Sunday, 19 October 2014

Roast Turkey Thigh Salad

Roast turkey thigh slices are served with a simple salad and a granary roll

We're approaching that time of year when turkeys will be bought and consumed in their millions - be it at Thanksgiving or at Christmas - but I always wonder why so many of us confine the enjoyment of turkey to just one special time of year. I buy turkey year round but rarely if ever in the form of a whole bird. I buy breast steaks for frying, diced breast meat for stir frying and perhaps most often of all, turkey legs and thighs for roasting. I bought this turkey leg and thigh last week and stuck the leg for the moment in my deep freeze. On what was an unseasonably warm Autumnal day, I roasted the thigh and served it cold as part of a simple but really delicious salad.

Turkey drumstick and thigh

Ingredients (Serves Two)

1 whole turkey thigh (bone in)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 generous handfuls of mixed salad (or as required)
2 granary bread rolls
Butter for the rolls (optional)
Homemade rowan and apple jelly to serve (or jelly of choice)

Elasticated webbing removed from turkey thigh


If your turkey thigh comes with elasticated webbing like this one, you should remove this prior to cooking. This will allow you to open up the thigh and season the flesh side with salt and pepper.

Turkey thigh ready for roasting

Your oven should be preheated to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.

Lightly oil a roasting tray and lay the thigh on it, seasoned flesh side down. Rub the skin with more oil and season with salt.

Turkey thigh is pierced at thickest part

Put the turkey thigh in to your oven for one hour. Unless the thigh is exceptionally large, this should be long enough to fully cook it but it is vital to ensure this is the case in every instance. The way I do this is by sticking a metal skewer deep in to the thickest part of the thigh, right through to the bone.

Checking turkey juices run clear

Remove the skewer and use it to lightly press down right next to the hole you have made and check the escaping juices are running completely clear. Any trace of red or pink whatsoever and you should put it back in to the oven for ten more minutes before testing again in the same way.

Roast turkey thigh

When you have ensured the thigh it fully cooked, lift it with a large spatula and carving fork to a deep plate.

Roast turkey thigh is covered and left to rest

Cover the turkey thigh and leave it for at least fifteen minutes to rest.

Carving roast turkey thigh

The turkey thigh should be carved on a board. It can then be served immediately if you wish but I re-covered the sliced meat and left it to cool completely.

Roast turkey thigh slices are plated

Divide the turkey slices between two serving plates before adding the salad and roll (buttered if desired). The jelly I served with this meal is homemade rowan and apple jelly which is more commonly served with beef or wild game but I think it worked very well with the turkey.

Granary rroll and salad are plated with roast turkey thigh slices

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Chicken Wings Chop Suey

Chicken wings meat with noodles and Chinese chop suey sauce

I recently started a brand new food blogging project devoted entirely to chicken wings recipes and hopefully devising new ways to prepare, serve and enjoy what is the favourite fast food of millions. I thought therefore I would share here just one idea to show the types of dishes I have been and will be creating. I know that the idea of chicken wings chop suey may sound strange to many as it may sound as though it will be difficult and messy to eat - but as you'll hopefully see below, that's definitely not the case.

Chicken wings and chop suey sauce

Ingredients per Person

4 whole raw chicken wings
6 ounce sachet Chinese chow mein stir frying sauce
1 individual nest serving of dried egg noodles
1/2 medium white onion
2 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil for stir frying

Tips are cut from chicken wings


On a suitable chopping board, chop the bony tips off the wings and discard. Note that occasionally, supermarket wings will already have had the tips removed in this way.

Chicken wings are marinated in chop suey sauce

Pour the chop suey sauce in to a large glass or stone bowl, add the wings and stir to ensure even coating. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade for half an hour but do not put them in the fridge as they should be cooked from room temperature.

Chicken wings are lifted to an oven tray for roasting

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6. Lift the wings to a non-stick roasting tray and reserve the remaining sauce. Cook the wings in the oven for half an hour.

Roasted chicken wings are rested and cooled

Take the wings from the oven, lift them to your (washed) chopping board or a plate, cover and leave to rest and cool for at least fifteen minutes. (Slightly longer is fine as the meat is going to be reheated anyway)

Dried noodles nest is added to a pot of boiling water

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil then carefully lift it from the heat. Add the egg noodles to steep and rehydrate for five minutes. Do however check the pack for possibly different instructions.

Noodles are carefully stirred in the water to ensure they separate

Stir the noodles carefully but regularly as they rehydrate to ensure they are separating.

Chicken wings meat and skin is plucked from the bones

With your hands, pluck the meat and skin from the bones of the wings. It's entirely up to yourself whether you wish to include the skin in the dish but it should be nice and crisp, so as most people would normally eat it anyway, I did include it on this occasion.

Onion half is chopped in to wedges

Cut your onion half in to three segments. This will allow you to separate each of them in to small leaves.

Noodles are thoroughly drained through a colander

Drain the noodles well through a colander.

Starting to stir fry onion leaves

Bring your wok up to a high heat and add the oil, followed soon after by the onion.

Reserved chop suey sauce is added to wok with onions

Remember the chop suey sauce has been in contact with raw chicken meat. It is imperative therefore that it be brought up to a very high heat to eliminate the risk of food poisoning. Pour it in to the wok with the onion and stir fry briefly until it is bubbling.

Chicken wings meat is added to wok with chop suey sauce and onions

The chicken meat and skin goes in to the wok next to be stir fried and reheated for thirty seconds or so.

Drained noodles are added to wok

When you add the noodles to the wok, use tongs to lift and mix them through the chicken and sauce to ensure everything is evenly combined. You are then ready to plate up and enjoy your dish.

Cooking tongs are used to lift and mix noodles through chicken and sauce

Monday, 1 September 2014

Sausage, Potato and Leek Pie

Sausage, leek and potato puff pastry pie

This dish was inspired by leftovers, as so many wonderful dishes often are. The leftovers component was the mini sausages which are Wee Willie Winkies (mini, skinless cocktail sausages) and which I had used in the preparation of an even more obscure experiment, Scrambled Quail Eggs with Sausages. I thoroughly enjoyed both meals but what pleasantly surprised me the most about this one was the wonderful smell that filled the house as the pie was cooking. You could serve this pie with another vegetable such as perhaps broccoli but for me on this occasion, everything I desired was already in the pie.
New potatoes ready for boiling

Ingredients (Serves Two)

6 or 7 baby new potatoes
8 slices (1/4"thick) from fresh leek
12 mini cocktail sausages
1/4 pint chicken stock (approximately)
1/2 pound puff pastry
Flour for dusting/rolling pastry
Beaten egg for glazing pastry

Boiled new potatoes need to be drained and cooled


The potatoes do need to be cooked by boiling before they are incorporated in the pie, otherwise they will be extremely hard and even inedible. Add them to a pot of cold, salted water and bring to a simmer for about twenty minutes. Drain and leave to cool.

Leek is sliced in to discs

When the potatoes are cool enough, you should find that the skins will virtually rub off by hand. The potatoes should then be halved.

Prepared potatoes and leek for pie

Combine the potato halves, leeks slices and mini sausages in the bottom of a suitable pie dish. This one is 10" by 7" and was the perfect size. Pour in enough cold chicken stock to form a depth of around half an inch.

Sausage, potato and leek pie filling is ready for pastry

Roll out the pastry on a floured board or surface until it is just large enough to comfortably cover the pie dish.

Rolled pastry is laid over pie filling

Crimp the pastry around the edges and trim with a very sharp knife.

Puff pastry is crimped and trimmed

Glaze the pie with beaten egg and cut a couple of steam vents in the centre. Lift the dish on to a baking tray and put it in your oven (preheated to 400F/200C) for about forty minutes or until the pastry is risen and golden.

Sausage, leek and potato pie is glazed and ready for the oven

Take the pie from the oven and allow it to rest for about ten minutes. If you are serving an accompaniment such as broccoli, you could use this resting time to prepare it.

Sausage, leek and potato pie removed from the oven

Cut the pastry in half as shown below and lift one half temporarily over the other.

Cutting in to sausage, leek and potato pie to serve

Use a slotted spoon to plate half the filling and lay the pastry on top to serve. Do the same with the second pie of the half.

Plating up sausage, leek and potato pie filling

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Scottish Venison Burgers

Scottish venison burgers with smoked venison slices and mini potato wedges

Venison is a perfect meat for making burgers. Where prepared and cooked properly, the burgers are sure to be among the most succulent and tender you have ever tasted. This particular recipe or serving suggestion, however, actually came about through a coincidence. I had the day before been gifted some smoked Scottish venison slices by a family member. I used some of them in the preparation of a simple but delicious Smoked Venison and Peach Salad but had a few slices leftover. When I saw these half price Scottish venison burgers on special offer in my supermarket, I knew almost instantly what I was going to do.

Scottish venison burgers

Ingredients (Serves One)

2 quarter pound spiced Scottish venison burgers
5 baby new Ayrshire potatoes (or equivalent)
Vegetable oil for frying
2 bread rolls
Handful of mixed salad leaves of choice
4 thin slices smoked Scottish venison
2 teaspoons rowan and apple jelly

Washed baby new Ayrshire potatoes


While burgers are of course more commonly served with fries, I am instead serving these burgers with mini little potato wedges. The first step is to wash (and if necessary, scrub) the potatoes thoroughly but leave the skins on. Cut them in half and add them to a pot of cold, salted water.

Potatoes are halved and ready for boiling

Bring the water to a simmer for about fifteen minutes until the skins are just starting to separate from the potato halves. Drain, allow to steam off for a few minutes then cover and allow to cool completely for a minimum half hour.

Starting to fry venison burgers

Check the instructions on the pack for how to cook your venison burgers. These burgers could be either shallow fried or grilled/broiled. I chose to gently fry them for five minutes on each side over a low to medium heat.

Washing salad leaves in cold water

Wash the salad leaves through a colander in cold water and set aside to drain.

Deep frying potato wedges

Deep fry the cooled potato halves in hot oil for about five minutes or until crisp and golden.

Salad beds on Scottish morning rolls

Cut the rolls open and shake the salad leaves fully dry. Arrange the salad between the two bottom roll halves.

Smoked Scottish venison

Carefully separate the smoked venison slices and lay two on top of each salad bed.

Smoked venison slices are arranged on salad beds

Drain the deep fried potatoes for a minute or so on some kitchen paper on a plate.

Deep fried mini potato wedges are drained

Carefully lift the cooked burgers on to the top of the smoked venison slices.

Venison burgers are laid on smoked venison and salad

We're coming up to the time of year where rowan trees (sometimes called mountain ash) will be heavy with ripe berries. If you've never tried this delicious jelly, you can find the simple recipe linked to in the ingredients list for this post. It goes superbly well with strong flavoured game like venison and also with beef. Add a teaspoon to each burger before closing over the top of the rolls and adding the potatos to the plate.

Rowan and apple jelly is added to vension burgers