Monthly Archives: September 2013

Pollo Sospetto

pollo_sospetto

Vaguely inspired by Felicity Cloake’s cacciatore recipe, I’ve dug out this perennial favourite, which has arrived by way of a stained and crumpled scrap of paper, tucked into my copy of The Encyclopaedia of Italian Cooking.

It’s neither one thing nor the other, but quite tasty and quite easy. To serve four you’ll need a larg frying pan, and into it chuck:

  • 75g pancetta, cubed, frying gently until the fat has rendered and the bacon has gone crunchy
  • 500g boned skinned chicken thighs, halved down the middle – do these on a high heat, until they’re lightly coloured on the outside, rescue with a slotted spoon and set aside (the middles of the chicken pieces will be raw but don’t worry, we’ll fix that shortly)
  • 500g total diced celery, carrot and onion (or whatever aromatics you have to hand) plus four smashed cloves garlic, reduce heat, fry until soft and colouring, you might need a splodge of vegetable oil if there wasn’t enough in the bacon and chicken
  • add 125mL white wine, and stir like mad, to incorporate any of the built up yumminess on the bottom of the pan, and then return everything else
  • add enough boiled water to cover, plus one 450g tin chopped toms, drained of their juice
  • on top of that, four sprigs of rosemary, around two dozen kalamata olives (stones in), and a generous grind of pepper
  • bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 mins (45 if you’re using whole thighs with bones in)
  • remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon
  • turn up the heat and reduce by half (you could stir in a tablespoon of crème fraîche at this point)
  • serve with polenta or rice
  • this will be improved by an overnight stay in the fridge

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Slow Lamb 2

Let’s take slow lamb over to the other side of the Mediterranean. This isn’t quite perfected, but it’s jolly good nonetheless. Line a roasting tin with a piece of foil large enough to wrap up over and seal, and into it place the following:

  • 1kg lamb neck fillet, chopped up into one inch lengths, try and get this into a single layer
  • the juice of 2 lemons
  • a whole head of garlic, peeled and bashed up a bit, but no need to separate
  • 1 tbsp of dried chilli flakes
  • 6 whole dried chillies
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp of sea salt (sea salt crystals are quite large, so much less if you’re using table salt)
  • 20 whole black peppercorns
  • a cinnamon stick broken into 2 or 3 pieces

Pack the head of garlic in with the lamb, tuck in the cinnamon sticks, and just sprinkle everything else over the top evenly. Wrap up foil, and crimp, so it’s properly sealed.

Three hours in the oven at 150°C should do. Serve with couscous.

Despite the relatively heavy use of spices, it’s mild and aromatic, rather than viciously hot, as the whole spices seem to preserve more aroma. If you need to use ground spices, then halve the quantities. You could also add a pinch of ground spices if you want to add kick. Don’t bully your guests with too much chilli, instead, just serve with harissa on the side.

(Serves six.)