Red Curry of Whole Baby Chicken & Minced Prawns with Sweet Basil & Asian Vegetables

TR_RED_CURRY_OF_BABY_CHICKEN_AND_MINCED_PRAWNS_WITH_SWEET_BASIL_AND_VEGETABLES_0637This one has been a strong favourite from customers since even the pop-up days of Farang, the whole roast chicken screams ‘roast dinner’, when marinated in a spicy red curry it screams even louder ‘Farang’. Sharing food and enjoying the experience ‘family style’ is how it’s done in Thailand and this dish is built to share so get stuck in. I’ve always used baby chicken in the restaurant to make this, which are perfect for sharing between two, however it works deliciously with larger chickens if you adjust the cooking times to suit. It’s a simple way to infuse the whole chicken with the flavours of the red curry. Serve this carved up in front of friends or family with bowls of rice and no one will be disappointed. Like in this recipe, you can cook the chicken straight away however for a fuller affect, leave the chicken marinating in red curry paste overnight before roasting.

Serves 2 / GF
1 baby chicken, roughly 250-300g
200g, red curry paste (for best results make it yourself, recipe in my book ‘Cook Thai’ 😉
1 tablespoon palm sugar
50g, prawns, shells, heads removed and de-veined, minced using a meat cleaver, keep the heads and prawns to one side
20g, baby corn, sliced into thin roll-cuts
20g, white daikon, peeled and sliced into thin roll-cuts and braised in water until (optional)
2, long red chillies, sliced into roll cuts
2, long green chillies, sliced into roll cuts
20g, green beans, topped and tailed, cut into 2cm long chunks
250ml, prawn stock, the recipe tells you how to make this
150ml, coconut oil, crack (vegetable oil can be used instead but is not as tasty)
200ml, coconut cream
2 tablespoons, wild ginger, krachai, peeled and thinly sliced (regular ginger will work too)
10g, Thai basil, picked
10g, coriander, washed and picked
2-3 tablespoons, fish sauce, to taste
1 teaspoon, sea salt

Firstly, get all the prawn heads that you collected and add them to 300ml of water. Bring this to the boil and then turn down to a simmer, make sure to skim the scum off the surface of the water, simmer for 20 minutes and then strain to produce a light prawn stock. Meanwhile heat the coconut oil in a wok, when bubbling, add the red curry paste and keep stirring and scraping regularly until paste begins to split like scrambled eggs. You will also notice that the smell of the ingredients changes from raw, to fragrant. I find as you cook out curry pastes you can smell each ingredient cooking at different times, I assume this is based on the water content of each vegetable, eventually the smell becomes one which is a clear sign that it is ready. At this point add the palm sugar and continue to scrape and cook for a further minute until the paste has darkened slightly, then add 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and allow to cook into the paste for one minute, don’t add too much as it is strong and you can always add, but never take away.

Now it’s time to let the curry out. Add 200ml of the prawn stock and 100ml of the coconut cream. Now remove half of this curry paste and allow to cool, once cool coat the chicken in the seasoned and cooked curry paste thoroughly, at this stage you can leave the chicken to marinate for a few hours, ideally overnight or you can cook straight away. Pre-heat an oven to 220 degrees centigrade and proceed to roast the chicken for 35-40 minutes until the skin is crisping and the curry paste marinade has become slightly charred and smells delicious. Check that the juices are running clear and that the chicken is hot throughout before removing from the oven. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

In the meantime, return to the rest of the cooked-out curry paste. Bring this back to a simmer and then add the daikon, green beans and baby corn. Stir to combine and then cover and bring to a simmer, cook out for around five minutes until all vegetables are cooked. At this point the curry would have thickened a little, so finish off the remaining prawn stock and coconut cream and add the minced prawns. Cook out for 3 minutes until all prawns are pink in colour and cooked throughout. Next add Thai basil, green and red chilli roll-cuts, fish sauce to taste and sliced krachai, then fold these ingredients in and serve immediately. The curry should be spicy, creamy, aromatic, sweet, fishy and salty all at the same time, adjust in the direction that suits you.

Serve the chicken whole with the prawn and vegetable curry over the top and if you like, a few sprigs of Thai basil on top for decoration, serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Cheers for reading,

Sebby Holmes Head Chef / Director, Award winning Thai Restaurant Farang London

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,

Cheers,

Sebby Holmes