how to cook Porchetta

how to cook PorchettaThe Italian joint called porchetta is a magnificent roll of loin and belly pork flavoured with herbs and garlic, and good to eat hot or cold. We have a special way of making it at Lidgate’s to get the best crackling on the outside and the tenderest meat within. You can ask a butcher to partly prepare the meat for you, using the step photos overleaf as a guide to where the meat should be cut. Alternatively, get adventurous with a saw and have a go yourself. You’ll have to order a whole middle and trim off some pieces – a 10-cm (4-in) piece of belly, which can be used for a small roasting joint, and the ribs, which can be cooked as a starter or light meal – as these offcuts are too small for the butcher to sell separately.

Serves 10
1 x 9-bone pork middle
olive oil
sea salt flakes
about 8 sprigs of rosemary

For the herb and garlic paste
2 tablespoons roughly chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons roughly crushed fennel seeds
¼–½ tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ tablespoon sea salt flakes, plus extra for sprinkling
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
about 90ml (3½fl oz) olive oil
how to cook Porchetta
Prepare the porchetta as shown in the steps overleaf, or ask your butcher to prepare it for you up to and including step 4.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

Combine all the paste ingredients, adding enough of the oil to make a loose paste. Open out the meat and spread the paste over it, then roll and tie it as described in steps 7 and 8.

Weigh the joint and calculate the cooking time, based on 20 minutes per 500g (1lb). Place it in a roasting tray and lavishly oil the external fat. Sprinkle generously with sea salt flakes and tuck rosemary sprigs under each piece of string.

Roast the meat for the calculated time, checking it for readiness about 10 minutes before the end. It is done if the juices run clear when a knife is stuck into the thickest part, or when a meat thermometer registers 70°C (158°F). (Make sure the probe goes into the thickest part of the meat, and take the joint out of the oven when it is 5°C (40°F) under your target, as its temperature will continue to rise for a while.)
how to cook Porchetta
Transfer to a carving board and set aside to rest for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat out of the roasting tray and keep the juices warm.

Cut the meat into thick slices and serve hot with the reserved juices. It can also be served, hot or cold, with Salsa Verde.

Easter chicken, ham & mushroom pie

Here is one of our most popular pies, with chunks of ham and mushrooms complementing the chicken. It suits any gathering, but is perhaps especially appropriate at Easter because in times past the first farmyard birds were ready for the pot at that time of year.
Easter chicken
Serves 6–8
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.25kg (2½lb) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 3.5-cm (1½-in) chunks
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1½ teaspoons mustard powder or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 x 300-g (10-oz) piece of ham (preferably smoked), cut into 2.5–3.5-cm (1–1½-in) chunks
400ml (14fl oz) hot chicken stock
350g (11½oz) small button mushrooms
150ml (¼ pint) double cream
500g (1lb) puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
freshly ground black pepper

Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan and place over a high heat. When hot, fry the chicken in 2 batches for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is opaque. Transfer to a plate.
Easter chicken
Add the onions to the pan, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the tomato purée, mustard and herbs and stir well. Mix in the ham and the fried chicken. Pour in the hot stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are soft. Stir in the cream and let it bubble up briefly. Season with a few twists of black pepper. You shouldn’t need any salt as the ham provides this. Tip the mixture into a 30 x 20-cm (12 x 8-in) pie dish.
Easter chicken
Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the pastry so it is about 5cm (2in) larger all round than the pie dish. Cut 2.5-cm (1-in) strips from each edge of the pastry. Press these on to the lip of the pie dish, trim off any excess and brush with the eggwash. Press the pastry lid firmly on top of the pastry rim, then crimp the edges together to seal. Reroll the pastry trimmings and cut out shapes to decorate the pie, sticking them on with the eggwash.

Brush eggwash all over the pastry lid, then bake for 30 minutes, or until golden.

Lidgate’s feijoada with farofa & Brazilian vinaigrette

Lidgate’s feijoada with farofa & Brazilian vinaigrette
A traditional Portuguese dish, feijoada has been raised to an art form in Brazil. Here, this thick pork stew contains various salty meats and black beans in a tasty sauce. Feijoada scales up easily to feed a crowd – just keep the meat and bean ratio at 3:1. The traditional accompaniments include farofa (a toasted cassava mixture) and Brazilian vinaigrette (part sauce, part salsa). In Brazil, a feijoada often includes trotters and other offcuts, but this version uses more familiar meats for a British butcher’s version. If possible, start cooking the beans and meat the day before you’re planning to serve them.

Serves 8
500g (1lb) black beans, soaked overnight or for at least 5 hours
500g (1lb) salt brisket
3 bay leaves
1 x 250-g (8-oz) piece of smoked belly bacon with rind, off bone
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 x 250-g (8-oz) piece of fresh belly pork with rind, off bone
500g (1lb) fresh sausages, preferably spicy (some can be replaced with one or more pieces of salty meat, such as hot-smoked rack of pork rib, bratwurst, cooking chorizo or smoked loin of pork, and add a quartered pig’s trotter)
2 oranges, each cut into 6 segments, to serve

For the sauce
1 tablespoon lard or oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 red or green pepper, finely chopped
1 x 400-g (14-oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato purée
½ green chilli, deseeded (optional)

For the farofa
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
100g (3½oz) smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
150g (5oz) carrot, coarsely grated
125g (4oz) mandioca (toasted cassava flour) or 65g (2½oz) dry white breadcrumbs
25g (1oz) good-quality pork scratchings (optional)

For the Brazilian vinaigrette
3 sweet peppers of different colours, cut into small dice
1 red or white onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
½ chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2–4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drain the beans, put them in a large pan and cover with water. Add the brisket and the bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then skim off the froth, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. When hot, put the smoked belly bacon in a roasting tray and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

Put the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and brown the fresh belly pork on all sides.
Lidgate’s feijoada with farofa & Brazilian vinaigretteWhen the beans have been cooking for 1 hour, add both the belly and the cooked bacon. Cover and cook for another 1 hour, stirring occasionally to check the mixture isn’t burning or sticking on the bottom.
Lightly brown the fresh sausages (and bratwurst, if using) in the frying pan. Add to the beans and cook everything together for another 1 hour, until soft and tender.
Remove the meats and cut the rind off the pork and bacon and as much fat as you like, then cut the meat into large chunks about 2.5–3.5cm (1–1½in) square. Return the meats to the pan and stir well. The dish can be prepared up to this point a day in advance. Cover and chill until required.

Make the sauce at least 1 hour 15 minutes before serving. Heat the fat in a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the onion and garlic and fry gently until soft (10 minutes). Add the chopped pepper and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée and chilli (if using). Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or so.
Reheat the beans and meat mixture if necessary then stir in the sauce. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally so the beans don’t stick to the bottom and the sauce reduces slightly. The stew can be left simmering until you are ready to eat or are ready for seconds, but make sure the beans don’t catch on the bottom.
While the beans and meat are cooking in the sauce, make the ferofa and the vinaigrette. To make the farofa, melt the butter with the oil in a large sauté pan, then cook the bacon in it over a medium heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate.

Add the onion and garlic to the fat left in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft (10 minutes). Add the carrot and cook for a few more minutes, until slightly softened.
Stir in the cassava flour and cook for just a few minutes so that it absorbs the fat. Stir in the cooked bacon. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with pork scratchings, if you like.
To make the Brazilian vinaigrette, combine all the chopped vegetables and herbs in a bowl. Shortly before serving, season with salt and pepper, dress with the lemon juice and olive oil and mix well.
Serve the feijoada with rice, kale or cavolo nero, plus the farofa and Brazilian vinaigrette, putting an orange segment on each plate to refresh the palate. Also offer some chilli sauce on the side for those who like to spice things up.

Roast ham with marmalade crust or honey glaze

Roast ham with marmalade crust or honey glaze

Let’s start by clearing up a common confusion: ‘gammon’ is the name for an uncooked hind leg of pork; the name changes to ‘ham’ only once it is cooked, or cured and ready to eat. Roast ham is always a great dish to have for Christmas feasts and summer parties – indeed, for gatherings of friends and family all year round. We’ve used the fillet end, without the bone, because it has more meat and is easier to carve. If you want a larger ham, include the knuckle end as well. You can also buy just the knuckle end, but make sure it weighs at least 2.5kg (5lb) to get enough meat. This recipe gives two options for flavouring the ham: a marmalade breadcrumb crust or a shiny lemon and honey glaze.

Serves 8–10
1.5–1.75kg (3–3½lb) boneless smoked gammon (fillet end)
300ml (½ pint) apple juice
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
1 onion, quartered
14 cloves

For the marmalade crust
juice of 1 orange (about 60ml/2¼fl oz)
2 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons thin-shred marmalade
100g (3½oz) dry white breadcrumbs

For the honey glaze
1 tablespoon honey
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons water
1½ tablespoons soft brown sugar

If the gammon is very salty (it’s uncommon these days, but ask your butcher), soak it in water overnight. Alternatively, place it in a pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse it in fresh water.
Roast ham with marmalade crust or honey glaze
Put the gammon in a large pan with the apple juice, celery, onion and 2 of the cloves. Add enough water to cover and put a lid on the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 25 minutes per 500g (1lb). Transfer the ham to a roasting tray lined with baking parchment and allow to cool slightly. (This can be done a day in advance, in which case, cool completely, then wrap in foil and keep in the fridge.)

Strain the stock, discarding the vegetables. It’s delicious, with a slightly sweet edge from the apple juice, so keep it to use for soup or risotto.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.

Using a sharp knife, peel the rind off the ham, then cut off some of the fat, leaving a thickness of 1–1.5cm (½–¾in), or more if you wish.

To make the marmalade crust, put the orange juice and sugar in a bowl and stir to dissolve. Mix in the marmalade, then add the breadcrumbs, mixing first with a spoon and then with your fingers to combine well. Pat firmly on to the fat of the ham and put in the oven for 20 minutes, or until brown on top.
Roast ham with marmalade crust or honey glazeTo make the honey glaze, mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Use the tip of small, sharp knife to cut a lattice pattern of 12 large squares in the fat of the ham. Brush both fat and meat with the glaze. Stick a clove in the centre of each square. Put the ham in the oven for 10 minutes, then brush with another layer of the glaze. Roast for another 10 minutes and brush again with the glaze. Return the ham to the oven until the outside is nicely browned and caramelized, giving it a final brush of glaze at the end.

Eat your ham hot, warm or cold.

Rack of lamb with a pistachio & orange crust

Rack of lamb with a pistachio & orange crust

Although expensive, rack of lamb makes a beautiful dish for a special occasion. This one has a green-speckled crust made from pistachios and scented with orange. You can buy small racks of lamb, but a large one looks magnificent on the table to carve before your guests.

Serves 4
1 x 8-bone rack of lamb, chined and French-trimmed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

For the pistachio and orange crust
65g (2½oz) crustless white bread (about 3 slices)
leaves from a 20-g (¾-oz) bunch of basil
50g (2oz) shelled pistachios
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1–2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
30g (1¼oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper

Trim any excess fat off the lamb so there is just a thin covering about 5–10mm (¼–½in) thick.
Rack of lamb with a pistachio & orange crustTo make the crust, roughly tear up the bread and place in a food processor along with the basil leaves. Whizz briefly to get herby crumbs. Add the pistachios, orange zest and garlic and whizz until the nuts are roughly chopped. Add the butter, salt and a twist of black pepper. Whizz again, then tip the mixture out of the processor and knead it together.

Spread the mustard over the fat on the lamb, then press the stuffing evenly over it. Chill for 30 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.

Place the lamb in a roasting tray, crust-side up, and roast for 20–25 minutes (medium rare) or 25–30 minutes (well done), covering the meat with foil towards the end of cooking if the breadcrumbs are overbrowning. The timing depends on the size of the lamb, which varies according to breed and time of year. You can take the lamb out of the oven and cut into the middle to see how the meat is doing. (Don’t worry – you can push it together again so it looks like a complete rack when you carve.) If it looks too rare, return it to the oven for another 5 minutes or so, then check again at the cut. If you prefer, you can you can use a meat thermometer about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time to help get the meat to your liking:

60°C (140°F) for medium
70°C (158°F) for well done

Make sure the probe goes into the thickest part of the meat, and take the joint out of the oven when it is 5°C (40°F) under your target, as its temperature will continue to rise for a while.

When done to your liking, set the meat aside, covered with foil and a clean tea towel, and leave to rest for 10 minutes. (The resting time is crucial to redistribute the juices throughout the meat and make it evenly pink.)
Rack of lamb with a pistachio & orange crust
Carve the rack between the bones. The cutlet on each end will be slightly more cooked than the central ones, so give these to anyone who likes their meat less rare.

Share out any stray bits of crust and pour the juices from the pan over the meat. Serve with dauphinoise potatoes or buttery mash, a saucy vegetable such as ratatouille, and a green vegetable or watercress salad. And don’t forget to offer redcurrant or other fruit jelly.

Roast goose

Roast goose

Goose has come back into fashion in recent years as a winter and Christmas treat, even though it yields less meat than turkey and is more expensive. That’s because its rich flavour – closer to beef than poultry – and copious amounts of crisp skin make it one of the best birds to put on the table. What’s more, it generates plenty of fat, which can be saved for cooking other dishes. As a rough guide, a 4kg (9lb) bird comfortably feeds four people, a 5kg (11lb) bird feeds about six, and a 6kg (13lb) bird feeds about eight.
Roast gooseServes 5–6
1 oven-ready goose, about 4.5kg (10lb)
1 onion, cut in half
2 carrots
2 celery sticks, cut in half
1.25kg (2½lb) floury potatoes, e.g. King Edward 1 tablespoon plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stock
goose giblets, plus the neck
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
850ml (1½ pints) water

For the gravy
1 tablespoon plain flour
100ml (3½fl oz) red wine

Take the goose out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking so it doesn’t go into the oven stone-cold, but keep the bag of giblets in the fridge. Remove any excess fat from inside the bird if this hasn’t already been done. Prick the skin all over, especially on the fattiest parts. Season well with salt and pepper.
Roast goose
Preheat to oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

Place the onion, carrots and celery in a roasting tray and sit the goose on top. Calculate the cooking time: 20 minutes per kilo (2lb), plus 20 minutes. Place in the oven for the required time, spooning the rendered fat over the breast and legs about every 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the stock. Put all the ingredients for it into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, skimming off the froth, then half-cover and simmer while the goose roasts. Strain, discarding the solids, and keep hot.

One hour before the meat is due to be ready, toss the potatoes with the flour and season with salt and pepper. Carefully spoon about 6 tablespoons of the rendered fat into another roasting tray. Roll the potatoes in it and place on the top shelf of the oven for about 1 hour, or until nice and crisp, turning them after 30 minutes.

As ovens vary, check if the goose is done about 20 minutes before the end of the calculated time: either insert a knife into the thickest part of the leg to see if the juices run clear, or insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part to see if the temperature is 70–73°C (158–163°F). When the goose is done, transfer it to a carving board or plate and cover loosely with foil while you make the gravy.
Roast goose
To make the gravy, skim off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat left in the roasting tray. Place it over a medium heat and sprinkle in the flour. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Gradually pour in 500ml (17fl oz) of the hot stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumpiness. Pour in the red wine and bring to the boil, then simmer until slightly thickened.

Serve the goose with the roast potatoes and gravy, plus any other vegetables you like. The Apple & Cider Sauce is a good accompaniment with any leftovers.