I was originally planning to cook a Moroccan dish, the centre stage being Merguez Sausages but when I arrived at the Ginger Pig in Marylebone they didn’t have any!
The Ginger Pig is an acclaimed butcher, they began over 20 years ago, with a near-derelict farmhouse and three Tamworth pigs, and now farm over 3,000 acres of their own pasture and North Yorkshire moorland, and work with a small network of like-minded farmers to supply their seven London butchers’ shops.
At the heart of everything they do is good animal husbandry and welfare; livestock that is looked after well in the field will simply taste better on the plate.
So looking at the options available to me and searching deep in the grey matter for a taste tingling sensation I tried to conjure up a fitting recipe for another sausage, the Toulouse, which they did have in stock. I picked a hearty smoked variety.
I’m going to go of on a tangent here for a few moments (it IS relevant). I recently discovered that someone I worked with had a sister in the world of artisan food.
Della, the owner of Fox Gourmet Foods make an amazing range of Jelly’s, Jams, Sauces and Chutneys, being artisan you won’t find them in the larger supermarkets, only in smaller Deli’s and specialist food outlets.
When I was out getting my hair cut recently, I popped into our local deli (had not ventured in there for many months), and discovered they stocked some of Della’s products, so bought a jar of Green Grape, Apple and Lemon Thyme Jelly, with a plan to try it in a recipe.
Eureka moment, Rick Stein had published a nice looking dish in his Mediterranean Escapes Book, using Luganega Sausages from Italy that are fennel based, and braised with Potatoes and Lemon, I could do a twist on this and use the Toulouse variety and incorporate the Jelly from Fox’s to add to the flavour profile.
So, for this take on Sausages with Potatoes and Lemon you will need the following (as per the picture at the head of this post, adjust the vegetable volumes by eye/sense);
- 3 Sausages per person (get REALLY strong flavoured ones like Toulouse if you can, it makes a big difference)
- Waxy Potatoes such as Charlotte
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 Lemon
- 4 – 5 Shallots
- 2 1/2 Tbls Green Grape, Apple and Lemon Thyme Jelly
- 1 Clove Garlic
- Bunch Wild Garlic (In season at the moment)
- Optional – 1 Bulb of Fennel, shaved on a Mandolin. (I forgot to use mine, hence optional!)
- 1 Tsp Piment d’Espelette (available HERE)
- 1 Bunch Fresh Parsley
- Olive Oil
- 1 Glass White Wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc are good)
- Salt and Pepper to Season
Start of by quickly browning your Sausages in some Olive Oil and set aside, you can just see them in the white bowl in the upper left of the picture. Remove from the pan and add the Shallots, (thinly sliced), and then the Garlic clove, (sliced), and soften for a few minutes.
Then add the Glass of Wine and cook vigorously to evaporate the alcohol, add the potatoes which have been sliced into approx. 1 1/2 inch chunks and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in 2 1/2 Tbls of the Fox’s jelly until melted, you can see the flavoursome Jelly just as I had added it, in the picture above.
Next, sprinkle the Piment d’Espelette over the top. Piment d’Espelette literally means “pepper of Espelette” in French. It is a food product produced around the town of Espelette in Southern France, in the region known as Basque Country. This pepper is so famous that it has been given a protected designation by the European Union, ensuring that only peppers grown in the Espelette region may be labeled as “piment d’Espelette.” There are only 7 villages in the area that are permitted to produce it.
Finally, add the Sausages back into the pan, along with 2 Bay Leaves. Take your Lemon and Pare (remove the outer skin), with a Peeler, leaving the white bitter pith behind and add to the pan, then cut the Lemon in half and add the Juice, squeezing through your hands to catch the pips, (or use a sieve!!).
Cover, turn the heat down, and Braise for 45 Minutes, check occasional as you don’t want the potatoes overcooked.
A couple of minutes before your ready to serve, if you have managed to get some Wild Garlic Leaves, cut them in 2 c.m. lengths and add them to the pan, and finally chop the Parsley, add, and your finished.
Voila, thats it —- I was obviously tired when preparing this dish as I had purchased a Fennel Bulb to slice and add some crunchy texture, but forgot it altogether. I will be doing this dish again and adjusting some of the ingredients, including adding the Fennel, Doh!
My acid test when cooking is whether the Mrs! likes it. She is honest and critical, so if she does not like something, I will know very quickly.
The verdict, bl@@dy delicious, punchy Sausages, Lemony sauce, subtle Garlic and Thyme, the jelly added both consistency and flavour so I was really chuffed, as was the Mrs who polished her whole plate with nothing left.
Please look out for the Fox Gourmet Range, they are available online from specialist Deli’s google will assist you find your local supplier.
Review – Michael Neaves Kitchen and Whiskey Bar, Edinburgh
A recent trip to Edinburgh on business and I was looking for somewhere decent to eat. Many (not all) Hotels these days have tedious menu’s using words such as ‘classic’ that really don’t inspire confidence in me wanting to even try their food.
My research found Michael Neaves Kitchen and Whiskey Bar, a restaurant that has only been open for a couple of years, but with a head chef who is only 23, yes TWENTY THREE.
The menu had an excellent, but controlled mix of Seafood, Meat and Vegetarian dishes that really made your mouth water.
The main course of John Dory on Bisque, with Kale was absolutely stunning, the Fish was spot on, crispy Skin, but not overcooked, the bisque, subtle and not too overpowering. I have to say it’s probably the BEST fish dish I have ever eaten (and this guy is only 23!!).
This was one of the best meals I have ever had (The other 2 being both in Edinburgh, Tom Kitchen and Martin Wishart, both much much older, and with a Michelin star each).
So Michael, thanks for lovely food, your staff are fantastic, service being spot on, highly recommended and if I am back in the lovely city of Edinburgh, your restaurant is on my must re-visit list.
Till next time……….L8ers