Smoked Chicken, Wild Mushrooms, Sweet Basil, Coconut & Galangal Soup

Poached chicken, coconut & galingal soup (photo by Kaleem Hyder)

Photo from Farang by Kaleem Hyder

I have just spent the weekend in sunny Birmingham at the BBC Good Food Show cooking with the Thai Embassy on the Thai World Stage to help promote Thai produce and cuisine. I’ve never been to Birmingham before, although I have to say it felt like more like Kingston, Jamaica at 34 degrees- it’s been an absolute scorcher!

The show was a good crack actually, apart from it taking place at the NEC in Birmingham which has to be one of the most boring places on the planet- it reminded me of the film ‘The Truman Show’, where you feel you will walk through a door and hit a cardboard cut out of another door if you’re not careful. All the same the show was great and I’ve come back excited to get another recipe up on ‘Articuleat‘.

In this heat I wanted to cook something quick, effortless, light and tasty as fuck so I went for this soup. This soup can be made in many different variations, a few of which can be found in my book ‘Cook Thai‘ if you ever feel like giving them a go. It only takes a few bits and pieces and around 10-15 minutes to make and all of the ingredients can be found easily in most supermarkets these days. If you’re feeling really exotic throw in some king prawns to this soup too- awesome!

Ingredients Serves 2 / Vegetarian option

1 chicken breast, skin and fat removed, sliced into rough 2cm by 2cm pieces, directions for smoking in recipe  (do not use if vegetarian, ha)

1/4 butternut squash, roughly 50g, peeled and sliced into rough 2cm by 2 cm pieces (pumpkin can be used instead)

8 Thai Shallots, peeled and slightly bruised in a pestle

2 green birds eye chillies, bruised in a pestle

2 kaffir lime leaves, torn slightly

2 sticks lemongrass, chopped into 2 cm long pieces and bruised in a pestle

10g, galangal, peeled and chopped into 2 cm long pieces and bruised in a pestle

2 coriander roots, cleaned, washed and bruised in a pestle

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

2-3 tablespoons fish sauce (soy sauce if vegetarian)

200ml chicken stock (vegetable stock if vegetarian)

300ml coconut cream

10g, Thai sweet basil (normal basil will do)

50g, assorted wild mushrooms (I use enoki, shittaki and emoji mushrooms)

1 lime, juiced

Method

Before I get started with the recipe I’ll delve a little into explaining how to smoke the chicken. In this recipe I cold smoke my chicken which can be done very easily when you’re at home. This means that I will be adding the smoke flavour from the wood to the meat, without cooking it. All you need is some smoking wood chips, a pan, a colander and some cling film. Place a small handful of wood chips into the pan and heat the pan up until the wood chips set alight within the pan. Once this happens put the flames out with a little water, this will cause the chips to smoke heavily. at this stage place the chicken in the colander and then put the colander upon the smoking pan, then quickly cling film the whole thing so it is air tight with no smoke leaving the cling film. This will leave the chicken inside a smoke vacuum, with minimal oxygen so the wood chips will not be hot but will smoke a lot. If this is left untouched for 20 minutes the smokey flavour would have penetrated the meat, the longer you leave it the smokier the flavour.

Firstly, in a small sauce pan bring a little water to the boil and then submerge the squash into it, then turn down to a simmer, continue to gently cook for around 3-4 minutes until soft but not quite cooked and then remove from the heat and put aside for a few minutes (at this stage you might as well leave it in the hot water as we are to use it straight away).

Next place the chicken stock, 100ml of the coconut cream, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, sea salt, galangal, coriander roots, birds eye chillies, lemongrass, lime leaves, butternut squash and Thai shallots and mushrooms into a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering add the chicken pieces and continue to cook gently for 4-5 minutes until all chicken is cooked and all vegetables have softened with flavours infused.

Finish by adding the rest of the coconut cream and the sweet basil and the dishing out into bowls. Lastly check the seasoning, it should be creamy, salty, a little spicy, aromatic with a fresh hint of lime at the end, adjust if needs be.

Thanks very much for stopping by at ‘Articuleat’ and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.

 

See you next time,

Eat Well,

Sebbyholmes

Venison Wellington with Caramelised Red Onion Gravy, Roasted Seasonal Mushrooms & Pancetta.

Venison Wellington with Caramelised Red Onion Gravy, Roasted Seasonal Mushrooms & Pancetta.The game season is upon us, for me this means venison is back on the dinner plate. Venison used to be a strictly seasonal, expensive meat however it is now more widely available, as it’s commonly farmed. Although still at the expensive end of the meat market; it’s lean, close-textured, dark, moist meat and distinct gamey flavour is truly worth every penny.

Venison is defined as ‘large antlered game’ (funnily enough my girlfriend also refers to me by this) and therefore, as well as deer, it includes elk, caribou, moose, antelope, bison, buffalo and me. Prime roasting joints tend to come from the leg (haunch), the loin and the saddle, while the fillet or boned loin provides steaks.

Now I have been up to lots over the last few months from designing insect based menus for the London public, to helping Andy Oliver out at his new pop- up event; which you will hear about in my blog’s ‘behind the whites’ section. The past month of neglect towards ‘Articuleat’ is to be swiftly resolved. I have some great winter recipes to get you down and dirty in the kitchen during the festive season.

Now, back to the recipe. Remember if you don’t have the time or the patience to make your own puff pastry (I don’t blame you) you can buy it frozen from any good supermarket. However if you do find the time to give it a whirl (well done you) then I’m sure you will absolutely love this dish. For me, there is nothing better than making something completely from scratch, once you conquer puff pastry – you can conquer anything. If it is your first time please do let me know how it goes, I would love to know.

Right so we have Venison wellington, a deliciously rich, gamey meat wrapped within a light, fluffy, buttery puff pastry – now what next? What’s our perfect accompaniment for this tasty dish?

Yep, I’ve got it, mushrooms!! But not just any mushrooms. For a dish with as much character as this you don’t want to dress it up in crap clothes. Girolles, the Levis of the mushroom world and shitake, the Gucci. Iron these up and put them on your wellington and I assure you, it will be turning heads left, right and center.

Now for the last element to complete this delicious winter warmer, a sauce. We have buttery pastry, gamey venison, salty mushrooms; I think a light and sweet caramelised red onion gravy should bring all those flavours together. Infuse this with some smoked pancetta and you would have to be some kind of weirdo not to be able to enjoy this dish (except of course for vegetarians).

Ingredients

(For the puff pastry, makes 1.2kg)

-500g, unsalted butter

-500g, strong white flour

-2tspn, salt

-150ml, cold water

-5 egg yolks

-3tspn, lemon juice

-flour, for rolling

(For the wellington)

-600g venison haunch, rolled into a large sausage shape using cling film

-puff pastry, enough to wrap venison

-2 egg yolks, whisked to attach pastry

-a little olive oil

-Malden salt and cracked black pepper

(For everything else)

-40g, girolles, cleaned with a brush and chopped into thick chunks

-40g, shitake, cleaned and chopped into thick chunks

-60g, diced smoked pancetta

-2 cloves, garlic, diced or crushed

-2 thinly sliced red onions

-300ml, beef stock

-50g, soft brown sugar

-2 heaped tbspn, redcurrant jelly

-20ml, balsamic vinegar

-olive oil for cooking

-20g unsalted butter

Method (Serves 2, with spare puff pastry)

  1. Firstly let’s get the hard bit out the way, the puff pastry. Now follow these instructions to the word and you shouldn’t have any issues, if you do please let me know. Puff pastry is a lengthy process but once made it can be frozen for future use; I assure you quality comes in making things from scratch. Begin by unwrapping the butter (be sure to keep the wrappers) and cut off 100g of butter to use in the dough. Place the remaining butter between the wrappers and hammer it with a rolling pin until it’s about 2cm thick, roughly the same size as the wrapper and malleable. Keep this cool and aim to have it cold but pliable for rolling, not too soft (I know this is tricky but it needs to be malleable enough to roll, whilst being cold enough not to melt into the pastry).Place the flour and salt in a bowl then get your hands stuck in to rub in the butter. Mix the water, yolks and juice, add this to the bowl and gently knead into a dough. Once complete, wrap it and chill in fridge for half an hour. Next lightly flour the worktop and roll the dough out to just under 1cm thick. Place the butter slab, unwrapped and pull the sides up and over it so they overlap in the middle, and seal them together with a little water. Then do the same with the other two sides – this will completely seal the butter within the dough like a wrapped Christmas present. Lastly hammer the dough out a little with the rolling pin and roll it into a rectangle just under 1cm thick. Brush off any excess flour, fold it in by thirds (like you would a blanket), then wrap it well and chill for an hour. Lastly roll and fold it in this way five more times, spaced at one hour long intervals, use as much flour as you need to stop the butter sticking, should it burst out – but make sure to brush it off the dough when making a blanket fold. Finally wrap the dough well and use immediately or freeze for when you need it. This recipe makes more than you need, if it takes this long why not?
  2. Now that the pastry is out the way, time for the wellington. Firstly heat the oven to 180C. Unwrap the venison and cover in olive oil, salt and pepper the fry in a dry pan on a high heat briefly to seal the meat (be sure to keep it raw in the center), remove from pan and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out enough puff pastry to wrap the meat into a rectangular shape then place the venison in the center, use a little flour on the worktop if necessary. Brush the egg around the edges of the pastry and the meat, and then tightly wrap it, making sure you seal the meat within the pastry, then leave to rest for 30 minutes. Lastly brush the pastry with egg yolk and sprinkle with salt and pepper, mark the wellington with diagonal knife lines taking care not to cut through the pastry. Cook until golden and crisp (around 20-25 minutes for medium rare) then remove rest and serve.
  3. Meanwhile make the sauce. Place the butter in a tray, then melt in the oven on 180C, once hot add the pancetta and roast for 15 minutes. Next add the mushrooms and continue to roast for a further 20 minutes. At the same time fry the garlic in hot oil until golden brown and fragrant, then add the red onion and sweat (around 5 minutes). Next add the soft brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook until melted and beginning to caramelise. When ready add the redcurrant jelly and beef stock and continue to simmer until a light pourable consistency. Once mushrooms and pancetta is ready finish the gravy by adding the roasting juices from the tray. Serve the wellington upon the mushrooms and pancetta with a friendly dose of the gravy and enjoy.

Venison Wellington with Caramelised Red Onion Gravy, Roasted Seasonal Mushrooms & Pancetta.

Thanks very much for stopping by at Articuleat and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.

See you next time,

Eat Well,

Sebby Holmes