Monday, October 27, 2008

Kitchen Chat

Browsing through an old cook book came across a recipe for faggots. This is made with pig's liver and belly pork, but it says bacon could be used instead, and might have a go at making some of these using a few pigeon breasts (as they turned out to be very similar to liver in texture). Faggots were traditionally wrapped in 'caul' a sort of fatty mesh from the innards of the animal, but this recipe does not require that, and as they can be frozen, worth making.
Faggots: serves 4 (F)
1 lb (450) pig's liver
1 onion, diced
4 oz (100g) belly pork or streaky bacon
salt and pepper
pinch dried sage
pinch dried thyme
1 egg, beaten
8 oz (225g) fresh white breadcrumbs
Wipe the liver and remove any tubes. Mince the liver and bacon together and season to taste, adding the dried herbs and egg. Stir in sufficient breadcrumbs to make a stiff mixture. Using floured hands, shape into 10 or 12 balls, and place in a greased roasting tin and bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for about half an hour or until browned. Serve with gravy.
To freeze: after cooking, cool and pack into a rigid container. Seal and freeze. Use within 2 months. Thaw in fridge overnight to serve cold, or reheat from frozen by placing in a tin and cooking at above temperature for about 40 minutes to allow the faggots to re-heat through completely.

We are familiar with savoury pies that have a mashed potato topping, and pies that have a pastry topping, but for a change top make a Cottage, Shepherd's or Fish Pie with a savoury crumble instead. The crumble could be made in bulk and kept in the fridge/freezer in the same way we keep our home-made pastry, scone and crumble mixes. Just remember to label correctly - they all look much the same.
Savoury Crumble Topping: covers a dish to serve 4 (F)
4 oz (100g) flour
2 oz (50g) butter or margarine
1 oz (25g) grated cheese
salt and pepper
(pinch of dried herbs can be added when using if you wish)
Rub the fat into the flour, then stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Here is a recipe that uses cold turkey and a useful one for Boxing Day as it uses up leftovers (planned leftovers remember). But it should work with any poultry, so if you have cooked chicken meat left on the carcase this coming weekend, then this dish could be tried out before the festive season. When entertaining family and guests it is always useful to have a trial run with any recipe not attempted before.
For ease a teacup is used for measuring most of the ingredients, but a mug could be used instead.
Turkey Loaf: feeds 6
2 teacups minced roast turkey
half teacup cooked carrot
1 teacup cooked peas
1 teacup fresh breadcrumbs
1 teacup hot milk
2 egg yolks
half tsp salt
1 tsp grated onion
dash lemon juice
1 teacup condensed mushroom soup
Put the turkey and vegetables through a mincer (or blitz in a food processor), then mix in the crumbs, milk, egg yolks, salt, onion and lemon juice. Pack into a greased loaf tin 8" x 5" (20 x 13cm) and bake for about 40 minutes at 180C, 350F, gas 4. Heat the mushroom soup, then unmould the turkey loaf onto a flat plate and pour over the soup (to act as a coating). Serve with mashed potatoes and green vegetables.