Cock-a-leekie

January 24, 2013

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Some hae meat and canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

And sae let the Lord be thankit.

*The Selkirk Grace *

as delivered by Robert Burns

This Friday, January 25th, is Robert Burns’ birthday. Throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, folks will be celebrating with a Burns Night Supper to mark the occasion. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. I’m quite a Burns fan myself and will certainly be raising my glass to The Bard this weekend. I wanted to give you a nice Scottish recipe in case you were planning on holding such a celebration as well. My first inclination was to make Haggis, that great chieftain o’ the puddin-race, as Burns put it.  But I quickly realized that it would likely be difficult to come across the ingredients. Since I couldn’t even find lard around here, I think sourcing out a sheep’s heart, lungs and stomach would be quite the challenge! So, I decided on Cock-a-leekie soup, a standard starter at many a Burn’s Night Supper. And an easy choice for me because my husband is absolutely mad for anything with a leek in it. (Must be that Welsh blood in him.)

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This soup is very easy to make and delicious to boot! The first time that I made it, I was a bit nervous about adding in the prunes. I thought a fruit would taste quite odd in a chicken soup. But although you see bits of prunes in the mix, you don’t get a sweet, fruit taste when you eat them. They add to the overall flavour of the dish and I think they would definitely be missed if they were omitted. You’ll have to trust me on that. I served my Cock-a-leekie soup up with some toasted Struan bread.

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Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly. Click here for the Struan recipe that I use. If you are looking for some other dishes to serve at your Burns Supper, take a look at my Scotch Eggs, ( a hard boiled egg encased in sausage and then deep fried.)

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Deviled Scotch Eggs (the eggs as described above, but with the yolk part “deviled”.)

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and Chranachan for dessert. (My Chranachan recipe has a more Irish bent, but that is easy to change. Just use a good Scottish Malt Whiskey rather than the Jamesons and skip the Bailey’s drizzle. This dessert is typically served in a tall glass, though I served it in little chocolate cordial glasses topped with raspberries once, which was quite fun.)

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I hope I’ve managed to inspire you with these lovely Scottish dishes. If so, whip some of them up and raise a wee dram and drink a toast to Scotland’s Favourite Son this Friday.

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Cock-a-leekie

recipe from: Martha Stewart

yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken thighs (on the bone; 4 pieces)
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken breast halves (on the bone; 3 pieces)
  • Four 14 1/2-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 2 cups white wine or water
  • 2 large celery ribs, halved crosswise
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 12 pitted prunes, quartered (2/3 cup packed)
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven on medium-high until hot. Add thighs; cook until browned, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with breasts.

Add broth, wine, celery, carrot, and garlic to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; scrape any browned bits from pot; return chicken to pot, reduce heat, and simmer, skimming as necessary, for 1 hour. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Transfer vegetables to another plate; reserve.

Add leeks, prunes, and barley to broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 40 minutes more. Once chicken has cooled, shred meat. Finely dice carrot and celery. Stir chicken, carrot, celery, and parsley into soup, heat through, and serve.

Enjoy!

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Deviled Scotch Eggs

January 23, 2012

O thou! whatever title suit thee,–

Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie!
Wha in yon cavern, grim an’ sootie,
Clos’d under hatches, 
Spairges about the brunstane cootie
To scaud poor wretches!

*Spairges:to bespatter by flinging/Brunstane cootie:BrimstoneBowl

Robert Burns “Address to the Devil”

That’s Right! Robbie Burns Night is coming up soon. Traditionally, Burns Night celebrations are held near the poet’s birthday, January 25th. It was through a post about a Robbie Burns Night last year that I first learned about Scotch Eggs. Having never encountered one before, I nearly couldn’t go on until I made them. I think I instantly fell in love. Are you kidding me, a hard-boiled egg, enrobed in sausage, rolled in Panko and deep-fried?!! Be still my heart!

So this year I decided to step it up a bit and make Deviled Scotch Eggs. (Hence I thought an excerpt from the Burns poem “Address to the Devil” appropriate – if you haven’t read this poem before, it’s pretty amusing, if you can manage to get past his Scots dialect. I provided some translations.) Basically, I made the Deep Fried Scotch Eggs that I did last year, but then I cut them in half, took out the yolks, deviled them and stuck them back in and sprinkled them with paprika. I wanted to sprinkle them with bacon bits, but I didn’t have any on hand. Oh dear Lord! What has gotten into me? These Deviled Scotch Eggs are awesome.! I will say, if you’re feeling a bit more healthy, Edible Ireland has some awesome Oven Baked Scotch Eggs, you might want to check out. If you’re interested in the history and origins of the Eggs, check out my Scotch Eggs blog from last February. This year I served them along with a salad, fresh fruit, and of course, chips.

I mean I already had the deep-fryer fired up. How could I not throw a few potatoes in? I think I might just feel my arteries clogging as I type. But really folks, sometimes you just need to let go and enjoy some awesomely bad for you comfort food and my Deviled Scotch Eggs are just what you need! (if not what the doctor ordered 🙂 )

Deviled Scotch Eggs

yield: 12 Deviled Scotch Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. bulk sausage-we prefer “hot” but  country-style or herbed would work just fine.
  • 6 hard-boiled large eggs-shells removed
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 raw eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 Cup Panko
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying

For the Deviling Process:

  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Coleman’s English Mustard
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • paprika and crumbled bacon to garnish

Directions:

For the Scotch Eggs:

Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer to 365° F.

Cover counter top with large sheet of waxed paper.

Divide the sausage into six equal portions.

Flatten the sausage into thin circles.

Place an egg in the center of each round. Enclose each egg completely in the sausage.

Dredge the sausage-coated eggs in flour, dip them in the raw egg and then roll them in the Panko until they are entirely coated.

Fry Scotch Eggs two at a time for 10 minutes.

Transfer to paper towels and allow to cool to touch.

To Devil them:

Halve the Scotch Eggs lengthwise and remove the yolks.

Mash the yolks with a fork and then place them in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and mix until smooth.

Using a pastry bag or sandwich bag with an end snipped off, pipe the yolk mixture back into the Scotch Eggs.

Garnish with paprika and bacon crumbles.

Enjoy!


Scotch Eggs & Chips

February 28, 2011

Its official. I definitely did lead a somewhat food deprived youth. Until last week I had never heard of a Scotch Egg. Indeed I have spent a lot of time in Ireland and have never stumbled across one there either. (Disclaimer: I do not mean to imply Ireland is anything like Scotland and certainly not part of the U.K.-I just thought encountering said egg might have been more likely due to the proximity of the countries). Any hooo……Whilst browsing recipes last week I found one for Inside-Out Scotch Eggs at 8.ate@eight. The author was planning a menu for a Robert Burns night and mentioned a Scotch Egg. She described it as “enrobing a hard-boiled egg with ground meat, breading and deep-frying the sucker”. She also indicated that it ends up “the size of your fist”. Deciding that it would likely not be appropriate as an appetizer for the menu she was creating, she went on to create what looks to be a very tasty and diminutive alternative to the unwieldy scotch egg, her Inside Out Scotch Eggs w/Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata. Don’t get me wrong…that recipe sounds fantastic, but I couldn’t pay it the attention it deserved. I just couldn’t get past the Scotch Egg. Somewhat obsessed, I searched around online to see what I could find out about them. They were introduced in 1738 by the London Department store Fortnum & Mason. In the UK they are regarded as a picnic food and are usually eaten cold. You can often find them pre-packaged in convenience stores. In the US they are usually found in “British” style pubs and are served hot with mustard or ranch dips. The Minnesota State Fair apparently serves them up on a stick. Again, I ask-Where have I been! I just have to have one of these things! So I set out to make it so and will tell you how you can as well.

You start by hard-boiling the eggs and then removing the shells. Cover your work area with a piece of wax paper and flatten approximately 1/4 lb. of sausage into a thin circle. This is easier to do if your hands are wet-the sausage won’t stick as much. Jay and I love spicy food, so I used “Hot” breakfast sausage. Place an egg in the center of the sausage round and work to enclose the egg entirely in the meat.

Eggs enclosed in sausage

Once this is done, dredge the sausage-coated eggs in flour, dip them in the raw eggs and then roll them in Panko (Japanese Bread flakes), making sure they are well coated.

Panko coated egg

You are ready to fry at this point. I just recently received a Breville deep fryer from my parents (thank you so much guys!) and I am always excited about frying anything! I decided to use peanut oil for frying. I know, I know….peanut oil is supposed to be just awful for you right? I’m not so sure I think thats true. It seems all of our ideas about what oils are healthy and what oils are not are always changing. Peanut oil is high in monounsaturated fat, which is the kind we want. In addition it has resveratrol in it. That is the stuff that you find in grapes and red wine which has been linked to reduced cardiovascular disease. I am sure you shouldn’t be eating fried foods all the time, but we don’t actually eat them often. So when we are breaking out the deep fryer, I am going to use an oil which I know will give me a great tasting treat. The other very important thing to remember when frying things is that the oil needs to be at a pretty high temperature 350-375° F. If the oil is at the correct temperature, the food you’re cooking releases steam, which travels out and prevents oil from seeping back in. The result is food which is light and crisp rather than soggy and greasy. Remember not to over-load the fryer basket as well. Too many items can cause a lower oil temperature, which will result in the soggy, greasy dilemma. We cooked our Scotch Eggs at 365° F for 10 minutes.  Voila!

Finished goodness

We ate these with Coleman’s Original English Mustard on the side. They were nothing short of stellar! Since the deep fryer was already going, we decided to make some french fries or rather chips as well to go along with our eggs. Nothing fancy here. We just cut up some russet potatoes

Fries ready to go

and popped them in the fryer at 375° F for 15-17 minutes and sprinkled them with kosher salt and malt vinegar.

Yum!

Awesome!  Unbelievable! Don’t deprive yourself-make these today!

Scotch Eggs

1 lb. bulk sausage-we prefer “hot” but  country-style or herbed would work just fine.

4 hard-boiled large eggs-shells removed

1/2 Cup all-purpose flour

2 raw eggs, beaten lightly

1 Cup Panko

Peanut oil for deep frying

Divide the sausage into four equal portions. Flatten into thin circles. Place an egg in the center of each round. Enclose each egg completely in the sausage. Dredge the sausage-coated eggs in flour, dip them in the raw egg and then roll them in the Panko until they are entirely coated. In a deep fryer heat peanut oil to 365° F. Fry Scotch Eggs two at a time for 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and salt and pepper as desired.


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