Recently I made a version of Simon Rimmer’s White Chilli as a soup. Lacking either the requisite chicken stock and chipotle (so good, must order more from MexGrocer), I found something that would substitute for both. Enter the leftover smoked belly pork stock LINK. I carved off (it was frozen) only around 150ml, but it had the most incredibly unctuous and hammy flavour, somewhat reminiscent of the liquor left after making Nigella Lawson’s Coca Cola Ham, but without all the sweetness. I’ve made Nigella’s recipe for Black Bean soup in the past, which she recommends for using up said ham-coke, and although divisive, I thought it was pretty good (if a small enough quantity of stock is used to dilute the sugar). The resulting white chilli was so moreish that I almost went to go and check in the fridge again just now for leftovers.
Last night a friend cooked a delicious spiced roast chicken with dahl, and after adding some of the juices to said red lentils, we kept the rest and cooked it down with the chicken bones and got a delicious 1.5 litres of stock that’ll no doubt be the backbone of a risotto next week.
The moral of the story? If you’re cooking any meat with more than a couple of handfuls of bone leftover, then well, Carl Weathers put it pretty well – “throw it in a pot, add some broth, a potato. Baby, you’ve got a stew going”. And you don’t even really need a potato (or any other veg) in my book. Making stock is quick, easy and saves you money while helping you make great meals.
Got some white beans? Got some stock? Make this delicious spicy and filling soup.
Author: Simon Rimmer (modified)
3 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 fresh chillies (jalapeno or similar), chopped
1 tbsp cumin seed, dry roast and crushed
200ml/14fl oz good, strong stock (preferably smoked pork, but vegetable if you want to keep it vegetarian)
2 chipotle or 1 ancho chillies (if not using smoked stock)
bunch fresh coriander, plus extra coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
1.5 limes, juiced
800g/14oz can cannellini or butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dry oregano
150g cheddar, grated
Bring the beer, onions, garlic, chillies, ancho/chipotle, ground cumin and stock to the boil in a large pan, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Blend three quarters of the bunch of coriander, all the lime juice and a good pinch of salt to a smooth paste.
Add the coriander and lime paste, and the beans to the stock mixture. Stir well to combine, then continue to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced by about three quarters.
Add smoked paprika and oregano and stir well to combine.
Serve topped with grated cheese and the remaining chopped coriander leaves.
Why not re-use beef shin bones to make candlesticks? Okay, sure it’s a bit macabre.
Making good condiments is a fundamentally cheap and lazy thing to do. Once you have them, even the simplest of snacks can be transformed. If you have 30 minutes free this week, spend it making your own ketchup. It’s easy, lasts ages, and is totally delicious. I don’t even like ketchup that much – I’d usually go for mayonnaise or hot sauce instead (Dunn River Jamaican since you’re asking). I might put it in a bacon sandwich, or occasionally with a sausage – that’s as much facetime as Heinz gets. But this stuff is so fantastically unctuous and zingy that I end up putting it places it really shouldn’t go (like down my shirt).
I take as my base the Hawksmoor Ketchup recipe, which is a pretty simple one. The flavour text (which is excellent throughout their cookbook) is a great exploration on what ketchup can be:
“Until Americans like Henry Heinz got involved and the tomato version stole the show they came in a range of flavours, including mushroom, walnut, onion, cucumber and even beer, many staying true to their fermented fishy origins with the addition of minced anchovies or oysters”
I’m still shy of adding in sea critters for worry of affecting storage potential, although a splash of already-fermented fish sauce should keep just fine, and as I write this I think I’ll try that it my next batch. It makes sense, given its Asian origins and likely name (in Indonesian ‘kecap’ means sauce – most commonly seen in Europe in its sweet soy variant, ‘kecap manis’). Jamie adds fennel (which sounds like a good match given how well star anise fits), Nigel Slater goes for Szechuan peppercorns (definitely a good idea), and I’ve seen smoked chipotle chillis used. All worth trying. But see this as a starting point and diving board into a ketchupy vat of umami deliciousness. For now, let’s keep it vegetarian (hell, it doesn’t happen often) and simple.
200g fruit sugar (this is what Hawksmoor use, but a little more brown sugar would be fine, and probably cheaper!)
250ml white wine vinegar
8 whole peppercorns
1 whole star anise
2 tbsp smoked paprika
Add all ingredients except peppercorns, star anise and cloves to a large pan and mix.
Bundle remaining spices into muslin (or similar) and tie with string, and add.
Bring to boil and then drop to simmer for 2 hours (or until it's quite thick - it will thicken more later), giving the odd stir.
Using a sieve, or preferably a chinois and pestle, push all of the hot ketchup through. This is the most labour intensive step, and probably takes 10-15 minutes.
At this point, if you want to to keep your ketchup for more than a few weeks (before opening), then follow these instructions. Otherwise, thoroughly clean and immerse 1.5 litres of glass bottles or jars in boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilise.
Fill bottles or jars while still hot (both the ketchup and the glass), put lids on and leave to cool. Finally label and consume.
Lasagne is my comfort dish. Rich, deep meaty sauce layered under a mantle of creamy bechamel and curling pasta strata. I have no shame in sharing my choice of ragu-based edible eiderdown with a cartoon cat.
I started the week with a bit of a late summer cold, so didn’t feel much like cooking. I pulled myself together enough to rustle up a version of white bean chilli (which I’ll post later) on Monday, and on Tuesday convinced my better half to cook up her version of lasagne while I sous-cheffed and took notes. I say it’s her version, but I think the 5 meat rider is really down to me. It might seem excessive – the beef with pork mince, the chicken liver, the bacon and chorizo as chorus line. But the liver gives richness to the beef, the bacon helps add some smokiness along with the chorizo (which also gives a little spice and texture), and the pork just helps them all get along. Even Delia’s own version of lasagne only omits the spanish sausage, and blended with plenty of wine and rosemary our protein quintet creates something wonderful.
It’s difficult tying the chef down to a recipe – she prefers things like “add endless pepper” and “mix in enough flour”. If we could afford to, the cheese in the bechamel (of which “you can’t really have enough…perhaps not good if you’re on a diet”), would be solely Italian, subbing the cheddar for more parmesan or pecorino, and maybe even layering in mozzarella, “but that’s just silly”. This is a dish ubiquitous enough to always be a personal thing, but try this recipe and let me know what you think.