One of my greatest failings as a parent is that I have produced children who don’t like mashed potato. How is that even possible? I mean potato, unholy amounts of butter and milk with plenty of salt and pepper, what is not to love. So, when I made these for #everyfuckingnight I was pretty nervous I’d be left eating them for days, but I totally tricked them with bacon, sourcream and cheese! Huzzah!
I based mine on a Pioneer Woman‘s recipe but used violently less butter and completely forgot to add the milk. I also didn’t have/couldn’t find the potatoes on steroids PW used.
While I’ve put some measures in this I strongly advise you to trust yourself and go largely by sight. PW used 8 super big potatoes, I used 6 smaller mid sized ones, probably about a kilo? So look, That’s what I did and they worked a treat.
Thursday’s radio spot saw me veer away from the sweets (quelle horror!) to show a steady course to one of my go-to one pan roasts. The big tip here is to have a rare moment of organisation when you buy your chicken pieces. Throw them in a snap-lock bag with the marinade before poping them in the freezer. It means on the night you’re going to have it all you need do is defrost the chicken, toss with the potatoes and roast. As my friend Beth says, BANG.
One pot wonder
1kg chicken pieces (drumsticks, wings, pieces that are on the bone)
one lemon, cut into chunks
few lugs olive oil
a handful mix of fresh herbs (eg tarragon, sage, parsley, thyme)
4 garlic cloves, slightly crushed but skins still on
one onion, cut into chunks
heaped dessert spoon of dijon mustard
good pinch of salt and a healthy grind of pepper
6 potatoes, cut into wedges
Combine the chicken with the marinade in a bowl or large snap-lock back and combine thoroughly
Marinate for a long as you’ve got – ideally a couple of hours at least
Preheat your oven to 180C
Tip the chicken pieces and potatoes into a baking dish and toss together, add a few more lugs of olive oil if everything’s not getting nicely coated with the marinade. You could probably sprinkle over some more salt and pepper here as well.
Bake for about an hour or until everything is nice and golden with some crispy bits and charred bits and basically a pan of ridiculous goodness.
So my mum used to cook. Then she got divorced, had to go back to work and basically raise two kids on her own so she stopped. It all happened around the time I discovered that I liked to cook, which was fortuitous. Even so, my mum doesn’t eat much – like pasta, tomatoes, chilli, anything with spices and so on and so forth.
That said, she makes a vegetable barley soup and a chop casserole I can never match.
But with a recent pocket of cooler weather I desperately needed a casserole, so attempt it I did. And lo, it came to pass that it was delicious.
Now the amounts below are, I confess, a bit of a guess. Casseroles are a moveable feast as far as I’m concerned, sometimes featuring a tin of tomatoes, sometimes some beer of some sort, sometimes mushrooms, you get the picture. So use the following as a lose guide rather than some ‘to be followed to the letter’. I’m just saying is all.
Lamb chop casserole
6 – 8 lamb loin chops
a piled heap of plain flour
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 heaped tblsp tomato paste
glass of red (or white) wine
1.5 litres of water or stock
4 potatoes (depending on size) halved or quartered depending on size
2 carrots, cut into chunks or thick fingers
handful or two of fresh herbs of choice, chopped
Preheat the oven to 180C
Season the plain flour with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Heat the oil in a large frypan
Dust the chops in the flour and sear in the frypan until you get good colour on them. Do this is batches and place the browned chops in a deep casserole dish as you go, throwing in some of the potatoes and carrots as you go
Once all the chops are done, add a splash more oil and brown off the onion and garlic
Pour the wine into the frypan and let it come to a rapid boil as you scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan into the winey oniony garlicky juices
Scatter over a good heaped tablespoon or two of the flour that you were using to coat the chops and cook off for a minute or two
Then add the stock in batches, stirring madly as you do so it doesn’t go lumpy. Never fear if it does, I’ve been known to take the whole lumpy mess and dump it into a jug and then blitz with the stick blender, then pour back into the pan as if nothing ever happened.
Somewhere in here add the tomato paste – sometimes I add it to the onions to cook it off a bit, sometimes I forget completely and just stir it in once I’ve got the gravy well underway
Add the herbs and cook for a little while – the trick here is that you don’t want it too thick nor too runny. But you know what? So long as it tastes good, it doesn’t really matter.
So, put the lid on, bang the whole thing in the oven and leave it there for at least two hours. The other day the one pictured above had almost four and the meat was just dissolving, which I find absolutely divine. In this instance I’d made a cartouche (sp?) of a piece of baking paper I had wet and scrunched up and then placed over the top of the casserole before putting the lid on. No idea if it made a difference but I felt fancy pants doing so.
Seriously, I think the name of this dish is even OTT for Nigella. The nutmeg was also a really good idea and lifted the dish to a new level. With the zest I just put bit shaved bits of zest in and pulled them out when I was mashing the rest, the recipe was a bit unclear if that was right or if it was meant to be finely grated. I didn’t have time to dwell on it. In fact, I’d probably add another apple. The amount of butter and cream is just ridiculous and yes, it did taste lovely, but I’m not one for saturated fat just for the sake of saturated fat. Would I make this again? Most definitely. But I would at least halve the amount of butter and cream. At least.
Heaven and earth mash
2.5kg floury potatoes
3 eating apples (Nigella used Pink Ladies, I used Granny Smiths)
zest of 1 lemon
175ml double cream
1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Peel and halve (or quarter if they’re really large) potatoes and cook in salted boiling water for 30 minutes.
Add the peeled, cored and quartered apples and lemon ride and cook for another 20 minutes or until soft.
Drain and put through a ricer or mash back into the hot pan in which you have let the butter melt with the cream while you are draining the apples and potatoes.
Add the nutmeg and season with some salt
Beat everything together and serve.
In the recipe Nigella talks about the two critical components to good mash – one is to puree them and the second is to aerate them. So, even though it’s all been mashed, you have to give it a good beating with a wooden spoon before serving.
She talks about how never ever make mash in a processor as it does something to the potato starch that means you end up with glue. I went through a phase of making mash in the processor because I liked that claggy glue silken smooth mash that you got, so there you go. Take from that what you will.