5 Warm Winter Dishes

Well now that the dark nights are here and it’s getting colder, why not try some soul satisfying casseroles to warm the cockles of your heart.

There is nothing better than coming home to the aroma of a home cooked casserole on a cold winters day. Here are some fabulous beef,lamb,chicken and pork recipes or pork chop recipes for you to try for yourself.

Stoved Chicken Serves 4

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1kg/approx 2lb baking potatoes, cut into 5mm slices

butter, for greasing

2 large onions,thinly sliced

15ml/1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

25g/1oz butter

15ml/1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 large bacon rashers, chopped

4 large chicken portions, halved

600ml/1 pint chicken stock

1 bay leaf

salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 150#C/300#F/Gas Mark 2.

Arrange a thick layer of half the potato slices in a large lightly greased, earthenware baking dish, then cover with half the onions. Sprinkle with half of the thyme, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat butter and oil in a large  heavy frying pan, add the chopped bacon and chicken pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides.Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and bacon to the earthenware dish. Reserve the fat in the frying pan.

Sprinkle the remaining thyme over the chicken, season with salt and pepper, then cover with the remaining onion slices, followed by a neat, overlapping layer of the remaining potato slices.

Season the top with more salt and pepper.

Pour the chicken stock into the casserole, add the bay leaf and brush the potatoes with the reserved fat from the frying pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked and tender.

Preheat the grill to medium hot, then remove the foil from the earthenware dish and place it under the grill. Cook until the slices of potato are beginning to turn golden brown and crisp.

Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Serve this dish with steamed vegetables like green beans and carrots.

Instead of chicken portions, use 8 chicken thighs or chicken drumstick……….or if you have small kids or don’t like chicken bones much, use 4 chicken breasts halved and of course if you can afford it try to use organic chicken or at least free range chicken as these tend to be better tasting, are better for the environment and for the chickens of course.

lamb-Stew_lg

Braised Lamb with Apricots and Herb Dumplings (Serves 6)

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30ml/2 tbsp sunflower oil

675g/1 and a half lb lean lamb fillet, cut into 2.5cm/1 inch cubes

350g/12oz baby onions, peeled

1 garlic clove, crushed

225g/3oz button mushrooms

175g/6oz ready to eat dried apricots

250ml/8fl oz lamb or beef stock

250ml/8fl oz red wine

15ml/1 tbsp tomato puree

salt and ground black pepper

fresh herb sprigs , to garnish

For the Herb Dumplings

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115g/4oz self-raising flour

50g/2oz shredded vegetable suet

15-30ml/1-2 tbsp chopped fresh mixed herbs

Preheat the oven to 160#C/325#F/Gas Mark 3. Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole dish, add the lamb and cook over a high heat until browned all over, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lamb from the casserole dish using a slotted spoon, then set aside and keep warm.

Reduce the heat slightly, then add the baby onions, crushed garlic and whole mushrooms, cook them gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Return the meat to the casserole dish, then add the apricots, stock, wine and tomato puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir.

Bring to the boil, stirring, then remove from heat and cover.Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 1 and a half to 2 hours until the lamb is cooked and tender, stirring once or twice during the cooking time and adding a little extra stock, if needed.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Place the flour, suet, herbs and seasoning in a bowl and stir to mix. Add enough cold water to make a soft, elastic dough. Divide the dough into small, marble-size pieces and, using lightly floured hands, roll each piece into a small ball.

Remove the lid from the casserole and place the dumplings on top of the braised lamb and vegetables.

Increase the oven temperature to 190#C/375#F/Gas Mark 5. Return the casserole to the oven and cook for a further 20-25 minutes until the herb dumplings are cooked. Serve garnished with the fresh herb sprigs.

Serve this dish with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Other meats that you could use if you didn’t like lamb that much would be beef, chicken or even pork.

Somerset Pork Casserole

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500g/approx 1lb lean belly pork (no bones or rind)

15ml/1 tbsp oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 celery sticks, sliced

600ml/1 pint of chicken stock

300ml/half a pint of medium-dry apple juice

15ml/1 tbsp clear honey

pinch of ground cloves

15ml/1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, sliced

2 leeks sliced

2 x 400g/14oz can haricot beans, drained

salt and ground black pepper

chopped parsley, to garnish

Cut the pork into 2.5cm/1 inch cubes. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan.

Add the pork to the pan and cook on a medium to high heat, turning each piece so they are golden brown all over.

Add the onion and celery  and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the stock, apple juice, honey, cloves, thyme and sage. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the carrots and the leeks.Stir in the beans and add a little seasoning. Bring just to the boil and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, or until the pork is very tender.

Adjust the seasoning to taste and sprinkle some chopped parsley over the casserole before serving.

Serve this dish as it is or with mashed potato for the  more filling version…i also like to add some sliced apple to this dish as my little girl loves it a bit sweeter. Or pears could be good too.

You could also use different vegetables or beans or even leave out the beans totally if you want.

pie-on-plate-with-beans

Slow-Baked Beef with a Potato Crust

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675g/1 and a half lb stewing beef, diced

300ml/ half a pint red wine

3 juniper berries, crushed

pared strip of orange peel

30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, cut into chunks

2 carrots, cut into chunks

1 garlic clove, crushed

225g/8oz button mushrooms

150ml/ quarter of a pint of beef stock

30ml/2 tbsp cornflour

salt and ground black pepper

For the Crust

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450g/1 lb potatoes, grated

15ml/1 tbsp olive oil

30ml/2 tbsp creamed horseradish

50g/2oz grated mature cheddar cheese

salt and ground black pepper

Place the beef in a non-metallic bowl. Add the wine, juniper berries and orange peel and season with pepper. mix the ingredients together, then cover and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.

Preheat the oven to 160#C/325#F/Gas Mark 3. Drain the beef, reserving the marinade.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the meat in batches for 5 minutes to brown and seal. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, red wine marinade  and beef stock.

Mix the cornflour with water to make a smooth paste and stir into the beef mixture. Season, cover and cook in the oven for 1 and a half hours.

Prepare the crust about 45 minutes before the end of the cooking time for the beef. Start by blanching the grated potatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well and then squeeze out all of the extra liquid.

Stir in the olive oil, horseradish, grated cheese and seasoning, then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the surface of the beef, increase the oven temperature to 200#C/400#F/Gas Mark 6 and cook for a further 30 minutes until the potato crust is crisp and lightly browned.

Serve with steamed or roasted seasonal vegetables.

This sounds so nice, I might have to make it for my hubby as he loves beef casseroles, this would be lovely on a cold night when he gets home from work…cuddled up on the sofa, watching the tv, with the fire blazing away.

hotpot

Pork and Potato Hot-Pot  (slow cooker recipe) Serves 4

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25g/1oz butter

15ml/1 tbsp oil

1 large onion, very thinly sliced

225g/8oz button mushrooms, sliced

quarter of a teaspoon dried mixed herbs

900g/2 lb potatoes, thinly sliced

4 thick pork chops

750ml/1 and a quarter pints of vegetable or chicken stock

salt and ground black pepper

Use the butter to grease the base and halfway up the sides of a ceramic cooking pot.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the sliced onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until softened and translucent.

Add the garlic and mushrooms to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes until softened.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mixed herbs.

Spoon half of the mushroom mixture into the base of the ceramic cooking pot, then arrange half the potato slices on top and season with salt and pepper.

Using a sharp knife, trim as much of the fat off as possible from the pork chops, then place them on top of the sliced potatoes in a single layer.Pour about half of the stock over the top to cover the potatoes and prevent them from discolouring.

Repeat  the layers of the mushroom mixture and potatoes, finish with a layer of neatly overlapping potatoes. Pour over the remaining stock; it should just cover the potatoes, so use more or less if necessary. Dot the remaining butter on top of the potatoes and cover with the lid.

Cook the stew on high for 4-5 hours or until the potatoes and meat are tender when pierced  with a thin skewer. if you like, place the hot-pot under a medium grill for 5-10 minutes to brown before serving.

Serve this dish with lighty cooked green vegetables.

This dish can also be cooked in a normal oven, but please cook on a low heat maybe 160#C probably for about 1 and a half to 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

This looks and sounds so good…..the meat will be so tender and the potatoes will soak up all the the flavours and juices. Perfect for a family meal or a laid back dinner with good friends.

Join Demon Chick  next month for more pork recipes and pork chop recipes for the new year and beyond.

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