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Posts Tagged ‘Saffron’

Veg Stew with saffron, curry & parmesan cream

It’s not too often that we taste something that is nothing like anything we’ve had before but that’s what happened with this dish. A deeply savoury, packed with umami flavours, and very satisfying veggie dish. We were a bit suspicious of the Parmesan cream but it’s exactly what the stew needs to enrich it. Great stuff!

Wine Suggestion: This is a great match for a dry Oloroso Sherry with it’s nuttiness and umami characters playing an extra chorus alongside these interesting flavours in the stew. If Sherry is not your thing look for a good northern-Rhône white; our current favourite is the Domaine Coursodon Etincelle, an unclassified Roussanne-Viognier blend that is textured, purfumed and complex.

Vegetable stew with saffron, curry & Parmesan cream – serves 4

  • 4 cloves of garlic, save one clove and finely chop the rest
  • 1 onion, diced
  • olive oil or butter for frying
  • 200g celeriac, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 2 tsp medium curry powder
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • Parmesan rind
  • 400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 slices of multigrain bread
  • a handful of mixed herbs, e.g. flat-leaf parsley, basil or dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes

FOR THE PARMESAN CREAM

  • 100g mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp finely grated Parmesan

Fry the onion in the oil or butter over a low-medium heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the celeriac and chopped garlic, turn up the heat and fry for a few minutes.

Add the potatoes, spices, tomatoes, cheese rind, 600ml of water and plenty of seasoning. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut edges on the slices of bread. Sprinkle the herbs on top and fry in oil and/or butter in a frying pan until golden.

Combine the mayonnaise and Parmesan in a bowl to make the Parmesan cream.

Remove the cheese rind from the stew and season with the miso, honey, chilli flakes and check for seasoning.

Serve the stew with the fried bread and Parmesan cream on the side.

(Original recipe by Ylva Bergqvist in Olive magazine, Christmas 2018.)

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Merguez pot au feu with couscous

A dish of Merguez sausages and couscous from Marseilles. Like a Pot au Feu with flavours of the Maghreb. So delicious!

Wine Suggestion: French meets the Mediterranean, meets the Middle East – the Massaya le Colombier is a Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo blend. Made in stainless steel to preserve the fruit we love to chill this for 30 minutes, but you don’t have to.

Merguez with Couscous – serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 700g skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 courgettes, thickly sliced
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, halved and sliced
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 large piece of orange zest (use the juice to soak the raisins)
  • 400g merguez sausages
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp harissa

FOR THE COUSCOUS:

  • 450g couscous
  • 100g raisins, soaked in orange juice
  • 50g butter

Put the spices in a large wide pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil and heat until sizzling. Add the chicken, vegetables, chillies, saffron and orange zest with 1 litre of cold water and slowly bring to a simmer. Season well and continue to cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Add the merguez sausages to the chicken, then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas.

Meanwhile, put the couscous into a bowl and cover with the same volume of boiling water. Cover with cling film and leave to steam for 5 minutes, then fork through.

Tip the couscous into a serving bowl and add the raisins, butter and plenty of salt and pepper.

Add 4 tbsp of the chicken cooking liquid to the harissa to make a sauce.

Serve the chicken & sausages with the couscous and harissa sauce on the side.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes IN: Olive Magazine, September 2013.)

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Lamb & saffron tagine

We tend to avoid hot dishes like this in the summer time which is a bit silly really as they eat tagine all year round in Morocco which is usually hotter than Dublin whatever the time of year. Marinate the lamb up to 48 hours in advance, if you can, to maximise the flavour. Serve with herby couscous or bread.

Wine Suggestion: It was a hot day when we made this dish so we took inspiration from Spanish winemakers and chilled a red wine for 30 minutes and were delighted we did. Our choice was Massaya’s le Colombier from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, a wine we find naturally pairs with Middle Eastern, North African and Spanish cuisine effortlessly. This is a winery really on the up and we think each new vintage is better than the last.

Lamb & Saffron Tagine – serves 6

  • 1.8kg diced neck or shoulder of lamb
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 800ml passata or tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp of warm water
  • 200g dried dates, halved
  • 100g golden sultanas
  • 75g chopped pistachios

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the lamb and mix until coated. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight or for up to 48 hours.

Heat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.

Put a large casserole over a medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil. Sauté the onions for about 10 minutes or until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and ginger for the last 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and put over a high heat. Add the lamb and brown all over.

Pour half of the stock into the lamb pan to deglaze then transfer everything to the casserole with the onions.

Add the passata or tomatoes, the rest of the stock, saffron and soaking liquid, dates, sultanas and most of the pistachios. Season with salt and black pepper.

Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2-2½ hours until the meat is very tender and the sauce thickened. Serve sprinkled with chopped mint and the rest of the pistachios.

(Original recipe from ‘Marcus at Home’ by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollins, 2016.)

 

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Monkfish & saffron pilaf

The traditional fish used for this dish from Central Asia is sturgeon, which we don’t see so often in Dublin, so we substituted monkfish to very good effect. Don’t be shy with the pepper as this really informs the character of the dish providing a warm and distinctive flavour. We were really excited by the flavours here and have made this a few times now as we enjoy it a lot.

Wine Suggestion: Black pepper has it’s own umami-rich tannins which for some people means that it won’t work with wine very well. What you need to do, though, is work with this and use either a red with appropriate tannins or spices, or a white with pepper characteristics too. We chose a rich, dry F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Loibner Loibenberg which we picked up from our friend Gerard Maguire in Glasthule. A stunning wine that stood up magnificently to the bold pepper flavours; a lighter wine would have felt short and inadequate.

Fish & Saffron Pilaf – serves 4

  • 275g basmati rice
  • 4 onions (1 halved and 3 thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a small bunch of flatleaf parsley
  • 4 sturgeon, monkfish or halibut fillets
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • a small handful of dill
  • 1 tsp dill seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • large pinch of saffron strands, soaked in 3 tbsp water
  • 120g sour cream
  • juice of 1 lemon

Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak.

Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a large pan and add the halved onion, crushed peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley stalks (keep the leaves aside for now). Season the water well with salt and gently lower in the fish fillets. Cook at a very gentle simmer until just opaque, about 10 minutes depending on how thick your fillets are. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. Set the pan aside for using again later.

Heat a second large cooking pot for cooking the rice. Heat the sesame oil until almost smoking, then add the onions and carrots. Stir-fry until starting to soften. Drain the rice and add to the pot, smoothing it down with the back of a spoon. Pour over the fish broth until it covers the rice by about 1cm and add plenty of salt. Bring to the boil and cook on a high heat until the broth has boiled off. Poke a few steam holes in the rice with the end of a spoon to help it along. Cover with a lid or tight-fitting layer of foil and remove from the heat. Leave to steam for 20 minutes by which time the rice will be cooked through.

Chop the parsley and dill and add to the empty fish pan. Add the dill seeds (if using), ground black pepper, saffron and its soaking liquid and season with salt. Stir in the soured cream and set over a low heat to warm through. Carefully return the fish fillets to the pan to warm through before serving.

Turn the rice out onto a large platter and squeeze over the lemon. Spoon the fish and creamy sauce over the top.

(Original recipe from Samarkand by Caroline Eden & Eleanor Ford, Kyle Books, 2016.)

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Cod in a tahini sauce

Our menus have featured a lot of meat recently so we’ve focused and had a few fishy weekends to redress the balance. This is another great recipe from Moro, really delicate and delicious. We followed their suggestion and served with a chickpea salad and saffron rice. A rare Saturday night treat for just the two of us; we made the full sauce but only used two cod fillets.

Get started early as the rice needs to soak for a few hours.

Wine Suggestion: a light, dry white wine with good flavour and texture is what we think goes best. We had a good Muscadet from Domaine de la Chauviniere which has a good depth of flavour despite it’s light body. Alternately a good Alvarinho/Albariño would be a good match too.

Cod Baked with Tahini Sauce & Saffron Rice – serves 4

  • 4 thick cod fillets with skin, about 200g each
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Tahini Sauce

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp tahini paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 tbsp water

Saffron Rice

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 5 green cardamom pods, cracked
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 200g basmati rice, washed and soaked in salted water for 3 hours
  • a good pinch of saffron threads infused in 4 tbsp boiling water

To Serve: 

  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Start by making the tahini sauce and the rice as the fish won’t take long at the end.

For the Tahini Sauce:

Crush the garlic cloves with a good pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle until you have a paste. Transfer the paste to a small bowl and whisk in the tahini and lemon juice. Add the water until you get a sauce the consistency of double cream. Taste and season.

For the Saffron Rice:

Gently melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and black peppercorns and fry gently for about 4 minute or until aromatic.

Drain the rice and add to the butter, stirring to coat in the butter. Turn the heat up to medium-high and pour over enough water to cover by about 1cm, season with salt.

Place a piece of greaseproof paper on the surface of the water, then cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and paper and drizzle the saffron water evenly over the rice. Cover again with the paper and the lid, turn the heat to low and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

For the Cod: 

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

You need to cook the cod on the hob first ideally in an ovenproof frying pan or failing that a roasting tray that can go on the hob.

Add the olive oil to cover the base of the pan. Season the cod generously with salt and pepper, then place in the pan with the skin side up, keep shaking the pan all the time to prevent sticking. Cook for a couple of minutes to seal. Turn the fish over carefully and put the pan in the oven for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your fish. The fish is cooked when it is easy to flake and looks completely white inside.

Pour the tahini sauce into the pan with the fish to warm for 30 seconds, then transfer to hot plates. Spoon the sauce over the fish and garnish with the parsley and pomegranate seeds.

Serve with the chickpea salad, saffron rice & lemon.

(Original recipe from Moro the Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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Paella de rape con azafran

This is a great weekend dish that is relatively easy to make and looks amazing when brought to the table with all its fabulous colours. The key to a good paella is not to stir it. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent sticking.

Wine Suggestion: We started with a glass of dry Hidalgo Napoleon Amontillado sherry followed by an old, but wonderfully youthful and fresh, Dehesa la Granja 14 1998 a Tempranillo from close to the Portuguese border in Castilla. The 14 refers to the minimum amount of time it is held by Alejandro Fernandez in his underground caverns on this property before release. At 18 years old it was delicious proof of the ageworthiness of this unique estate and its elegance and refined fruit didn’t overwhelm the monkfish.

Monkfish rice with saffron (Paella de rape con azafrán) – serves 4 as a main or 6 as a starter

  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g monkfish fillets, trimmed and cut into bit-size pieces
  • 2 large Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 2 green peppers, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 800ml hot fish stock (buy it fresh at your fishmongers)
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 250g calasparra (paella) rice
  • 80ml white wine or fino sherry
  • 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 225g piquillo peppers, torn into strips (we buy the brand Navarrico)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a 30-40cm paella pan or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the monkfish and toss gently to fry until slightly undercooked in the centre. Remove the monkfish and any juices to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper and put back onto the heat. Add the rest of the olives oil and heat until hot, then add the onions and peppers, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat to medium, add the garlic and the fennel seeds, and cook for 10 minutes or until coloured and sweet. Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a separate saucepan. Add the saffron, then take off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Add the rice to the paella pan and stir for a minute to coat with the oil and vegetables. (You can prepare the dish up to this point before your guests arrive. The recipe will take about 20 minutes to finish.)

Put the heat to medium-high and add the wine/sherry to the pan, followed by the hot stock. Add half the parsley and the paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Do not stir the rice after this point. Simmer for 10 minutes or until there is just a little liquid above the rice. Spread the monkfish and its juices out across the top of the rice and gently push each piece of fish into the liquid. Gently shake the pan to prevent sticking and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes or until there is just a little liquid left at the bottom of the rice. Turn the heat off and cover the dish tightly with foil. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Decorate with strips of piquillo peppers, the rest of the parsley and the lemon. Serve with a salad if you like.

(Original recipe from Moro: The Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

Paella de rape con azafran

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Iranian Pasta

This dish from Yotum Ottolenghi is very different from the Italian pasta dishes that we’re all familiar with. As Yotam points out, Italy totally dominates the pasta scene when in fact there are pasta recipes from all over the place. Try this if you’re up for something way more exotic than spag bol.

Wine Suggestion: We chilled down a Spanish red to go with this, the Jesus Romero Rubus, a vibrant blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the highest vineyards in Spain. Unoaked this wine has a delicious purity and an excellent length with deep plum flavours, hints of pepper and spice.

Iranian-style Pasta – serves 4

  • 3 large aubergines (1.2 kg in total)
  • 140g crème fraîche mixed with 60g of Parmesan
  • 75ml of olive oil, plus a bit extra
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 150g Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 500g linguine pasta
  • ½ tsp saffron threads diluted with ½ tbsp of lukewarm water
  • 10g fresh mint, shredded

Preheat the oven to 230ºC/210ºC Fan/Gas Mark 8.

Pierce the aubergines a few times with a sharp knife, then place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and roast in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the flesh is totally soft. Set aside to cool a bit, then cut in half and scoop out the flesh into a colander. Leave to drain for at least 30 minutes and discard the skin.

Put the crème fraîche and Parmesan mixture into a small saucepan with 75ml of water. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stir, then set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cumin seeds and cook for 12 minutes or until soft. Add the aubergine flesh and garlic, along with 1 tsp of salt and some black pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes before adding the lime juice. Stir for a final minute, then remove from the heat.

Add the yoghurt to the crème fraîche mixture and heat over a low flame for 5 minutes. Watch the mixture carefully – stir regularly and don’t let the pan heat too much or the yoghurt may split.

Mix the dried mint with a tbsp of the oil and set aside.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water according to the pack instructions or until al dente. Stir 2 tbsp of the oil through the cooked pasta and divide between shallow bowls or plates. Drizzle over the mint oil, followed by the aubergine. Top with the crème fraîche and yoghurt mixture, followed by the saffron water, fresh mint & a final drizzle of oil. Serve straight away.

(Original recipe from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2014.)

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