the onion to be invisible.  If you’re cooking a vegetable curry, cut it generous as you want to see it as an ingredient.  So, the finer you chop the onion, the better – I was given a couple of Kyocera ceramic knives for my birthday this year – I now know what finely chopped looks like.  I also know that if the knife is sharp enough you don’t know you’ve cut yourself until the blood is already staining the chopping board.  These knives show no mercy.  They are truly amazing things.
Now.  Head over to the Recipe Shed and see what amazing things others are doing with mince this week.  And if you know of any other good keema recipes, please send them my way.
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Cook-Along Friday Recipe Shed

#RecipeShed – Lemon Chicken & Pasta

The Recipe Shed challenge for the week was Chicken.  There’s nothing finer than taking a fresh roast chicken out of the shopping bag and simply devouring it.  Bread and butter optional.  However, if you can wait a little while, this takes that cooked chicken and turns it into something the whole family enjoys.  And it does it quickly.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, 1.  Pre-roasted.  You can either roast it yourself (Beerroaster optional) or get it from the supermarket.  I love the convenience of grabbing a roast chicken while shopping.  1 chicken does for at least 8 people as long as it’s a decent size.
  • Lemon.  1 or 2 depending on how lemony you want the end dish.
  • Pasta.  Enough to serve however many people you want to feed.  We usually use twirls but shells, twists, whatever shape you fancy.
  • Wholegrain mustard
  • Chicken stock (cubes, jelly things, whatever).  1 pint for 6 people.
  • Double cream, small pot.  You can use single cream, you just add it later in the dish.
  • Plain flour, a few tablespoons
  • Oil

Right.  In true 30 minute meal style, get your preparations done first:

  • Boil a kettle – you’re going to need water for the pasta and for the chicken stock.
  • Make 1 pint of chicken stock
  • Remove all the meat from the bones of the chicken and tear it into bite-sized pieces.  Eat the skin and make sure to do some quality control on the chicken meat.
Preparations done (that was tricky).
  1. Get the pan for the pasta on and up to heat, add the pasta.  Everything else will be done in the 11 minutes it takes to cook the pasta.
  2. Juice and zest the lemons into the chicken stock, add a generous tablespoon of the grain mustard.
  3. In a second, fairly large, pan, heat the oil and add the flour, stirring until it’s all combined.
  4. Add the stock mix to the oil & flour, stirring constantly.  Keep adding until you’ve got all the stock in and the sauce is thickening.  If it gets too thick, add more stock.  If it’s too runny, add more flour.  You’re aiming for something the consistency of yoghurt.
  5. Cook this for a minute or two, then add the chicken meat and (if you’re using double cream) the cream.  Stir until it’s all warmed through.
  6. Turn down the heat and wait for the pasta to cook.
  7. Once the pasta is finished, drain it.  If you’re using single cream, add this to the chicken mix and stir it through.
  8. Add the drained pasta to the pan of chicken mix and stir everything.  If your chicken pan isn’t big enough, empty the pasta into a large serving bowl and put the chicken on top of that.
  9. Serve – bowls, forks, spoons.
20 minutes max from start to finish, shorter if you’ve done the chicken the day before and you’ve got a jug of stock from the last pressure-cooked bird in the fridge.
There’s more chicken goodness over at the Recipe Shed, so head there and enjoy!
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Cook-Along Friday Recipe Shed

#RecipeShed – Slovakian Goose and/or duck

Our family was lucky enough to have a wonderful Slovakian au pair for a couple of years.  When we visited her family out in Slovakia, they prepared a wonderful roast goose and duck dish.  Now, whilst this isn’t as simple as Keith’s roast duck, it is not complicated…

Ingredients

  • Goose or duck – cut into portions skin on.  Split breasts into 2 pieces.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Cabbage
  • Fresh bread

Directions

  1. Salt all the portions generously and leave for a minimum of 12 hours.  This draws out a lot of the water within the meat.
  2. Wash thoroughly
  3. Oven to 150°C
  4. Place the portions into a baking tray/roasting tin, skin side up
  5. Sprinkle of salt, generous grate of pepper, tear the rosemary over the pieces
  6. Cover with foil (or use a roasting tin with a lid)
  7. Bake for 1 1/2 hours
  8. After 1 1/2 hours, remove the foil and jack the heat up to 250°C
  9. Shred the cabbage and cook in whatever way you most like – we steam ours over a pan of boiling water then add a generous knob of butter
  10. Cut the bread into thick slices
  11. By this time the skin should be nice and crispy so it’s time to serve
  12. Collect the fat that’s come from the bird portions into a serving jug – not only does this taste excellent when drizzled over the fresh bread but it’s a good start to making lovely gravy and (if you separate off the white layer at the top, using it to fry bacon and eggs in) it’s a fine dripping to go on toast.
  13. Enjoy.  Pleasantries like knives and forks are strictly optional, especially if you pick a leg/wing piece!
If you happen to be able to lay your hands on a bottle of Becherovka, so much the better.
Now, head over to the Recipe Shed for more inspiration.
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