Pot roast, rockets and remembrance…

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Pot roast, rockets and remembrance...

Today had pot roast written all over it – a crisp, bright autumnal
day following a damp, chilly bonfire party last night in the grounds – perfect for a piece of brisket to sit patiently in a pot and eek out all its goodness for us to savour later on this afternoon. This morning was our remembrance service and time to say a few words of my own in quiet reflection for those in my family who gave their lives in the Great War – Charlie and Paddy Conville and Alfred Bradbury. A brisk walk home through yellow and golden leaves cheered me up and there is nothing more therapeutic than chopping and fiddling in the kitchen.

Oven on to preheat at 140c. I then seared a locally reared 1kg piece of rolled brisket in hot lard in a casserole, removed it to one side , whilst I browned two carrots cut into chunks, 3 sticks of celery, two onions sliced and 3 cloves of garlic left whole. After about 5 minutes on a medium heat, I then added two quartered plum tomatoes, 3 bay leaves and returned the meat to sit king-like on this flavoursome throne. A little salt and pepper and a good sprig of thyme from my garden tucked under the beef were added before I placed a sheet of foil over the pot followed by the lid. It has gone in the oven for about 3 hours. When it is ready, I shall remove the meat to a warm plate and the veg – then make a little roux and thicken the juices into a gravy. I will let you know how it goes! Right, time to settle in front of the woodburner and watch the football!

I leave you with some random shots of last night’s fireworks! Kaboom!

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Vegetarians turn away now…! A full meat chilli!

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Vegetarians turn away now...! A full meat chilli!

I have dabbled with different chilli recipes for many many moons – and have tried many many varieties. Everyone has their own version and each time folk make them they get a different twist – it’s what makes this dish so exciting and so cook friendly. The recipe I now base my current version on is Hugh Fearneley-Whittingstall’s from his magnificent book simply entitled – Meat. It is a stonker. A no nonsense meat feast of a dish that gets up and bites back.

INGREDIENTS FOR 8-10 PEOPLE – OR 4 VERY VERY HUNGRY FOLK

1kg minced beef
500 gm diced shoulder pork
250 gm chorizo sliced into chunks
500 gm borlotti beans or kidney beans or a mix of both
Olive oil
2 large onions chopped
3 green chillies deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsps dark brown sugar
2 400gm tins of good chopped tomatoes
250 ml beef stock
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
Some dried oregano and thyme
3 tbsp of hot chilli powder
Black pepper
Fresh coriander

Soured cream to serve

Heat oil in large pan. Brown all meats in batches. Transfer to a large stock pot or casserole dish. Add more oil. Sweat onions on a slightly lower heat until a little brown. Add to meat along with all other ingredients except the beans and coriander.

Bring to the boil and simmer gently. Cook for at least an hour – I usually leave it for at least an hour and a half. No lid! Add beans for last twenty minutes. Taste – adjust seasoning – maybe just black pepper – I have never had to add salt. Add the roughly chopped coriander just before serving and stir through.

Serve with rice – I put a little turmeric in mine – cos it looks nice! And a pot of soured cream. Or you could serve with naan bread or tacos or crusty bread – or even a baked potato.

This is a demon of a dish – a veritable feast of flavours. So much more than some of the limp versions you see in pubs.

Enjoy.