Cucina irlandese 1 - 2 - 3

IRISH SODA BREAD
Abrief history and introduction, and some recipes

Two main factors have long affected the course of Irish baking. The first is related to our climate. In this land where the influence of the Gulf Stream prevents either great extremes of heat in the summer or cold in the winter, the hard wheats, which need such extremes to grow, don't prosper. And it's such wheats which make flour with a high gluten content, producing bread which rises high and responds well to being
leavened with yeast. Soft wheats, though, have always grown well enough here.

The other factor, in the last millenium at least, has been the relative plenty of fuel. The various medieval overlords of Ireland were never able to exercise the tight control over forest land which landowners could manage in more populous, less wild areas, like England and mainland Europe: so firewood could be pretty freely "poached", and where there was no wood, there was almost always heather, and usually turf as well. As a result, anyone with a hearthstone could afford to bake on a small scale, and on demand. The incentive to band
together to conserve fuel (and invent the communal bake-oven, a conservation tool common in more fuel-poor areas of Europe) was missing in the Irish countryside. Short elapsed baking times, and baking "at will", were easy.

These two factors caused the Irish householder to bypass yeast for everyday baking, whenever possible. The primary leavening agent became what is now known here as "bread soda": just plain bicarbonate of soda, to US and North American users. Hence the name "soda bread". But for a long time, most of the bread in Ireland was soda bread -- at least, most of it which was baked at the hearthside ("bakery bread" only being available in the larger cities). Soda bread was made either "in the pot", in yet another version of the "cloche" baking which is now coming back into vogue, but which was long popular all over medieval Europe: or else on a "bakestone", an iron plate usually rested directly in/on the embers of a fire. From these two methods are descended the two main kinds of soda bread eaten in Ireland, both north and south, to the present day.

In Ireland, "plain" soda bread is as likely to be eaten as an accompaniment to a main meal (to soak up the gravy) as it's likely to appear at breakfast. It comes in two main colors, brown and white, and two main types: "cake" and "farl". The latter are primarily regional differences. People in the south of Ireland tend to make cake: people up North seem to like farl better (though both kinds appear in both North and South, sometimes under wildly differing names). "Cake" is
soda bread kneaded and shaped into a flattish round, then cut with a cross on the top (to let the bread stretch and expand as it rises in the oven) and baked on a baking sheet. Farl is rolled out into a rough circle and cut through, crosswise, into four pieces (the "farls": farl is a generic term for any triangular piece of baking) and usually baked in a heavy frying pan or on a griddle, on top of the range rather than in the oven. You may hear either of these breads referred to locally as "brown cake", "soda cake", "soda farl", "brown farl", "wheaten bread", and any combination of numerous other weird terms. (Yes, it gets confusing. You learn pretty quickly at the baker's to point and say, "Please, just give me one of those.") -- A quick note here, as well: while traveling around my old haunts in the US, I've noticed that
almost every time someone makes soda bread over there, they automatically put fruit in it. This is not the normal approach in Ireland. People do put raisins, currants and so forth in soda bread, but almost always as a "tea bread", not in the "plain soda" which is the stuff of everyday consumption.

With all this said, the basic bread is extremely simple. The urge to be resisted is to do more stuff to it than necessary...this is usually what keeps it from coming out right the first few times. Once you've mastered the basic mixture, though, you can start adding things, coming up with wonderful variations like treacle bread and so on.

* * *

Here's the basic recipe for white soda bread. All these measures are approximate: flour's volume and liquid-absorptive capabilities, in particular, will vary depending on the local humidity.

450 g / 1 lb / 3 1/2 cups flour (either cake flour
or all-purpose: but cake flour works better)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Between 200-300 ml / 8-10 fluid ounces sour milk,
buttermilk, or plain ("sweet") milk, to mix

Buttermilk is usually the preferred mixing liquid: its acidity helps activate the bicarb, releasing the CO2 which makes the bread rise.

"Sour milk" isn't milk that's gone bad. It's milk which has had a couple of teaspoons of buttermilk stirred into it, has been put in a scalded container and wrapped in a towel, and left in some peaceful corner at about 75 degreesF for 24 hours. The original Irish name is bainne clabhair (BAHN-yeh clavAIR), "clabbered milk", or "bonnyclabber" as the Scots have anglicized it. The flavor isn't quite as tart as
buttermilk, but there's enough acid to make the bicarb react
correctly. If you don't have time to do sour milk, buttermilk will do perfectly well. "Sweet" or plain milk doesn't work quite as well, but you can still use it: just add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to the recipe.

First, decide whether you're making farl or cake. If farl, find your heaviest griddle or non-sloping-sided frying pan (cast iron is best), and put it on to preheat at a low-medium heat. (You're going to have to experiment with settings. Farl should take about 20 minutes per side to get a slight toasty brown.) If making cake, preheat the oven to 450 F and find a baking sheet. Full preheating is vital for soda bread.

Sift the dry ingredients together several times to make sure the bicarb is evenly distributed. Put the sifted dry ingredients in a good big bowl (you want stirring room) and make a well in the center. Pour about three-quarters of the buttermilk or sour milk or whatever in, and start
stirring. You are trying to achieve a dough that is raggy and very soft, but the lumps and rags of it should look dryish and "floury", while still being extremely squishy if you poke them. Add more liquid sparingly if you think you need it. (You may need more or less according to conditions: local humidity and temperature, the absorptiveness of the flour you're using, etc.)

Blend quickly (but not too energetically!) until the whole mass of dough has become this raggy consistency. Then turn the contents of the bowl out immediately onto a lightly floured board or work surface, and start to knead.

The chief concern here is speed: the chemical reaction of the bicarb with the buttermilk started as soon as they met, and you want to get the bread into the oven while the reaction is still running on "high". DON'T OVERKNEAD. You do not want the traditional "smooth, elastic" ball of dough you would expect with a yeast bread; you simply want one that contains almost everything that went into the bowl, in one mostly cohesive lump. You should not spend more than half a minute or so kneading...the less time, the better. You don't want
to develop the gluten in the flour at all. If you do, you'll get a tough loaf. Don't be concerned if the dough is somewhat sticky: flour your hands, and the dough, and keep going as quickly as you can. There is a whole spectrum of "wetness" for soda bread dough in which it's possible to produce prefectly good results: I've found that farl in particular sometimes rises better if the dough is initially wet enough to be actively sticky. You're likely to have to experiment a few times, as I said, to come to recognize the right texture of dough.

Once you're done kneading, shape the bread. For cake, flatten the lump of dough to a slightly domed circle or flat hemisphere about 6-8 inches in diameter, and put it on the baking sheet (which should be dusted lightly with flour first). Then use a very sharp knife to cut a cross right across the circle: the cuts should go about halfway
down through the sides of the circle of dough, so that the loaf will "flower" properly. If you're making farl, use the same very sharp knife to cut the circle of dough into four wedges. Try not to crush or compress the dough where you cut it (if the knife is sharp enough, you won't). A clean slicing motion is what's called for.

Then bake. When putting cake in the oven, handle it lightly and don't jar it: the CO2 bubbles are vulnerable at this point of the process. Let the bread alone, and don't peek at it. It should bake for 45 minutes at 400-450F. (One local source suggests you give it the first 10 minutes at 450, then decrease to 400. I would agree with this.)

If making farl, dust the hot griddle or frying pan with a very little flour, and put the farls on/in gently. The cut edges should be 1/2 inch or so apart to allow for expansion. Give the farls 20 minutes on a side: they should be a sort of mocha-toasty color before you turn them. Keep an eye on the heat -- they scorch easily. The heat should be quite
"slow". When finished, take the farls off the heat and wrap them in a light dishtowel, hot side down. (The residual steam works its way up through the soda bread and softens the crust formed by the process of baking on the griddle, making it more amenable to being split and toasted later.)

If you're making cake: At the end of 45 minutes, pick up the loaf and tap the bottom. A hollow-ish sound means it's done. For a very crunchy crust, put on a rack to cool. For a softer crust, as above, wrap the cake in a clean dishcloth as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Both ways, the soda bread is wonderful sliced or split and served hot, with sweet butter and/or the jam or jelly of your choice.

Soda farl is also one of the most important ingredients of the Ulster Fry, the world's most dangerous breakfast (nothing whatsoever to do with its area of origin: it's the cholesterol....). Fried eggs, fried Irish bacon, fried soda farl, fried potato farl (a 1/4-inch thick potato bread, also cooked on a griddle), fried black pudding, fried sausages, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms...you get the picture. Not to be eaten every morning, and not for those closely watching their fat intake...but wonderful every now and then.

Some people have begun resurrecting the art of baking soda bread "in the pot", on the hearth, as was done in this country for many years before the average householder could afford a luxury like an oven. The traditional vessel is a kind of Dutch oven which has come to be known on this side of the water as the "Bastable oven". This is an iron pot about 18-20" in diameter, with a concave lid. The bread (treated as for "cake") would be put in the preheated pot: the pot would be
covered and put down into the coals of the fire, and more coals piled on top. This approach produces a soda bread which rises wonderfully and bakes with great evenness. The smell ofthe bread, suddenly released on opening the pot, is ravishing.

* * *
VARIATIONS:

"Spotted Dog":

Add raisins, and maybe another teaspoon of sugar.

"Currant soda":

1 1/2 lb flour, 4 oz currants, 4 oz raisins, 2 oz mixed
candied peel, 3 oz butter, 1 tsp bicarb, 1 tsp cream of
tartar, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, buttermilk to
mix (judge it by eye, as above). Sieve the dry ingredients
together; rub in the butter; add the fruit. Add the
buttermilk, roll out very lightly, cut into farls, and
bake as for farl above.

"Golden soda":

substitute about 1 cup of fine-ground cornmeal for a cup
of the flour. One of my sources tells me this works better
as cake than as farl.

A really heretical variation:

Add chopped Jalapeno peppers to the dry ingredients. Mix
and bake as above. (Diane adds: Mum will probably whack
me one if she ever catches me doing this. But it does
taste wonderful.)

* * *

For "Brown soda" / "wheaten bread":

4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
Scant 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups sour milk or buttermilk

Mix and bake exactly as for "plain soda" above. If you have trouble with this one rising, your local mixture of whole wheat flour may be responsible: try decreasing the amount of whole wheat and increasing the white flour.

* * *

"Treacle bread":

2 tablespoons dark molasses
7 fl oz milk (approximately)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 lb flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Good pinch of ground ginger

Heat the molasses and milk together. Mix all dry ingredients together: add liquid until a soft dough is achieved. With floured hands, shape into a round cake about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into farls, put on a floured baking sheet and bake at 400F for 40 minutes.

Gingerbread Loaf

6 oz Flour
3 oz Rice flour
2 oz Treacle (by weight)
2 oz Butter
2 oz Ground almonds
1/4 lb Raisins
2 oz Candied peel
1/2 ts Ground ginger
1 Egg
3 tb Sour milk or sour cream
1/2 ts Bread soda

Sift flour with soda and ginger, mix with rice flour and
rub in the butter. Stir in ground almonds, halved raisins
and sliced peel. Mix treacle with milk or sour cream and
well-beaten egg, and mix with the dry ingredients. Turn into
a well-buttered pan and bake 1 1/4 hours in a moderate oven
(375F).

Makes 5 servings.

Seed Luncheon Loaf

1 lb Flour
4 oz Margarine
2 oz Butter
6 oz Sugar
2 ts Baking powder
1 ts Caraway seeds
3 oz Candied peel
2 Eggs
A little milk
1/4 ts Salt

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Rub in margarine and butter, add sugar, seeds and thinly sliced peel. Add beaten eggs with enough milk to make a light dough. Place in a well-greased loaf pan and bake 1-1/2 hours in a moderate oven (375F).

Makes 6 servings.

Basic Scones

3/4 lb Flour
1 ts Baking powder
3/4 ts Salt
3 tb Margarine or other fat
2/3 c Milk (roughly)

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in the shortening. Mix in the milk to make a soft dough. When kneaded, rolled and cut out, bake 10-12 minutes in a hot oven (450F).

Makes 6 servings.

Variation: Apple Scones

Additional ingredients:
2 oz Sugar
1 c Minced apples
1 Beaten egg

Add the above to the basic scone mixture, mix well, put in a flat greased pan, and bake 25 minutes in a hot oven (450F). Cut into sections when done: split, butter and serve hot. Dust the tops thickly with granulated sugar.

Variation: Fruit Scones

Additional ingredients:
1/4 lb Raisins, sultanas or currants, or a mixture of all three

Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 450F.

Variation: Jam Scones

Follow the basic recipe. Roll 1/4 inch thick. Cut into three-inch rounds with floured cutter. Place a teaspoon of any jam in center, fold over, press edges together tightly, brush the tops with milk or beaten egg, and bake 10-12 minutes in hot oven (450F).

Buttermilk Scones

1 lb Flour
1 ts Bicarbonate of soda
1/2 ts Salt
3 oz Shortening
3/4 c Sour milk or buttermilk

Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add shortening. Beat egg slightly, add milk, add to first mixture. Roll out about 1/2 inch thick, cut with fluted cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake in hot oven (450-475F) about 15 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.
Snacks & Appetizers

Potted Chicken

1 Large chicken (about 4 lb)*
2 T Butter
1 Shallot or small onion
1 pinch Ground cloves
1 pinch Ground allspice
300 ml Chicken stock
12 Slices bacon
Salt and pepper
8 oz Clarified butter

* Or two small ones. -- Boil the chicken(s) lightly. Remove the meat from the chicken, then bone and skin it. Mince until fairly fine. Season with salt, the pepper, and spices, and the finely chopped onion or shallot, then stir in stock and run through blender or food processor.

Butter well a deep casserole or dish and stretch the bacon slices with a knife, then line the dish with them, reserving some for the top. Pour in the meat mixture and level off. Dot the top with butter. Lay the rest of the bacon on top. Cover with foil and a lid. Stand the casserole in a container of hot water reaching halfway up the side of the casserole. Bake at 180C/350F for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. When ready, run a knife around the edges and leave to get cold. When cold, press down with a spoon, pour the clarified butter over the top, and keep in a cold place until needed. Serves 8-10.

Blarney Cheese Stones

1 cup shredded Swiss, Blarney or Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped ham
1/4 cup chopped cooked spinach
3 tablespoons mango chutney
2 packages refrigerated biscuits (10 per package)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Combine cheese, ham, spinach and chutney.

Separate biscuits and flatten each into 3-inch circle. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon cheese mixture into center of each circle. Fold over enough dough to seal edges, using a little cold water if necessary. Place seam-side down on greased baking sheets.

Beat together egg and milk, and using pastry brush coat each biscuit. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 12 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Makes 20 cheese biscuits.

Per biscuit: 144 calories; 7.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat; 47 percent calories from fat); 18 mg cholesterol; 385 mg sodium; 14.0 g carbohydrates.

Soups & Stews

Parsnip And Apple Soup

1 T Butter
1 lb Parsnips, thinly sliced
1 lb Apples, peeled/cored/sliced
1 Med. onion, chopped
2 t Curry powder
1 t Ground cumin
1 t Ground coriander
1/2 t Cardamom
1 Large clove garlic, crushed
1-1/4 l Beef or chicken stock
150 ml Cream
Salt and pepper
Chopped chives or parsley

Heat the butter, and when foaming, add the parsnips, apples, and onions. Soften them but do not let them color. Add the curry powder, the spices and garlic; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring well. Pour in the stock slowly, stirring until well mixed. Cover and simmer gently for about half an hour, or until the parsnips are quite soft. Taste for seasoning. Sive or liquidize, and if it seems too thick, dilute with a little stock or water. Add the cream and reheat, but do not let it
boil. Serve garnished with chopped chives or parsley.

Serves 6.

Fresh Pea Soup

350 g Peas, freshly shelled
2 T Butter
1 Medium-sized onion, chopped
1 Head iceberg lettuce/chopped
1 Sprig mint, chopped
1 Sprig parsley, chopped
3 Strips bacon, chopped
1-1/2 l Ham stock
Salt and pepper
Sugar
Chopped parsley

After shelling the peas, save the pods, wash them and put them to boil in the ham stock while preparing the soup. Heat the butter in a large saucepan and soften the onion in it, then add the lettuce, mint and parsley. De-rind and chop
the bacon. Fry it for about 2 minutes, turning it from time to time; add to the saucepan with the peas, salt, pepper and a small amount of sugar. Strain the stock and add. Bring to the boil, stirring, then simmer for about half an hour
until the peas are quite soft. Sive or liquidize, taste for seasonings and add a little milk or cream if needed (but not too much, for the fresh flavor must be preserved). Garnish with chopped parsley or mint.

Makes 6 servings.

Sorrel Soup

1 lb Sorrel
3 oz Butter
Large onion, chopped
2 T Flour (heaped)
2-1/2 l Stock
2 T Breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
2 Egg yolks
150 ml Cream

Wash the sorrel well and chop it up. Heat the butter in a saucepan and just soften the sorrel and onion in it. Shake the flour over the vegetables and mix well. Let it cook for about 1 minute. Meanwhile bring the stock to the boil, then
add to the pan. Add the breadcrumbs, season to taste, and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 1 hour covered. (It can be liquidized at this point, but needn't be.) Beat the egg yolks with the cream and add a little of the hot soup to
the mixture, stirring well; then add gradually to the soup pot, stirring well, over the heat, but being careful not to let it boil.

Serves 8.

Irish Stew

3 pounds lamb
Butter, optional
4 large baking potatoes, divided
4 medium onions, divided
2-1/2 cups water
Salt
Ground black pepper
2 large carrots, scraped and sliced
1 tablespoon minced parsley

Because the word "stew" means to cook a long time and because stewing will tenderize the toughest pieces, we recommend shoulder. Cut off as much fat as you can, and remove any bones. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.

Throw some of the fat into a Dutch oven or large pot, or use a couple of tablespoons of butter. Over medium heat, melt enough fat to make a couple of tablespoonfuls. Remove the rest of the fat and throw it away.

Brown the meat in the rendered fat. Peel and slice 2 potatoes. Add the slices to the pot. Peel and chop 1 onion and add it to the pot. Pour in the water. Season with a little salt and pepper, to taste. Bring the liquid to a boil. Skim off any scum and discard. Reduce heat to very low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Peel the remaining 2 potatoes. Cut them in half lengthwise and slice into 1/4-inch pieces. Add to the pot. Peel the other 3 onions, cut them into eighths, and add them to the pot. Add the carrot slices.

Return the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for another hour. Serve in soup bowls, each bowl garnished with a little of the parsley.

The recipe will serve six. Serve with Irish soda bread.

Per serving: 580 calories; 20.9 g fat (8.2 g saturated
fat; 32 percent calories from fat); 45.3 g carbohydrates, 166
mg cholesterol; 229 mg sodium.

Potato, Bacon and Mussel Soup With Oatmeal-Herb 'Crust'

Along with the potato, food from the sea has sustained the Irish for centuries. As an alternative to the meat recipes above, here's a hearty soup that combines the distinctive flavor of mussels with the simplicity of Irish bacon and
potatoes. The recipe was developed by Chef James Bowe of the Dublin College of Catering.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white wine
1 pound mussels, washed and debearded

2 tablespoons oil
4 slices thick bacon, diced
3 leeks, washed end diced
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart chicken stock or canned broth

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Irish steel-cut oatmeal (such as McCann's)
Salt, pepper
1 tablespoon mixed herbs (parsley, dill, chives)

Bring water and wine to boil in large saucepan. Add mussels and steam, covered, 5 minutes or until mussels open. Discard any mussels that do not open. Remove mussels from shells and reserve cooking liquid.

Heat oil in large soup pot. Add bacon, leeks and onions and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add potatoes and cook 2 minutes longer. Add stock and thyme and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in reserved mussels and cooking liquid and cook 4 to 5 minutes longer.

Melt butter in small pan and saute oatmeal until lightly browned. Add salt, pepper and herbs and stir together. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with oatmeal mixtureon top. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 579 calories; 22.6 g fat (6.9 g saturated fat; 35 percent calories from fat); 78 mg cholesterol; 715 mg sodium; 58.2 g carbohydrates.

Main Dish

Boiled Bacon And Cabbage

2 1/2 lb Collar of bacon Medium-sized cabbage

NOTE: in Ireland, "bacon" can mean *any* cut of pork exceptham. When people here want what North Americans call bacon, they ask for "rashers" or "streaky rashers". As far as I can tell, "collar of bacon" is a cut from the hock, picnic shoulder, or shoulder butt (I am here using terms from the diagram in THE JOY OF COOKING). You want any thick cut of pork, with or without bones, about four inches by four inches by four or five inches. It does not have to have been salted first, but if you want to approximate the taste of the real Irish thing, put it down in brine for a day or two, then (when ready to cook it) bring to a boil first, boil about 10 minutes, change the water, and start the recipe from the
following point.

Place the joint in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, Remove the scum that floats to the surface. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours (or 30 minutes per pound). Cut cabbage into quarters and add to pot. Cook gently for about 1/2 hour, or until cabbage is cooked to your liking. (Test constantly: don't overdo it!) Drain, and serve with potatoes boiled in their jackets, and a sharp sauce -- mustard or (if you can get it) HP sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Trimlestown Roast Sirloin

3 lb Sirloin roast
2 fl Whiskey
10 fl Red wine
1 oz Butter
2 oz Flour
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Wipe meat, season and place in a roasting pan. Place pan in oven and cook for one hour. Add the whiskey and wine to the pan. Cook for a further hour, basting once more. Remove the roast from the pan, place on a serving dish and keep warm. Pour off excess fat from the meat
juices, adding water to bring to about 15 oz. Beat the butter into the flour to form a smooth paste. Add a little of the juices to this and mix well, then pour onto juices, mixing again, and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 2-3 minutes
to cook flour. Correct the seasoning. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more water. Serve separately in a gravy boat. Jacket or mashed potatoes, and a cooked green vegetable (possibly broccoli) go well with this, since the sauce is so rich.

Makes 4 servings.

Durgin Park Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 pound kosher salt
1 gallon water
1 fresh brisket of beef (7 to 8 pounds)
6 whole bay leaves
8 to 10 black peppercorns
1 large head cabbage, cored and quartered
1 bunch carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
8 large potatoes, peeled and halved

Mix together salt and water in large nonreactive pot. Add brisket and allow to cure at least 48 hours. (Beef must becompletely covered, so double the brine recipe if necessary.)

Drain meat and add fresh water to cover along with bay leaves and peppercorns. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until fork-tender.

During last 45 minutes of cooking time, add cabbage, carrots and turnip.

If size of pot allows, add potatoes as well. (Alternately carrots, turnip and potatoes can be boiled separately.) Allow beef to cool down 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Makes 14 to16 servings.

Note: The analysis is based on 14 servings.

Per serving: 618 calories; 35.0 g fat (11.6 g saturated fat; 51 percent calories from fat); 178 mg cholesterol; 2,102 mg sodium; 38.3 g carbohydrates.

Irish Pot-roasted Chicken

Chicken, about 4.5 lb
4 oz Oatmeal
Medium onion, chopped
2 T Butter
3 T Stock
Salt and pepper
6 oz Bacon
3 Med. onions, sliced
2 lb Potatoes
Seasoned flour
3 T Dripping or oil
4 Med. carrots, sliced

If there are giblets with the bird, take them out, wash all but the liver (reserve that for another use), and cover with water, add salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for half an hour. Wipe the bird inside and out and remove any lumps of fat from the inside; sprinkle with salt. Mix together the oatmeal, chopped onion, butter or suet, stock, and seasoning, stuff the bird with this mixture and secure well. Heat the dripping or oil and lightly fry the bacon, then chop and put into a casserole. Quickly brown the bird in the same fat and put on top of the bacon. Soften the onionand briefly saute the carrots, then add to the casserole.

Strain the giblet stock and make it up to about 1/2 liter. Heat and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook in a moderate oven (350C) for about an hour.

Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into thick slices and blanch them in boiling water, or steam them for about 5 minutes. Toss them in seasoned flour and add them to the casserole, adding a little more of the giblet stock if needed. Cover with
buttered wax paper and continue cooking for another 1/2 hour, taking off the paper for the last few minutes for browning.

Serves 4.

Chicken And Leek Pie

6 oz Shortcrust pastry
4 lb. chicken (approx.), jointed, chopped, and boned
4 Slices ham steak
4 Large leeks, cleaned/chopped
Med. onion
Salt and pepper
1 pinch Ground mace or nutmeg
300 ml Chicken stock
125 ml Double cream

Make the pastry and leave it in a cold place to rest. Meanwhile prepare the pie. IN a deep 1 - 1 1/2 quart dish, place layers of the chicken, the ham, leeks and onion or shallot, adding the mace, nutmeg and seasoning, then repeating the layers until the dish is full. Add the stock, then dampen the edges of the dish before rolling out the pastry to the required size. Place the pastry over the pie and press the edges down well. Crimp them with a fork. Make a small hole
in the center. Roll out the scraps of pastry and form a leaf or rosette for the top. Place this very lightly over the small hole. Brush the pastry with milk, and bake at moderate heat, 350F, for 25-30 minutes. Cover the pastry with damp
greaseproof paper when partially cooked if the top seems to be getting too brown. Gently heat the cream. When pie is cooked, remove from oven. Carefully lift off the rosette and pour the cream in through the hole. Put back the rosette and serve. (This pie forms a delicious soft jelly when cold.)

Serves 4.
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