The Rugby World Cup quarter finals are this weekend and I know we will all be cheering on the boys in green. I will be sharing four recipes over the course of the next two days from some of the countries involved in the quarter finals. Today it is the turn of Ireland and France. We have the delicious and perfect for any occasion ‘Bacon and Cabbage’ from Ireland and from France we have ‘Coq au Vin’. I hope you enjoy and I also hope you have your voice well rested to answer Ireland’s call this weekend!!
Bacon and Cabbage with Parsley Sauce
If your bacon is very salty, there will be a white froth on top of the water, in which case it’s better to discard the water and start again. It can be necessary to change the water several times, depending on how salty the bacon is. Choose a joint with a nice covering of fat for the best flavour.
Any leftovers are delicious reheated – simply arrange in a roasting tin with a splash of water and cover with foil, then pop into a preheated oven at 180 C (350 F/gas mark 4) for 10–15 minutes, until warmed through. Serves 8–10
• 2.25kg (5lb) pork loin, collar or streaky bacon with rind on (smoked or unsmoked)
• 1 Savoy cabbage or 2 spring cabbages
• 50g (2oz) butter
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• steamed turnip with a knob of butter, to serve (optional)
• 600ml (1 pint) milk
• 1 fresh thyme sprig
• 1/2 onion, sliced
• handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped and stalks reserved
• 25g (1oz) butter
• 25g (1oz) plain flour
Place the bacon in a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring slowly to the boil and change the water as necessary (see the introduction). Cover with a lid and simmer until almost cooked, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb).
Meanwhile, trim away the outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut it into quarters and remove the core. Slice the cabbage across the grain into thick shreds. About 3–4 minutes before the end of the bacon’s cooking time, add the shredded cabbage. Stir, then cover and continue to simmer gently until both the cabbage and bacon are cooked (about One and three quaters hours in total).
To make the parsley sauce, put the milk in a pan with the thyme, onion and parsley stalks. Bring to a simmer, season to taste and simmer for 4–5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes if time allows, then strain through a sieve.
Melt the butter in a clean pan and stir in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, and then gradually add the infused milk, whisking to combine. Continue to simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened, then season to taste and stir in the chopped parsley leaves. If not using immediately, remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
Remove the bacon from the pan and cut off the rind, if liked. Strain the cabbage and discard the water (or if it’s not too salty, keep it for soup). Add the butter to the cabbage and season with pepper
To serve, carve the bacon into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with the buttered cabbage and drizzle over a little of the parsley sauce. Put the rest of the parsley sauce into a warmed gravy boat and serve at the table so everyone can help themselves. Have a separate warmed serving dish of steamed turnip with a knob of butter melting in it.
SPEEDY COQ AU VIN
- 25g (1oz) plain flour
- 450g (1lb) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, well trimmed and quartered
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- Knob of butter
- 175g (6oz) button onions or small shallots, halved
- 175g (6oz) button mushrooms, trimmed
- 100g (4oz) pancetta (streaky bacon lardons)
- 450ml (3/4 pint) chicken/vegetable stock
- 150ml (1/4 pint) red wine
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, plus extra leaves to garnish
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mashed potatoes
- Steamed French beans, to serve
Season the flour and toss the chicken pieces in it until lightly coated, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat and tip in the dusted chicken. Sauté for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown. Add the butter and toss until evenly coated, then add the onions or shallots, mushrooms and bacon and cook for another 3–4 minutes.
Pour the stock into the pan with the wine and Worcestershire sauce, then add the thyme. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through and the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Stir in the parsley and season to taste.
Place the mashed potatoes on warmed plates and spoon over the coq au vin. Garnish with some thyme leaves and add some french green beans to serve.