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Comfort Food

Autumn is the perfect time for sharing cosy comfort food with family. Adding a twist to traditional, these recipes will spice up the season.

Chicken Shawarma With A Lebanese Watercress Salad

Serves 12 | Prep time 1 hour 30 mins | Cook time 25 mins

Ingredients

Chicken Shawarma:

1.5kg Boneless, skinless Chicken
Thighs cut into thin strips
2 Onions, finely sliced
5 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Cumin, ground
1tsp Coriander, ground
1 tsp Cardamom, ground
1 tbsp Mild Curry Powder
1 tsp Baharat
½ tsp Sumac
2 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Chicken Stock Powder

Lebanese Watercress Salad:

4 Baby Cucumbers, shaved into
strips with a vegetable peeler
3 Tomatoes, cut into small dice
1 Red Onion, finely diced
50g Watercress, chopped
20g Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper to season

Garlic & Watercress Flatbreads:

250g Plain Flour
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Honey
170ml Milk
1 tsp Garlic, minced
2 tbsp Watercress, finely chopped
Yogurt & Lemon Wedges to serve

Method

For the Shawarma, mix everything apart from the onions and oil in a large non-reactive bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chicken and onions in batches until cooked through and lightly charred. Set aside to keep warm. Meanwhile add all the ingredients for the flatbreads to a large bowl. Mix until combined; you are looking for a soft but not too sticky dough, so add a little extra flour if needed. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes or until soft and fully hydrated. Cover with a damp tea towel and rest for 10 minutes. Weigh the dough and divide into 6 balls. Roll each ball so it is approximately 5-8mm thick. The thicker the dough, the fluffier the bread! Heat the oil over a medium heat and cook each flatbread for 2 minutes on each side or until puffed and lightly charred. Stack and store wrapped in foil (they can be warmed in the foil in a low oven if making in advance). For the salad, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Serve the flatbreads, piled with the chicken, salad and yogurt if liked. watercress.co.uk

Beef & Watercress Bourguignon

Serves 6 | Prep time 30 mins | Cook time 3 hours 20 mins

Ingredients

1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
1kg Braising Steak, with some fat
or Chuck/ Skirt, Shin, cut into
large pieces.
2 Onions, finely sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
200g Button Mushrooms, whole
50g Watercress
1 tbsp Plain flour
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
500ml Red wine
500ml Rich Beef Stock
4 Bay Leaves
10g Parsley Stalks
3 Sprigs Thyme
Salt & Black Pepper

Method

Beef & Watercress Bourguignon This is best made the day before you want to serve to allow the flavours to develop. Preheat oven 115C. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over a medium high heat. Mix the flour with a little salt and use to coat the beef. Brown the beef in 4 batches on all sides, waiting until the meat releases itself from the pan with ease. Do not overcrowd the pan or else the meat with steam instead of caramelising. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate to rest. In the same pan, add the onions and a small splash of water. Scrape the base of the pan to release the crusted pieces and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and sweat the onions for 10 minutes or until soft, translucent and sweet. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes more or until the mushrooms begin to caramelise and lose their moisture. Add the tomato puree and cook out, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the meat back to the pan and pour in the wine. Increase the heat and bubble for 3-4 minutes or until reduced by 1/3. Add the stock and tie the bay, parsley & thyme in a bundle with string. Add this to the pan along with the watercress. Cover with a lid and pop into the oven for 3 hours. Check the meat, it should easy yield to a blunt fork. When done, remove and allow to cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge overnight. The next day, bring the stew back to room temperature before heating in a low oven until hot through. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as the flavours will be more mature by now. Serve with pillows of mash and green vegetables. watercress.co.uk

Coq Au Vin

Serves 4 | Prep time 15-20 minutes | Cook time 1 ½ hours

Ingredients

1 chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
20 round shallots, peeled and left whole
300g small button mushrooms
150g pancetta, cut into lardons
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp cognac
400ml red wine
450ml chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Heat half the oil and butter in a large casserole, and brown the chicken pieces well, ensuring the skin becomes crisp and brown. Set aside. Melt the remaining butter with the oil and add the shallots, mushrooms and pancetta. Cook for 10 minutes until well browned, stirring regularly to ensure even browning. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes. Add the flour and cook for a further minute. In a separate pan bring the red wine to the boil and reduce by half. Pour the cognac into the casserole and bring to a simmer. Allow the cognac to bubble until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the reduced red wine and chicken stock, return the chicken pieces to the pan, and add the bay leaf and thyme. Cover the casserole and cook in the preheated oven for one hour. Serve garnished with the parsley, with plain boiled potatoes. Note – it is important that this dish is made with chicken on the bone. Ask your butcher to joint a chicken for you, or use thighs and drumsticks. ukshallot.com

Asparagus Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Serves 4 | Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 35 minutes

Ingredients

1 chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
20 round shallots, peeled and left whole
300g small button mushrooms
150g pancetta, cut into lardons
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp cognac
400ml red wine
450ml chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Method

Heat the grill and cook the bacon on each side until very crisp. Chop into small chunks and combine with the bread crumbs and ¼ of the cheese then set aside. Boil the kettle to fill a large pan. When boiling vigorously in the pan add a pinch of salt and the macaroni. Cook for nine minutes then add the asparagus and cook for a further two minutes. While the macaroni is cooking, melt the butter in a small thickbased saucepan, sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook whilst stirring for a minute then add the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously so it is absorbed into the flour and slowly makes a smooth sauce. If you get any lumps, don’t panic, just beat vigorously with the wooden spoon and they’ll disperse. Stir in the mustard, some black pepper and the remaining cheese. Once the macaroni and asparagus are cooked, drain well and return them to the pan. Pour over the cheese sauce and stir to coat well. Tip the macaroni into a large oven dish, sprinkle over the breadcrumb mixture and return to the grill for the top to melt and brown. enjoyasparagus.com