Recipes Using White Pepper Corn

Sweet potato gumbo
with cornbread muffins

INGREDIENTS

For the cornbread muffins

  • 225g/8oz polenta
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch bicarbonate of soda
  • 115g/4oz plain flour
  • 125ml/4½fl oz milk
  • 2 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 300g/10½oz canned creamed corn
  • 2 birds’-eye chillies, finely chopped

For the sweet potato gumbo

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp white pepper corn crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150ml/5½fl oz vegetable stock
  • 440g/1lb canned chopped tomatoes
  • 24 ladies’ fingers (okra)
  • 400g/14oz sweet potato, peeled, cut into cubes
  • 100g/3½oz cabbage, very finely shredded
  • 100g/3½oz butter, to serve

METHOD

  1. For the cornbread muffins, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the polenta, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and flour until well combined.
  3. Add the milk, beaten eggs and creamed corn and mix until well combined. Add the chillies and stir to combine.
  4. Spoon the cornbread batter mixture into the wells of a 12-hole muffin tin. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until risen and cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, for the sweet potato gumbo, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery, chillies and garlic and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until softened.
  6. Mix together the salt, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, white pepper and bay leaf until well combined. Add to the pan and stir well to coat the vegetables. Continue to fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until the spices are fragrant.
  7. Add the beef or vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, and okra and bring the mixture to the boil.
  8. Add the sweet potato cubes and shredded cabbage and continue to cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the sweet potato is tender.
  9. To serve, spoon the gumbo into the centre of each of six serving plates. Butter the cornbread muffins and place one or two alongside each serving.

Spicy Mexican eggs
(huevos rancheros)

INGREDIENTS

For the salsa

  • 3 kale leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 courgette, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 150ml/5fl oz tomato passata
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • knob of butter
  • 8 free-range eggs
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper

To serve

  • handful fresh coriander leaves
  • 2 soft flour or corn tortillas, warmed in the oven
  • hot chilli sauce

METHOD

  1. To make the salsa, put the kale, onion, peppers, chilli, courgette, garlic and passata into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium lidded frying pan over a medium heat and add a quarter of the salsa. Stir to warm through, then make a hole in the middle of the salsa. Place the butter in the clear area in the middle of the pan, then break 2 eggs into this space.
  3. Put the lid on the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes. The dish is ready when the eggs are cooked into the salsa and the whites are firm. Slide the eggs and salsa onto a large plate and keep warm as you repeat this process three more times.
  4. To serve, sprinkle each dish with coriander leaves and serve the warm tortillas and chilli sauce alongside

Potato salad
with lovage

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 free-range egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 100ml/3½fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml/3½fl oz sunflower oil
  • 7-8 cornichons, finely chopped
  • pinch freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 anchovies in oil, drained and chopped
  • small handful fresh dill, chopped
  • small handful fresh tarragon, chopped
  • small handful fresh lovage, chopped
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • 500g/1lb 2oz Pink Fir Apple potatoes, boiled until tender and cut into small chunks
  • salt

METHOD

  1. Put the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and white wine vinegar into a blender and blend to combine.
  2. Combine the oils in a jug and carefully add to the blender in a thin trickle, blending continuously until the mixture has emulsified into mayonnaise.
  3. Pour the mixture out into a bowl and add the chopped cornichons, black pepper, capers, garlic, anchovy fillets, dill, tarragon, lovage, onion and potatoes.
  4. Mix all together and add salt to taste.

Chicken and cashew nut
stir-fry

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken

  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • pinch sea salt
  • 500g/1lb 2oz skinless chicken breast fillets, sliced
  • 300ml/10fl oz groundnut oil

For the stir fry

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
  • 3 tbsp chicken stock
  • 2-3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 large spring onions, sliced
  • 4 tbsp roasted cashew nuts
  • sea salt and ground white pepper
  • steamed jasmine rice, to serve

METHOD

  1. For the chicken, place the egg into a bowl, add the cornflour and a pinch of salt and whisk well to combine. Add the chicken to the mixture and coat well in the egg.
  2. Heat a wok until smoking and add the groundnut oil. Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
  3. For the stir fry, pour off all the oil from the wok, except for one tablespoon. Reheat the oil over a high heat, add the onion and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the yellow and red pepper slices and stir fry for one minute, or until softened. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the stock and soy sauce. Simmer for another minute, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Stir in the spring onions and cashew nuts, season, to taste, with sea salt and ground white pepper and transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Korean lamb shanks
with swede and potato mash

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 4 tbsp Gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4cm/1.5in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1½ tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

For the lamb shanks

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 400ml/14fl oz chicken stock
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced, to serve
  • 50g/1¾oz toasted sesame seeds, to serve

For the swede and potato mash

  • 3 potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 small swede, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • splash milk

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Put all the sauce ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
  2. To make the lamb shanks, heat the oil in a large heavy-based casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid over a medium heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown all over.
  3. Pour the sauce over the lamb and add the stock. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan tightly with foil and place the lid on top. Transfer to the oven and cook for 2½–3 hours, turning the shanks once or twice, until tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
  4. Meanwhile, put the potatoes and swede in a large saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 15–20 minutes, or until tender, then drain and mash with the butter and milk. Season well.
  5. To serve, dollop some mash onto a large plate, sit a lamb shank on top and spoon over some of the sauce. Scatter over the spring onions and sesame seeds and serve.

Mutton chops with potato
and turnip gratin

INGREDIENTS

For the mutton

  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 4 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 150g/5oz Japanese panko breadcrumbs, crushed
  • 12 mutton chops, French-trimmed (ask your butcher to do this for you, and keep the mutton trimmings)
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • knob of unsalted butter
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • sea salt flakes, to taste
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 pointed cabbage (such as hispi cabbage), root removed, leaves thinly sliced

For the potato and turnip gratin

  • 600ml/20 fl oz double cream
  • 600g/1lb 5oz floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper, peeled, sliced into 2mm-thick slices using a mandoline
  • 600g/1lb 5oz large turnips, sliced into 2mm-thick slices using a mandoline
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated

For the sauce gribiche

  • 1 duck egg, hard-boiled and grated
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 100ml/3½fl oz olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped cornichons
  • 2 tbsp fine capers
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper

METHOD

  1. For the mutton, sprinkle the flour onto a plate. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs onto a separate plate.
  2. Dust each mutton chop first in the flour, then dip it in the egg, then roll it in the breadcrumbs until completely coated. Set aside, covered, until needed.
  3. For the potato and turnip gratin, bring the cream to the boil in a saucepan and season, to taste with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  4. Arrange alternate layers of the potato slices and turnip slices into a large ovenproof dish, sprinkling each layer with a little of the grated garlic. Make sure you slightly overlap the slices of potato and turnip in each layer.
  5. Pour over the warm cream, then transfer the dish to the oven and cook for 18-20 minutes.
  6. Remove the dish from the oven and press the potato and turnip layers down using a fish slice. Return the dish to the oven and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Repeat this process until the vegetables are tender, the cream has thickened and the top is golden-brown. Remove the dish from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  8. Meanwhile, for the sauce gribiche, in a bowl, mix together the grated duck egg, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar, English mustard powder and smoked paprika until well combined.
  9. Gradually add the olive oil in a thin stream, stirring it into the mixture until the mixture emulsifies to a paste. Stir in the cornichons, capers and parsley and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  10. To cook the chops, heat the vegetable oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the breaded mutton chops, in batches if necessary, and shallow fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown on both sides. Halfway through cooking, add a knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice to the pan and baste the chops with the mixture.
  11. When the mutton chops are cooked to your liking, remove them from the pan and set aside to drain on an ovenproof plate lined with kitchen paper. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and keep warm in an oven set to its lowest setting.
  12. Chop the mutton trimmings into tiny pieces, then heat a lidded saucepan over a medium heat, add the chopped mutton trimmings and dry-fry until the fat has melted and the mutton trimmings are crisp and browned.
  13. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, then cover the pan with the lid and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions have softened.
  14. Add the sliced cabbage, cover again with the lid and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the cabbage is wilted and tender.
  15. To serve, place two breaded mutton chops onto each serving plate with some cabbage. Spoon over a little of the sauce gribiche. Serve the potato and turnip gratin alongside.

Quick fish
gratin

INGREDIENTS

  • 20g/¾oz cornflour
  • 300ml/10fl oz semi-skimmed milk
  • 300g/10½oz mixed fish, including smoked haddock, cod and salmon, thawed if frozen
  • 50g/1¾oz baby spinach leaves
  • ½ small lemon, finely grated zest only (optional)
  • 1 thin slice white or brown bread
  • 15g/½oz Parmesan, finely grated
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 100g/3½oz frozen peas, to serve

METHOD

  1. Place the cornflour into a small bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of the milk until it forms a smooth paste.
  2. Pour the remaining milk into a non-stick saucepan. Add the fish, spinach and lemon zest, if using, to the pan and season with a little salt and pepper. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the fish is beginning to flake, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the cornflour mixture and cook for 1 minute, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir constantly, taking care not to break up the fish pieces too much. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Spoon into a warmed, shallow flameproof dish or two individual pie dishes.
  4. Preheat the grill to high. Tear the bread into small pieces and toss in a small bowl with the Parmesan. Scatter over the fish.
  5. Place the dish or dishes onto a baking tray and place under the hot grill for about 2 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and lightly browned – watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.
  6. Place the peas into a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 2–3 minutes, or according to packet instructions. Drain well and serve immediately with the pie.

Beef and blue cheese
puff pastry pizza

INGREDIENTS

For the base

  • 500g/1lb 2oz all-butter puff pastry
  • plain white flour, for dusting
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp double cream, for the glaze
  • 2 tsp beef extract
  • 3 tbsp onion marmalade

For the sour onions

  • 100ml/3½fl oz cider
  • 100ml/3½fl oz cider vinegar
  • 50g/1¾oz demerara sugar
  • 3 small red onions, peeled and cut into six wedges with the root intact

For the crème fraîche dressing

  • 75g/2¾oz full-fat crème fraîche
  • 75g/2¾oz soft blue cheese, such as Dolcelatte
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the beef

  • 200g/7oz bavette steak, thinly sliced
  • 50g/1¾oz cornflour
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil, for cooking
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • watercress, to garnish

METHOD

  1. For the base, roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured work surface into a 28cm/11in circle about 5mm thick. Transfer the pastry to a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least one hour.
  2. For the sour onions, place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the cider, cider vinegar and demerara sugar. Bring the pan to the boil and place the onion segments in the liquid. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes until they start to soften. Turn the onions over and cook for a further five minutes.
  3. When soft, remove the pan from the heat, put the onions on a baking tray. Use a blowtorch to char them (alternatively char them under a hot grill). Leave to cool.
  4. For the base, preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
  5. Prick the puff pastry all over using a fork. In a small bowl or mug, mix the egg yolk and double cream together and brush it on top of the pastry. Place the pastry in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until risen, crisp and golden-brown. Turn the oven down to 110C/225F/Gas ¼ and continue to ‘dry’ the pastry out for a further 15 minutes. Do not let it burn.
  6. Once the pastry is crisp and dried out, remove it from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  7. For the beef, toss the bavette steak strips in the cornflour and shake off any excess.
  8. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the beef strips in batches (do not crowd the pan) and fry until crisp, this will take about 6-8 minutes. Once crisp, drain on kitchen paper and season with salt and cayenne pepper while the beef is still warm.
  9. Brush the pastry with the beef extract, spread a layer of onion marmalade on top and add the beef. Warm through in the oven for a few minutes.
  10. For the crème fraîche dressing, whisk the crème fraîche and blue cheese in a bowl until thick. Fold in the chopped chives and season with salt and pepper. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water to loosen it up so it can be drizzled on top of the pizza.
  11. Take the pizza out of the oven, spoon some of the blue cheese and crème fraîche dressing on top and garnish with watercress. Serve immediately.

Honey mustard chicken
with sweet potato mash

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken

  • 1 large chicken (about 1.8kg/4lb)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • flaked sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 squidges clear honey (to taste)
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked and roughly chopped, plus extra sprigs to garnish

For the sweet potato and mint mash

  • 1kg/2lb 4oz sweet potatoes (or potatoes), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • ½ bunch mint, leaves picked and roughly torn

For the gravy

  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ glass white wine (about 75-100ml/2½-3½fl oz)
  • 500ml/18fl oz good liquid chicken stock

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 240C/450F/Gas 8 (220C fan).
  2. Place the chicken breast-side down on a chopping board and using a good pair of scissors cut along each side of the backbone to remove it, cutting through the ribs as you go. Then turn it over and flatten the breast down with the heel of your hand. There will be a small crack which means the bird will then be nice and flat. Then put the bird, breast-side up in a roasting tin.
  3. Use the tip of a small sharp knife to put enough slits all over the breast and legs as there are garlic slices and then push the garlic slices into them. Drizzle with the oil, season well with salt and pepper and then pop into the oven for 30 minutes to get some colour on the skin.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the mustard, honey, chilli powder and thyme leaves together in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. After 30 minutes of cooking, pull the bird out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6 (180C fan). To help cool the oven down quickly, you can open the oven door and once the thermostat’s red light comes back on shut it. Meanwhile, smear the chicken with the mustard mixture using the back of a spoon. Once the temperature is correct, pop the chicken back into the oven for a further 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, for the sweet potato and mint mash, boil the sweet potatoes for about eight minutes or so (depending on the size of the chunks), or until the potatoes are just tender but not too soft. A couple of minutes before they are ready, melt the butter in a small frying pan on a medium heat and cook the spring onions for two minutes, stirring until softened. Drain the cooked potatoes well and then mash well with a masher. Stir in the spring onions and butter and season well with salt and pepper. Pop a lid on to keep it warm.
  7. To check that the chicken is cooked, insert a sharp knife into the thickest part of the leg, then press the knife down a bit. If the juices run clear, and are not pink, then the chicken is cooked. Once cooked, lift the chicken out of the tray and place on a warmed platter or board and cover with aluminium foil to keep warm.
  8. For the gravy, holding the roasting tin with an oven cloth, tip it up until all the fat and juices run to one corner. Spoon off as much fat as possible and discard. You should be left with around three tablespoons of juices in the bottom of the tin. Pop it on the hob over a low heat and stir in the flour until well blended. Add the wine and stock a little at a time, stirring all the time so that it does not go lumpy. Once all the liquid is added, bring the mixture to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened, stirring regularly. Pour through a fine sieve into a warmed jug and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Carve the chicken, arrange the slices on a large serving platter and garnish with fresh thyme sprigs. Spoon the sweet potato mash into a serving bowl and scatter the mint over. Serve at once with the hot gravy.

RECIPE TIPS

Don’t be alarmed! If you are a little bit squeamish about opening up a chicken this way then get your butcher to do it for you, who I am sure will happily oblige. However it is great practice to be able to do it yourself.

Corned beef
hash

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 567g can new potatoes, drained
  • 130g can corned beef
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • splash Worcestershire sauce
  • freshly ground white pepper

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan or wide-based saucepan and gently fry the onion for 3–4 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Add the potatoes and use a potato masher to roughly crush them. Fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened and the potatoes are hot and browned in places, stirring regularly.
  3. Add the corned beef and break up roughly with a spoon. Cook for 3–4 minutes, or until hot, stirring occasionally.
    Make two holes in the corned beef and potato mixture and break an egg into each one. Fry for 2–3 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks remain runny.
  4. Serve heaps of the corned beef hash on warmed plates, topped with the fried eggs. Shake Worcestershire sauce over and season with pepper.

Steak and ale
pie

INGREDIENTS

For the rough puff pastry ( or purchase ready made)

  • 225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 250g/9oz unsalted butter, cold but not rock hard (or you can use half butter, half lard)
  • 150ml/¼ pint ice-cold water
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze

For the filling

  • 1 kg/2lb 4oz braising steak, cut into matchbox-sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 300ml/½ pint brown ale
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 250g/9oz carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 300ml/½ pint good-quality beef stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 500g/1lb 2oz chestnut or white mushrooms, halved or cut into quarters if large
  • knob of butter
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper

METHOD

  1. For the pastry, sift the flour and the salt into a large mixing bowl, then put into the fridge for a few minutes to chill. (Keeping the flour and bowl cold will help you to get a better result later and create nice separate layers or pastry.)
  2. Meanwhile, cut the butter into small cubes. Using a round-bladed knife, stir it into the bowl until each piece is well coated with flour. Pour in the water, then, working quickly, use the knife to bring everything together to a rough dough.
  3. Gather the dough in the bowl using one hand, then turn it onto a work surface. Squash the dough into a fat, flat sausage, without kneading. Wrap in cling film then chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  4. Lightly flour the work surface and the pastry. Roll out the pastry in one direction until it’s about 1cm thick and three times as long as it is wide, or about 45x15cm/18x6in. Straighten up the sides using your hands now and again, and try to keep the top and bottom edges as square as possible.
  5. Fold the bottom third of the pastry up, then the top third down, to make a block about 15x15cm/6x6in. It doesn’t matter if the pastry isn’t exactly the right size, the important thing is that the corners are square.
  6. Turn the dough so that its open edge is facing to the right, like a book. Press the edges of the pastry together using the rolling pin.
  7. Roll out and fold the pastry again, repeating this four times in all to make a smooth dough, with buttery streaks here and there. If the pastry feels greasy at any point, or starts to spring back when as you roll, then cover and chill it for 10 minutes before continuing. Chill the finished pastry for an hour, or ideally overnight, before using.
  8. For the filling, mix the beef with the flour and some salt and pepper. An easy way to do this without making too much mess is to put everything into a large food bag, seal, then shake well.
  9. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large heatproof casserole up to a medium heat, then add half the beef, shaking off the excess flour and keeping the chunks well spaced so they fry rather than sweat. Brown for about 10 minutes, until golden-brown all over.
  10. Transfer the first batch of meat to a bowl, then add a splash of brown ale or water to the pan and scrape up any meaty bits. Tip the liquid into the bowl of meat. Wipe out the pan, then add a tablespoon of oil and brown the second batch of beef. When the beef is golden-brown transfer it to the bowl and set aside.
  11. Add the final spoon of oil to the pan and heat gently. Add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery and herbs to the pan and fry for a few minutes, until softened.
  12. Put the beef back into the pan. Pour in the stock and brown ale, then add the tomato purée and balsamic vinegar. If necessary, add a little more stock or hot water to ensure the meat is covered in liquid (this will prevent the beef from drying out). Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer the stew for 1–1½ hours until the beef is almost tender and the sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool, overnight if possible.
  13. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, then add the mushrooms. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then fry over a high heat for 5 minutes, or until golden-brown. Mix with the cooled pie filling and add to the pie dish.
  14. To make the pie, preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6. Flour the work surface, then roll out the pastry to the thickness of two £1 coins and wide enough to cover a family-size pie dish with some excess. Brush the edge of the pie dish with a little water or beaten egg.
  15. Use a sharp knife to cut the pastry to fit the top of the dish – if it’s too big it doesn’t matter. Lift on top of the pie, laying the pastry over a rolling pin to lift it. Press down gently to seal.
  16. Holding the knife blade horizontally, make a patterned edge by pressing down gently all around the edge of the pastry (this will help the layers in the pastry to puff up).
  17. Cut a couple of slits in the top of the pie to release steam. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg – taking care to avoid getting egg on the edges of the pastry as it will stick the layers together. Chill for 10 minutes, or until the pastry is firm. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden-brown and puffed all over.

RECIPE TIPS

This recipe makes 500g/1lb 2oz puff pastry, but you could easily buy ready-made puff pastry instead.
The uncooked pastry can be frozen for up to one month before using.
Pie fillings need to be cold before putting the pastry on top otherwise it can get steamy and make the pastry melt or go soggy.
If you just want to serve beef in ale without the pie lid, cook the meat for another 30 minutes or until meltingly tender, then finish with the mushrooms (because meat in a pie would get another 30 minutes cooking).

Chicken in a creamy
white wine sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 30g/1oz butter
  • 30g/1oz flour
  • 150ml/¼ pint white wine
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • 2-3 tbsp double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • mashed potato, to serve

METHOD

  1. Place chicken breasts into a large pan. Add the vegetables, bay leaf and peppercorns and cover with water.
  2. Place the pan over a low heat and slowly bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.
  3. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, place onto a plate and keep warm.
  4. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl, reserving 450ml/¾ pint.
  5. Melt the butter in a clean pan over a medium heat. Add the flour and stir well to make a roux. Slowly add the reserved chicken stock to the roux, stirring constantly, to make a thick sauce.
  6. Add the white wine and bring to the boil.
  7. Place the egg yolk and the cream into a clean bowl and lightly whisk together. Gradually add the egg mixture to the sauce, stirring well.
  8. Add the chicken breasts to the sauce. Remove from the heat, season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
  9. To serve, spoon the mashed potato on serving plates, top with a chicken breast, pour over some sauce and garnish with chopped parsley.

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