At this time of year, especially at the moment, we all need delicious comfort food to keep us warm and soothe the soul!
Our Head Chef Anna Moore has put together a selection of her personal favourites that can be popped in the slow cooker or done low and slow in the oven.
PORK & CIDER HOTPOT
- 500g diced pork shoulder
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 300ml apple cider (dry would be best)
- 50g plain flour
- 200ml chicken stock
- 6 leaves of sage
- 200ml double cream
- 200g potatoes (Maris Piper or King Edward best)
- 200g sweet potatoes
- 50g butter
Heat 4tbsp of oil in a frying pan, fry the pork over a medium heat in batches if needed until seared all over, then transfer to an oven proof casserole dish or saucepan.
Add another 1 tbsp oil to the pan with a little butter and fry the leeks, carrots & garlic with a pinch of salt for around 5 mins until starting to colour. Transfer to the dish.
Pour the cider into the pan to de-glaze picking up any bits stuck to the bottom. Once bubbling add the flour to thicken. Add this, the stock, & sage leaves to casserole dish and mix well.
Cover with lid or foil & place in oven at 160C/140C fan/ gas 4 for 2 ½ hours.
Heat the oven up to 180C/160C fan/gas 5.
Stir in double cream.
Peel both types of potatoes and slice 2mm thick, by hand or using a mandoline.
Alternate layers of potato and sweet potato in circles over the pie, pressing into dish so potatoes are covered in liquor.
Dot the butter over the top and bake for another 1 hour until the potatoes are tender. Leave to rest for 10 mins before serving.
SLOW COOKER CHILLI
- 500g beef mince
- 1 red onion , finely diced
- 1 celery stick , finely diced
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1 large red pepper, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves , finely diced
- 1 or 2 red chilli finely diced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp dried herbs
- 3 tbsp tomato purée
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 400ml beef stock
- 400g can kidney beans, drained
- 4 small squares dark chocolate
Fry the mince off in 1 tbsp of oil until browned.
Add to slow cooker.
With a further 2tbsp of oil fry the onion, celery, carrot and pepper for 8-10 mins or until softened. Add the garlic, chilli, herbs and paprika and fry for 1 min. Tip into the slow cooker.
Stir in tomato purée, tomatoes and stock. Season. Cover and cook on low for 6 hrs.
Stir in the beans and chocolate to bring out the full flavour and cook for a further 30 mins. Serve with rice or tortilla chips and nice drizzle of soured cream.
CHICKEN & TARRAGON CASSEROLE
- 20g of butter
- 40 tbsp flour
- 650g boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets
- 1 white onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 400g new potatoes, halved
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 250g mushrooms, quartered
- 500ml chicken stock
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 bay leaves
- Small bunch tarragon
Heat the butter and 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan, cook the onion for 8 mins until softened and starting to caramelise add garlic & cook for a further 2 mins.
Dice chicken into large pieces, use the flour and a little salt and pepper to coat the meat.
Fry the chicken off in 2tbsp of oil until outside has browned.
Transfer both to your slow cooker or casserole dish. Add along with new potatoes, celery, carrots, mushrooms, chicken stock, 2 tsp Dijon mustard and 2 bay leaves.
Stir and cook.
Slow cooker – 6 hours on low 4 hours high.
Oven – Cover with lid or foil & place in oven at 160C/140C fan/ gas 4 for 3 ½ hours.
Once cooked, remove bay leaves, stir in tarragon & serve.
Perfect with sauteed greens and warm crusty bread to mop up any sauce!
- 1 kg braising or stewing steak, cut into small chunks
- 1 large white onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 200g button mushrooms, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 45g plain flour
- 750ml red wine
- 1 beef stock cube
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 100g unsmoked bacon lardons
- 12 silver skin onions or 6 small shallots, halved
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Season the meat with salt & pepper and fry for 3-4 mins in batches until browned all over. Drain away any excess oil and transfer into slow cooker or casserole dish.
Heat a further 2tbsp of oil and fry off the diced onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms for 5-10 mins until soft. Add to slow cooker.
Pour 200ml of the wine into the pan to de-glaze, then add the stock cube, sugar, tomato purée & flour. Add this into the slow cooker with the bay leaves and remaining wine. Simmer on low for 4 hours.
After the 4 hours cooking fry the bacon & shallots then tip into the slow cooker. Simmer gently on high for 1 hour. If you want a thicker sauce, reduce further with lid off.
Ideally served with buttered mash or warm crusty bread.