Neil Perry’s Beef Chuck and Pea Pies

Serves: 4

Some nights simply call for a pie.

A few months back on a freezing Saturday, we agreed that we were heading for one of those nights.

And given that the finest pairing to a pie are peas, it was going to be hard to look past this pie from Neil Perry.

It is a pretty down-the-line pie recipe though that is kind of the point for “must have pie” nights. Beef that is falling apart, a cracking gravy and then those peas.

(Plus a proper mash where we diced in a raw eschallot – trust me, it’s brilliant.)

Open a bottle of red, put on a movie and boom, there’s pie night done!

Ingredients

1.25kg beef chuck, diced and cut into 3cm cubes, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp plain flour
80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
200ml red wine
200ml veal or chicken stock
150gm frozen green baby peas, defrosted
1 handful mint leaves, chopped
1 – 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked with 1 tbsp water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160c. Toss the seasoned beef with the flour until evenly coated.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan over a high heat. Add beef in batches and cook for about five minutes per batch until well browned, then remove. Add more oil to the pan if it dries out.
  3. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the tomato paste and 1 tbsp flour and cook for a minute or so. Add the red wine and stock and stir until the mixture boils.
  5. Return the beef to the pan, cover the pan with foil and cook in the oven for at least two hours or until tender. Stir through the peas and mint. Allow to cool, then chill in the fridge until cold. (“Warm filling will ruin the pastry.”)
  6. When the beef filling is ready, heat the oven to 180c. Divide the pie filling among pie dishes and top each with a piece of pastry large enough to hand over the edge of each dish.
  7. Press the pastry down firmly around the edges of the dish and brush evenly with the egg yolk. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, until puffed and golden.

Neil Perry’s Roast Duck with Cherries

Serves: 4

We don’t cook duck enough. None of us do.

Because every time we cook it. And eat it. We tell each other just how much we love it.

And how far too little we cook it.

We then promise to cook it much more.

And then we don’t.

And the cycle repeats.

In this Neil Perry recipe, I have omitted how to roast the duck; Neil’s recipe asks for two whole ducks, though you can just as easily get duck marylands – even duck confit – from good supermarkets.

The trick is to shred the duck, removing any fat and skin.

This recipe – we called ‘Duck and Cherries’ – was course #3 of #6 we served at our Long Lunch/Short Wedding and many guests said it was the standout:

The cherry sauce can be made beforehand and reheated with the duck. Serve with a salad of baby leaves and a garnish of finely chopped parsley and this would be a wonderful starter or main at any dinner party.

No question, it is a quacker cracker.

Ingredients

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
500gm cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen, which we used)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Balsamic vinegar
Baby leaves
Continental parsley, finely chopped

Method

  1. Place a pan over a medium heat and add the oil and butter and cook until foaming; add the cherries, sugar and salt and cook for about 15 minutes until soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat and give a really good grind of pepper.
  2. Places heap of the shredded duck meat onto each plate. Spoon over the cherry sauce, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and add another grind of pepper. Garnish with the parsley.
  3. Serve with baby leaves at the side.

Penne with meatballs and fresh tomato sauce

Serves: 4

I cooked a great Donna Hay spaghetti and meatball recipe a while ago. 

Though those meatballs didn’t get the tick of approval from the boys (8 and 5) simply because they were gone before the boys could get there hands on them. Given the target market for such a dish, getting such approval could be an important thing for you.

And so here is Neil Perry’s take on a classic. And classic it is.

There is nothing controversial about it and that is why the boys wolfed it down.

It is simply classic spaghetti and meatballs, a version so literally classic, that it’s great.

Sometimes, you don’t need to be fancy to be fancy.

Ingredients

25g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
350g minced pork
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pinch of chopped thyme
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan, plus extra
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g penne

Tomato sauce

60ml extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 anchovies
½ tsp chilli flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1kg vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and roughly chopped

Method

  1. For the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the garlic anchovies, chilli and a pinch of salt and cook over a low-heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Check the seasoning.
  2. For the meatballs, soak the breadcrumbs in the milk until soft and then mash with a fork.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in small saucepan over a low heat. Cook the garlic and onion for 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Set aside to cool.
  4. Place the pork, soaked bread, onion mix, parsley, thyme, tomato paste, 1 tbsp grated parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well so the mixture holds together. Form into small balls.
  5. Drizzle some oil in a heavy-based fry pan and cook the meatballs in batches. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce to heat through.
  6. Cook the penne. Add the penne to the tomato sauce and meatballs and toss gently to coat. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with parmesan and a generous grind of pepper.

Italian-style Zucchini and Parmesan Soup

Serves: 4

Wow this is a good soup!

Like, wow.

Neil Perry of course and reasonable quick to whip up, Nat and I cooked this for a Saturday lunch as part of a weekend of cooking and we were blown away.

We used a very good and aged parmesan and shaved it in; not the yellow stuff you get in the supermarket. Some warmed, crusty bread and wow.

We were warm and completely satisfied for the entire afternoon.

You must do this!

Ingredients

750gm green zucchini, cut into 1cm-thick pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch basil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
1½ liters chicken stock
125ml pure cream
40gm unsalted butter
40gm parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based sauce pan over a medium heat and add the zucchini, garlic, basil and a good pinch of sea salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the zucchini starts to soften.
  2. Add the stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 8 minutes.
  3. Pour the soup into the blender and pulse until well pureed though still with a bit of texture; not completely smooth.
  4. Return to the saucepan and stir in the cream, butter and the parmesan.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan and a good ground of fresh pepper.

Rockpool’s Peas with slow-cooked egg

Serves: 6 – 8

Nat and I served this as a side to Rick Stein’s wonderful Escalopes of Salmon with a Champagne and Chive sauce; we also served Rockpool’s twice cooked, thick, hand cut chips.

Rather than use tinned peas, we used frozen peas which would have reduced the intensity of the pea taste; next time, I’ll make the effort and use tinned peas. Also, rather than do the egg in a sous vide, we poached it for a few minutes.

(I’ve typed up the recipe this way, though by all means, if you have 2 hours, place your egg in the sous vide at 60c and gloat.)

This is a really effective side with no end to variations; lardons of jamon, stewed tomatoes, pecorino cheese shaved on top, mascarpone, whatever.

Better still, this dish shows you give a damn about serving dinner, complete right to the edges and sides.

Serve with steak, a braise or fish and show your guests that tinned peas didn’t in fact die in the Great War!

300g tinned green peas, drained, liquid reserved
1 egg
¼ c extra virgin olive oild (plus extra for drizzling)
1 French shallot (eschalot)
2 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove
½ dry long red chilli
180ml white chicken stock
lemon juice to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chiffonade flat leaf parsley, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. Poach your egg so the yolk will run.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the shallot, anchovy, garlic and chilli and sauté until soft and sweet. Add the peas, 2 ½ tbsp. of reserved pea liquid and the chicken stock.
  3. Flatten the peas with the back of a spoon and cook until they are soft, the liquid has reduced and the mixture has thickened. Season to taste with the lemon juice and salt and pepper. Stir through the parsley and spoon onto a serving plate.
  4. Very carefully crack the egg on top. Season to taste, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the extra parsley.

Neil Perry’s barbequed butterflied lamb leg with cumin, lemongrass and ginger, Italian-style coleslaw and vine-ripened tomato salad

Serves: 4

I pulled this recipe collection from The Good Weekend magazine in 2010 and only managed to get around to cooking it last night.

It is a real, Friday-night treat. Marinate the lamb during the day, pull it out of the fridge when you get home, get the grill clean and hot and whilst chargrilling the lamb, prepare the really simple and elegant salads.

With a glass of red, this is – and was – a great way to say hello to the weekend.

Ingredients

Lamb

1 lamb leg (about 2kg) butterflied
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 lemongrass stems, peeled and sliced into fine rounds
3cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 tsp roasted cumin seeds, half crushed to a powder, the rest whole
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
3 tbsp chopped mint
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
Lemon wedges to serve

Coleslaw

1 baby cabbage or half Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Shaved parmesan

Tomato salad

4 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into chunks
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Method

Lamb

  1. To make the marinade, put the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, cumin and salt in a motar and pound into a rough paste in the pestle. Add the herbs and pound for a further minute then stir in the olive oil and mix well. (You can also process in a food processor but don’t make too smooth a paste.) Spread the marinade evenly over the butterflied lamb and leave in the fridge for at least an hour to infuse, remember that the lamb need to be removed from the fridge an hour prior to cooking.
  2. Preheat the BBQ medium-high. Cook the lamb for about 6-8 minutes per side depending on your preference of rare to medium-rare. Remove and cover with foil. Rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Carve the lamb into 5mm slices and arrange on 4 plates, pouring over any of the resting juices onto the slices of lamb. Give a good grind of pepper, place a lemon wedge on each plate and serve immediately… with the…

Italian-style coleslaw

  1. Finely shred the cabbage.
  2. Put in a large bowl and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar over, at a ratio of three parts oil to one part vinegar. Start to toss the cabbage ensuring that it doesn’t become wet and only moist.
  4. Toss through the shaved parmesan – the more the better people – and serve… with the…

Vine-ripened tomato salad

  1. Season the cut tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve immediately… with…
  2. A bottle of red wine!

Neil Perry’s Wagyu Bolognese

 

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Best served to Captains of Industries.

Serves: 4 Kings and Queens

This is undeniably the Bentley of Bolognese.

It is simply magnificent. Like only Rockpool Bar & Grill could do.

I found the very best meat I could, I more than doubled parts of the cooking time and I found an amazing, thick Italian fettuccine to serve it with.

It is worth every second and cent you can throw at it. And when you reveal to your stunned guests that they’ve just silently eaten boring old spag bol, people will think you’re some of undiscovered Gordon Ramsay and immediately demand you sign up for Masterchef.

If only they knew all you had to do was spend half your night in the kitchen the day before prepping and cooking.

I have slightly adapted this as I did it. And don’t cut any corners. Finely chop everything, skin and deseed those tomatoes. Caremalise the veges on the lowest heat for as long as you can.

Ingredients

600gm minced ground Wagyu (I used Wagyu blade steak ground very coarsely)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
100gm speck, finely diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
400ml full bodies red wine
1.2kg vine ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, diced
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and chopped
500gm fettuccine 

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and speck, season to taste with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or more, until the vegetables have caremalised but are not burnt.
  3. Add the minced Wagyu, season with salt and cook, breaking up the beef with a spoon, for 5 minutes or until the beef is well browned. This will take much longer in practice as the liquid exits the beef; you’re done with the beef is browning or capable of browning and the juices have burnt off.
  4. Add the wine and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
  5. Add the tomato and simmer for about 45 minutes or until thickened. Add the thyme, check the seasoning.
  6. Combine the sauce with the cooked fettuccini.

Serve with 1 very small handful flat-leaf parsley, chiffonade, freshly ground pepper and freshly grated parmesan.

Neil Perry’s Beef Braised with Guinness

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Such a great cook book. Everything is a success.

Serves: 4 – 6 with a good dollop of champ or parmesan polenta

My favourite cookbook is Neil Perry’s The Food I Love. I’ve had it for years and have cooked so much from it.

The first recipe from it – years and years back – to christen a new Le Creuset pot was this beautiful braise. Since then, it is one of the first recipes I cook when the colder part of the year starts; that afternoon where you notice the chill and put on a good jumper.

It really does put a smile on your face as you snuggle up with a glass of red, a good serving of champ and some beans. Put on a movie, dim the lights and look forward to the coming months filled with meals like this.

Ingredients

1 kg beef shin, cut into 2cm cubes
Sea salt
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
2 fresh bay leaves
1 medium brown onion, chopped into 2cm cubes
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 2cm lengths
1 medium leek, white part only, cut into 2cm lengths
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 thyme sprigs
1c (250ml) Guinness (yes there is some left over and yes you should drink it – it’s cold!)
Freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. Remove the beef from the fridge an hour before cooking and season with sea salt.
  2. Put olive oil and bay leave sin a heavy-based saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over a high-heat. When hot, add half the beef and brown all over. Remove and repeat with the remaining beef.
  3. If need be, add a little more oil to the pan and add the onion to the pan and cook for 10 minutes over a gentle heat.
  4. Return the beef to the pan and add the carrot, leek, garlic, thyme Guinness and 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 1 ½ hours. Remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes or until the beef is tender and you’ve reached the right consistency.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and thyme and season with pepper. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

Neil Perry’s Pan-fried Polenta

Serves 4

If you cook this and serve it with a roast or a braise, it will replace mash as your go-to side. Hands down, money on it.

It is a Neil Perry dish (tick) and it continues (as far as I know) to be served in Qantas First and Business Class (tick). It can be prepared beforehand (tick) and people’s eyes light up when they taste it (tick).

It’s creamy, it tastes great, it sops up all the juices on the plate and it can be reheated the next day.

Tick tick tick.

None of us cook enough polenta. This dish will resolve that for you.

Ingredients

2/3 cup (100g) polenta
1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (50g) finely grated Parmesan
50g unsalted butter, chopped well
Freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin oil

Method

  1. Lightly grease a rectangular baking tin (or small baking dish as I did). Line the tin with baking paper.
  2. Bring the milk, stock and sea salt to scalding point (just below boiling point) in a large saucepan.
  3. Gradually shower the polenta into the milk mixture, stirring continuously with a whisk.
  4. Simmer, still stirring for about 40 minutes, or until the polenta is very thick and pulls cleanly away from the side of the pan.
  5. Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesean, butter, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spread the polenta immediately into the tin and allow to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours, or until firm.
  7. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the tin and gently turn out the polenta. Cut into eight slices thick.
  8. Quickly pan-fry the polenta slices in a little olive oil on both sides until lightly browned.

Neil Perry’s Warm Squid Salad

Serves: 4 as a share plate

It is after numbers like this one that you wonder why you don’t cook more squid! And if you don’t trust me, you have to trust that pretty much anything Neil Perry cooks is going to be wonderful.

It is an incredibly easy dish to do, it takes no time to prep and cook and it’s healthy sans the loaf of bread which unfortunately, is not optional!

The key to it all is to cook the different ingredients as fast as possible! And preferably, with the two of you cooking; it’s a fast-faced, hands-on, let’s both be rewarded sort of experience.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Spanish Onion roughly sliced
3 garlic, sliced
2 fresh Bay leaves finely sliced
Sweet Sherry
4 medium Squid Tubes sliced 2cm thick
4 Tomatoes blanched, quartered, peeled and de-seeded
½ bunch Parsley picked
Sea salt
Freshly Ground black Pepper to taste
2 Lemons juiced
Rustic loaf of bread to sop up sauce

Method

  1. Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan to very hot. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf and fry quickly.
  2. Add the sweet sherry, toss around and allow the alcohol to burn off as it quickly reduces.
  3. Add the sliced squid. Toss through for about 30 seconds
  4. Add the tomato quarters, parsley, salt and pepper.
  5. Finish with the lemon juice, a dash of extra virgin olive oil and a grind of pepper.