Duck Pie with Pomegranate and Walnuts

Serves: 6

Wow.

On so many levels, this Middle Eastern pie is as amazing as it is unique.

Starting with the most obvious: it’s a duck pie! Duck pies are made of duck which means they are automatically amazing.

They’re also rare so this is a treat. (I’ve only typed up one other duck pie at the time of writing this one up.)

You’re cooking with Pomegranate Molasses, something I am confident you’ve never cooked with. It is also amazing.

You make a custard with the rich, reduced stock that you’ve spent the previous 2 hours infusing with saffron, walnuts and duck.

You’re shredding the moorish meat of 8 duck Marylands. The same cut you use in Duck Confit. Amazing right?!

And you’re cooking the pie in buttered filo.

This technique behind this pie is unique and definitely feels Middle Eastern.

Though the effect is awesome.

It is just beautiful and served as part of a Middle Eastern feast, this is luxury.

Not cheap, not quick, though like any duck dish, spend the time and eat like the Kings that no doubt ate this pie 400 years ago.

Ingredients

50ml olive oil, plus extra if needed
8 duck Marylands (about 2kg)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup roasted walnuts, rubbed in a cloth to remove skins, coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
A pinch of saffron threads, lightly toasted and crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1.2 litres chicken stock
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coriander leaves, thinly sliced
9 filo pastry sheets
150gm melted clarified butter
30gm pure icing sugar, sifted with 1tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy casserole over a medium heat. Season duck and fry in two batches, skin side down first (6 – 8 minutes), then on the other side until golden (2 – 3 minutes). Drain fat leaving 2 tbsp in the casserole.
  2. Return all the duck to the casserole together with the onion, garlic, walnuts, ginger, saffron, cinnamon and cumin, stir to coat well, then adding the stock and pomegranate molasses. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer over a low heat for around 1 1/2 hours and when the duck can easily be pulled off the bone.
  3. Strain, reserving the stock and duck mixture separately. Set the duck aside to cool.
  4. Skim off the excess fat from the stock (place paper towels on the surface, then remove and discard).
  5. Coarsely shred the duck meat, discarding the skin and bones. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and reduce by two-thirds to about 400ml. Transfer half the reduced stock to a bowl and whisk in egg yolks. Return to the saucepan with the remaining reduced stock and stir over a low heat until creamy and nearly set, as you would for an egg custard (5 – 7 minutes).
  6. Stir in the parsley and coriander, season to taste and set aside to cool completely. Fold the duck meat into the cooled mixture, refrigerating if not using immediately.
  7. Lay one filo sheet on a work surface, (covering the remaining filo pastry sheets with a slightly damp tea towel) and brush with melted butter. Repeat with another filo sheet laying it on top of the first to form a cross. Repeat with another 4 sheets, laying them at varying angles to form a circle of filo.
  8. Line a 27cm-diameter deep-sided non-stick frying pan with the filo circle, pushing it into the sides. Add duck filling, spreading evenly and brush surrounding filo with melted butter. Brush remaining 3 filo sheets with butter, fold in half and place on top of filling to cover. Bring pastry sides over filo on top to enclose and brush with butter.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180c. Place the pie in the oven and bake until golden brown (30 – 35 minutes). Remove from the oven and carefully place a large plate upside-down over pie and invert onto the plate.
  10. Wipe the excess butter from the filo and sift icing sugar mixture over the pie. Place a metal skewer on a naked flame until red-hot, holding the skewer with a tea towel. Burn a trellis pattern into the filo. Serve.

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Ok, so Nat got this Monday-night recipe wrong – originally from the NY Times – and it was so much better for it.

Like, amazingly better.

The yoghurt marinade – especially after grilling – made it creamy and soft: the fresh herbs and garlic added depth and flavour.

Grilled, boring, chicken it was not.

The opposite.

As far as a simple BBQ dinner goes, this could not have met the brief better. Seal and sear the chicken, have a handy salad ready and maybe some potatoes and boom, this is a weekday night super-success with possibly enough left for lunch.

Best mistake ever. And one I am happily typing up.

Ingredients

9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of two lemons
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley, more for serving
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 1/2 salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, more for garnish
3/4 tsp sumac, more for garnish
2/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Roll the chicken thighs flat.
  2. Combine the remainder of the ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate for 8 – 24 hours.
  3. Heat a grill over a high-heat and cook the chicken for 4 – 7 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Slice the chicken, sprinkling sumac, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon top.
  5. Serve with the yoghurt.

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Ok, so Nat got this Monday-night recipe wrong – originally from the NY Times – and it was so much better for it.

Like, amazingly better.

The yoghurt marinade – especially after grilling – made it creamy and soft: the fresh herbs and garlic added depth and flavour.

Grilled, boring, chicken it was not.

The opposite.

As far as a simple BBQ dinner goes, this could not have met the brief better. Seal and sear the chicken, have a handy salad ready and maybe some potatoes and boom, this is a weekday night super-success with possibly enough left for lunch.

Best mistake ever. And one I am happily typing up.

Ingredients

9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of two lemons
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley, more for serving
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 1/2 salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, more for garnish
3/4 tsp sumac, more for garnish
2/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Roll the chicken thighs flat.
  2. Combine the remainder of the ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate for 8 – 24 hours.
  3. Heat a grill over a high-heat and cook the chicken for 4 – 7 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Slice the chicken, sprinkling sumac, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon top.

Rigatoni with Chicken Ragù and Green Sauce

Serves: 4 – 6

I really didn’t see this one coming, though what a great – and unique – pasta.

This recipe from Gourmet Traveller is excellent and something you’d find in a good Italian restaurant. It has a quality, a richness and yet a dryness: it is hard to put your finger on why it is just so moorish: could be the butter, could be the contrast with the green sauce, could be that you’re eating pasta, something we don’t do as often as we would like.

We are always on the lookout for unusual, restaurant-quality pastas and this one definitely ticks that box.

As Nat put it, served alongside a red pasta, this would make for a really fun lunch.

So much so that Tom (7) asked us to make sure we typed this recipe up so he could have it handy for when he was cooking for his girlfriend in due course.

You should try.

(We upped the mince to 1kg and we’d do it again. And very minor changes to the original recipe which we have reflected below.)

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 baby fennel bulb, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
600gm coarsely minced chicken
2 tbsp coarsely chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
250ml dry white wine
300ml hot chicken stock
20gm butter, diced
20gm Parmesan
400gm dried rigatoni
200gm kale leaves, roughly chopped

Green sauce

1 garlic clove crushed
1 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup basil, coarsely chopped
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan and add the onion, garlic and fennel and sauté until starting to soften: 2 – 3 minutes. Add the chicken mince – increasing the temperature to high – and fry until starting to colour: 5 – 7 minutes.
  2. Stir in the rosemary, nutmeg and the wine and bring to a simmer; add the stock, reducing the heat to medium and simmer until slightly reduced: 5 – 7 minutes. You only want a little liquid remaining.
  3. Stir in the butter and Parmesan and season to taste.
  4. For the green sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.
  5. Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente; a minute before finishing, add the kale to the pasta and wilt.
  6. Drain and combine the pasta and kale with the sauce.
  7. Serve, topped with the Green sauce and extra Parmesan.

Chicken Bouillabaise

Serves: 4

This is a classic, classic French dish and this version is superb.

It is from my mother and it is one I had as a child and have then cooked as an adult.

It is pretty impossible not to love and served with the aioli-buttered toasts and the boiled baby potatoes, this is a warm, rich dinner in.

I sometimes substitute chicken thigh for a jointed chicken, though this isn’t a substitute you should make in this instance. Cutting the chicken off the bone is half the romance of the dish, if that can in anyway be a romantic thing.

If you’re after a French theme, you can do a whole lot worse than a Bouillabaise.

Get jointing.

Ingredients

1 cup chopped leeks
1 cup chopped fennel
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups peeled and finely chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup Pernod (we used Ouzo)
6 sprigs thyme
Sea salt
Good pinch of cayenne
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp saffron threads
Chicken pieces from jointed chicken (including skin)
Olive oil
Baby potatoes, boiled
Toasted baguette slices
Aioli

Method

  1. Bring the stock to a simmer, remove from the heat, add the saffron and set aside.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, auté the chicken in a little olive oil over a medium heat until golden all over; remove and set aside.
  3. Pour off the fat, lower the heat and sauté the leeks, fennel and garlic until soft. Add the stock and saffron and deglaze the pan.
  4. Add the tomatoes, wine, Pernod and thyme, bring to a fast simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Return the chicken to the pan together with any juices and simmer for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Lower the heat, season with salt and cayenne; add a little olive oil.
  7. Serve with the potatoes, baguette slices and aioli.

Oliver’s Jamie Oliver’s Chicken and Mango Cups

GUEST POST: OLIVER DOG

Serves: 2

I’m Oliver and I am 10 years old and I am Robby Dog’s eldest son. I got cooking from my dad, and I love to help him with his cooking at home. At Christmas my mum got me the Jamie Oliver 5 ingredient cook book.

So any who, back to my dish, it is made for summer and you can really only make it in summer. It is also was one of the first dishes I made from the book and I have only made it three times before.

It is personally my favourite so far.

So, I and we (my family) hope you enjoy.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, flattened to 2cm
1 mango, peeled and cubed, remaining pulp and juice set aside
2 tbsp of Hoisin sauce
1 bunch of cress (or rocket)
1 iceberg lettuce, leaves separated: lettuce cups

Method

  1. Set aside the cubed mango, cress and lettuce cups.
  2. Combine the hoisin sauce and mango pulp and juice.
  3. Heat a large pan over a medium heat and add some olive oil. Season the flattened chicken and then pan fry the chicken until browned on both sides and cooked through.
  4. Slice the cooked chicken into thin strips.
  5. Serve with the cubed mango, cress, mango/hoisin sauce and the lettuce cups.

Peruvian Chicken with Green Sauce

Serves: 4 – 6

Nat found this recipe and it is exceptional.

The flavours, the warmth, the whole thing is blow-away madness for a weekday meal… just ensure you marinate the chicken the night before, ditto the sauce the night before.

Just the chicken marinade alone makes the chicken taste like… anything but chicken.

Though it is the green sauce that takes the cake and brings the whole production home. It matches the big flavours of the chicken with even more big flavours.

Add to that the hot chicken contrasting with the cold sauce and you’ve smashed it on all levels.

(It sort of reminds me of the joke the boys tell me about a Coca Cola truck and a Menthos van crashing into each other.)

Anyway, well done Nat. I was a bit, ‘here is another chicken breast recipe’ though this is not another chicken breast recipe.

It is the chicken breast recipe.

More Peruvian cooking we will be doing!

Ingredients – Chicken

6 skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness

Marinade/basting sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh Jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

Ingredients – Green Sauce

3 medium Jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed
1 tbsp Aji Amarillo paste (optional)*
1 1/4 cups tightly packed fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves
3 tbsp Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp, canola oil
1/2 cup whole egg mayonnaise
Freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste

Method

Chicken

  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Set aside 1/4 cup to use as a marinade when cooking
  2. Place the flattened chicken into a large zip lock bag and pour in all the marinade except the reserved marinade for when grilling. Seal the bag and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Heat your grill high. Grill the chicken until cooked on both sides, basting with the reserved marinade. Once cooked, rest for 5 minutes.

Green Sauce

  1. Combine the ingredients except the mayonnaise in a food processor on high until smooth.
  2. Add the mayonnaise and blend until completely incorporated. Season with the freshly ground pepper and salt.
  3. Transfer to a jar or sealed container and refrigerate for a week.

Serving

  1. Thickly slice the cooked chicken breasts. Drizzle with the green sauce.
  2. Serve with… we didn’t continue with the Peruvian theme here with air fried Brussel Sprouts and hand-cut potato wedges cooked with chilli flakes, though anything will go. The chicken and the Green Sauce are your hero.

* Apparently you can find this sauce online and apparently it does add an extra level of oomph. We loved it without – as many others have commented – though if you can get, you’re all the better for it we are told.

Homemade Chicken Doner Kebab

Serves: 4

I guess a recipe like this doesn’t need an introduction, especially if it is true: that you can actually create a Chicken Doner Kebab at home.

You can.

And we did.

And it was spectacular.

I found this recipe on Instagram from Recipetineats, probably one of the most consistently positive, beautifully photographed, wonderful to follow food-bloggers out there.

And she is Australian to boot!

It isn’t Gordon Ramsay, though of course it isn’t. It is a Chicken Doner Kebab and so it is so much better.

Key is to marinate the chicken, double skewer the chicken thighs and let them bake above their juices.

I didn’t add tabbouleh which Nat was less than impressed about, though we did have hummus, chilli sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion and cheese and then toasted them in a pan to get the pita bread crunchy. (RecipeTin doesn’t ask for this though in my experience, all Lebanese/Pita breads are better toasted…)

11/10.

This is a Saturday dinner after a long lunch and it seriously nails it. Like any amazing kebab should.

Ingredients

1kg chicken thigh
Olive oil for drizzling
Long metal skewers

Marinade

1 cup plain Green yoghurt
3 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil

For serving: choose your usual favourites!

Lebanese bread/pita bread
Finely sliced iceberg lettuce
Tomato slices
Hummus
Tabbouleh
Red onion slices
Grated cheese
Chilli sauce (Sriracha)

Method

  1. Mix the marinade, add the whole chicken thighs, mix well and marinate in a bowl or a big zip lock bag for at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  3. Choose a pan that the metal skewers can sit across allowing the chicken to be elevated off the base of the pan.
  4. Fold the marinated chicken thighs in half and threat onto two skewers lengthways. Repeat, snuggly pushing the thighs against each other.
  5. You should fit 5 thighs this way; so repeat again with 2 more skewers and 5 more thighs so you end with 2 stacks of skewered chicken thighs.
  6. Prop each of the 2 skewers on the edges of the pan. Drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until charred.
  8. Remove, spoon the juices over the chicken, turn the chicken over, drizzle with olive oil and bake for another 30 minutes.
  9. Remove, baste once more and set aside for 5 minutes.
  10. To carve, stand the skewers upright and slice the meat thinly.
  11. The rest will be obvious: hummus and chilli on the Lebanese bread, chicken, tomato, lettuce, red onion, cheese, whatever: fold the bottom up, left and right and make a wrap.
  12. Toast in a hot pan.
  13. And call us over for dinner!

Chicken skewers: Moroccan-style marinade

Makes: 12 skewers

For Nat’s birthday, we got an awesome, portable, charcoal grill from Everdure, a company Heston Blumenthal has been promoting.

The idea was inspired by some Phillipino pork skewers we had cooked over a traditional hibachi grill at a market a few weeks prior; though a sensible, all-in-one charcoal grill versus a not so sensible, not so portable hibachi grill steered us in the Heston direction.

Anyway, we have loved the grill and the many skewers we’ve made with the boys and friends.

There is something neat about cooking your own meat over a super hot grill. Cold beer, sizzling meat, some dipping sauces… doesn’t get much better.

This marinade we have done twice and it has been really popular.

Make it the day ahead and marinate the chicken in a big ziplock bag. When cutting the meat, keep it small and consistent. Small cubes, not big off cuts.

If you can find chicken thigh with the skin on, even better… though however you do it, get the surface chargrilled and enjoy the taste of charcoal BBQ.

Ingredients

1.2kg chicken thighs

Marinade

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt flakes
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Cube the chicken into 2cm cubes, retaining the fat.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients with a few cracks of pepper. Marinate the chicken cubes with the marinate, ideally overnight, refrigerated.
  3. Soak bamboo skewers in a shallow dish of cold water for 30 minutes and then drain.
  4. Skewer the chicken tightly. Heat the grill on high. And cook those puppies, marinating with the remaining marinade as you go.

Adam Liaw’s Chicken Veloute Stew

Serves: 4

I am a big fan of Adam Liaw.

Since Masterchef fame, he has stepped it up big-time.

His Twitter account is very funny, he writes recipes for Fairfax Media and others, he travels extensively to cook and he serves up some really good dishes.

His food is obtainable and he writes ordinarily (in a good way) about it so that mugs like us can really feel his sentiment towards it… and the background to it.

This recipe is a really comfortable one and you only need to glance down the ingredients to know why.

You keep layering the vegetables and in the end, you have a whole dinner, starting with your chicken and ending with your broccoli and beans.

It is a Sunday-night sort of thing and with a bottle of red, some music and the lights down, it really is a great way to end the weekend.

Nat and I speak from experience!

(Note: the original recipe called for chicken wings… we are a breast and thigh family only, so I have updated the instructions below to reflect how we did it. Plus a few small changes to how the vegetables were prepped.)

Ingredients

8 chicken thighs, sliced
100gm butter
2 cups button mushrooms, halved
4 thick rasher bacon, cut into lardons
1 brown onion, sliced
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 liters chicken stocks
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1/2 small cabbage, roughly shredded
3 carrots, chopped
1/2 head broccoli, separated into florets
Handful of green beans, tailed
100ml pouring cream

Method

  1. Heat a little of the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-heat. Fry the chicken thighs until well browned though not yet cooked through; set aside. In the same saucepan, fry the mushrooms until well browned and set aside.
  2. Add the bacon and fry until browned, then add the onion and remaining butter and cook until the onions soften.
  3. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 3 minutes until a roux forms. Add the wine and chicken stock, a little at a time, stirring constantly to remove any lumps from the roux until you have a thick sauce. Season with salt and (white) pepper. Add the bay leaves, thyme, cabbage and carrots, reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced chicken thighs to one section of the pot. Add the mushrooms to another section. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the broccoli and beans in their own sections. Simmer for a further minute and then taste and adjust for seasoning.
  5. Pour the cream over the stew and serve.