Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Homage to Whiskey

Remind to never, ever call Steve up and ask him what he would like for dinner at the weekend as "I need a new recipe to blog".

I did that a couple of weeks ago, and ended up spending all day (ALL DAY) Sunday cooking a three course meal for 4 of us that was a tribute to the 114th (or something like that) birthday of whiskey.  Seriously, it was a baking hot day and I was in the kitchen from midday (having been in the supermarket for an hour before that) until 6pm.  Non-stop.
I have to admit though, as a homage to whiskey, I was bloody proud of what I managed to create!  This was a proper Scottish banquet.  Steve sent me through a few recipes that he wanted me to attempt (all of which can be found on the website).   The criteria was that every course had to include whiskey in it somewhere, and in total I used 4 different whiskeys throughout the meal.

So we had:

Starter: Haggis Bon Bons with crispy potato fritters, creamed turnip and malt whiskey grain mustard sauce

Main: Roast loin of lamb with lamb neck and haggis terrine, neaps and tatties

Dessert: Oatmeal shortbread, whiskey chocolate, whiskey macerated raspberries and whiskey caramel.
So, would you like to know how to make this plethora of Scottish delights?  Course you would!

I should warn you that there is a lot, an awful lot, a heck of a lot of whiskey in this menu, but it is strangely not overpowering.  I'll explain which whiskey's I used for each element of the menu, but these can easily be subbed in for whatever you want.  These were ones that we had lying around the house (we have a lot of whiskey at home) that Steve didn't mind me cooking with (unlike my mum who accidentally poured the last of a very rare, very expensive, very good whiskey into a sauce she was making and then kicked herself afterwards.  The sauce was amazing though).  I used some miniatures we had of Glenfiddich, an OK whiskey that isn't really anything special (I used a 12, 15 and 18 year, each bottle was 50cl and this was the perfect measure for each part of the meal) and also some single malt Old Pultney which is a lovely everyday drinking whiskey which also accompanied the meal alongside some good red wine.
Now I had to be very, very organised with this menu, which meant prepping different elements of different parts of each course in sequence.  I will give you the ingredients and method for each course individually, then I'll list what order I did everything in, so if you choose to do this entire menu as well, you should find it a bit easier!

I also used a deep fat fryer for the starter and the main as this gets things really crispy and would strongly recommend using one.
Haggis Bon Bons with Crisp Potato Fritter, Creamed Turnip and Malt Whisky Grain Mustard Sauce 

As starters go, this is rich and deep and very filling; you don't need a lot - I would halve what it shown below.  The sauce provides a nice foil to the haggis - the potatoes are more like battered chips and could probably be left out if you wanted one less thing to worry about but it is lovely (and very impressive) all together! 
Haggis Bon Bon's
1 kg haggis
1 egg beaten
100g fresh breadcrumbs
100g plain flour

Cut the haggis into small pieces and roll into balls.  Roll each ball in a little flour, followed by the beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs, then put into the fridge to set.

Crispy Potato Fritters
2 large potatoes

Bake the potatoes at 180°C until just about cooked through, allow to cool then peel and cut into chunky rectangles. Whisk the flour and water together to make a batter, dip the rectangles into the batter and deep fry until crisp and golden.

Creamed Turnip 
1 turnip, chopped into large chunks
50 ml double cream

Put the turnip in cold water, then bring to the boil and cook until soft. Reserve half of the turnip for the creamed turnip and half for the Neeps.  Blend half of the turnip with the double cream and season to taste.

Malt Whiskey Grain Mustard Sauce 
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
500 ml chicken stock
50cl malt whisky (I used a 12yr Glenfiddich)

Bring chicken stock to the boil and reduce down by ⅔ then add the mustard followed by the whiskey. Allow to cool slightly.
To serve:

Batter the potatoes by dunking them in a smooth mix of flour and water and then put them straight in electric fryer (Temp 170°C). Cook until golden brown and crisp.

Adjust electric fryer to 160°C, gently lower the Bon Bon mix in to the fryer and cook for 3-4 minutes until a light golden brown. Spoon warm turnip purée onto plate, place potato fritters on top and arrange three Haggis Bon Bons nearby.

Drizzle some Whiskey Grain Mustard Sauce around.
 Roast loin of lamb with lamb neck and haggis terrine, neaps and tatties 

Wow.  This was just beautiful.  I have never made a terrine before, and strictly speaking, as I didn't use a terrine dish or a bain marie, I'm not sure that this can really be classified as one, but it was still fantastic.  You could even add a little bit of fried black pudding to this dish to really add some extra depth.  The greens are necessary - you need something fresh tasting alongside the fried terrine, and the roast lamb is just wonderful.  The sauce is sweet and sticky, a perfect accompaniment.  You can't really taste the whiskey in this dish, it just adds a complex depth of flavour.
Mash Potatoes (Tatties)
4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
Ground nutmeg
200ml double cream
100g unsalted butter

Boil the peeled potatoes in water until soft, then drain and mash. Heat the cream and add to the mashed potato. Mix in the cold butter and beat until emulsified. Season with salt to taste.

Roast Lamb
1 large loin of lamb
30g fresh thyme
1 bulb garlic
20g butter
10ml olive oil
Salt and pepper, for seasoning

Trim any fat off the meat. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the meat and brown on both sides. Add the butter, chopped garlic and thyme and baste the meat in these flavours. Place the basted lamb into a roasting tin and cook in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 200°C.  This will make the meat rare - adjust the cooking times by 5 minutes to make your meat blue or medium.  If you like it well done, then I don't want to talk to you!

1 large turnip, chopped into large chunks
1 shallot, finely sliced
20g butter

Boil the turnip in water until soft. Cool and reserve half for the Creamed Turnip and half for the Neeps.  Cut the Neeps into neat little cubes and reserve for later. Cook the shallot in the butter until caramelised and also reserve for later.

1 neck of lamb
1 good quality haggis
1 bottle of red wine
50cl whiskey (I used Old Pultney)
2 carrots
1 leek
1 large onion
1 bulb of garlic
30g fresh thyme, chopped

Brown off the lamb neck in a frying pan and place into an ovenproof dish. Add all the chopped vegetables and wine and braise in the oven at 180°C for 2.5 hours until it is tender and falling apart.

Once cooked, remove the neck from the liquid and allow to cool slightly. Flake the neck into pieces and mix into a paste with the haggis. Season by adding the chopped herbs and add a few spoons of the liquor to bind the mixture together; the mixture should be firm.

Put the mix onto a baking tray and flatten to approx 2.5cm thick. Set in the fridge.

When set, take the meat out of the tray and cut into squares about 15cm x 15cm. Dip into the flour then the egg-wash and coat in breadcrumbs, then put back in the fridge until needed.

Roast Lamb Sauce
Sieve the remaining braising liquid, add the whiskey and heat in a pan and reduce to a sauce consistency.  Add the turnip and the shallots to the sauce.

Assorted spring greens

Boil lightly for a couple of minutes, then drain

To serve
Reheat the turnip and shallots in the sauce. Deep fry the slices of terrine at 170°C until golden. Carve the roast lamb.

Serve the lamb on top of the crispy terrine, with the greens and the mashed potatoes.  Drizzle with the sauce.

Oatmeal shortbread, whiskey chocolate, whiskey macerated raspberries and whiskey caramel.
Holy moly, for chocolate lovers, this is the mother of all desserts.  Incredibly rich and decadent, I'm not sure anyone would actually be able to finish this.  In fact, Steve did mention that after the starter and the main, a lighter dessert may have been more appropriate, but this is still delicious.  You need the raspberries - their tartness cuts through the chocolate and the caramel.  Just be prepared to loosen your belt buckle afterwards! 

Oatmeal shortbread
100g plain flour
125g butter
60g icing sugar
60g cornflour
30g porridge oats

Heat the butter in the microwave until melted. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl and add the butter. Mix to form a paste. Let the paste rest in the fridge for 30 minutes then take out and roll on a floured surface to 1/2 cm thick. Cut into even rectangular pieces. Place the pieces onto a baking tray and cook in the oven at 180°C for 25 minutes, checking regularly.  When they are firm and golden, take out and allow to cool.

500g dark chocolate
250ml double cream
Whiskey (I used a 15 yr Glenfiddich)

Melt the chocolate over a simmering bowl of water. When melted, take away from the pot and add the cold cream and mix until smooth. Add the whiskey to taste. Line a tray with cling film and pour the chocolate on the tray (the chocolate should be around 3 mm deep) and place in the fridge to set. When set, cut the chocolate a little bit smaller than the shortbread.

Macerated raspberries
2 punnets of fresh raspberries
Whiskey (I used an 18 yr Glenfiddich)
50g icing sugar

Mix all the ingredients together gently, trying not to break the fruit. Leave in the fridge

Whisky caramel
300g caster sugar
50cl whiskey (I used a 12 yr Glenfiddich)
150ml water
Drop lemon juice

Put the sugar into a heavy-bottom pan. Add about 50ml of the water and a drop of lemon juice and mix to a light caramel. Very carefully take the caramel off the heat and add the rest of the water to stop the sugar cooking. Stir in the whiskey and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Order of prep:

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C
2) Raspberries
3) Terrine
4) Shortbread dough
5) Chocolate
6) Bon Bon's
7) Bake shortbread
8) Potato Fritters
9) Have a drink
10) Mash potatoes
11) Form the terrine and leave it to set
12) Turnip for the Neeps and the Turnip puree
13) Shallots for the Neeps
14) Prep roast lamb
15) Whiskey mustard sauce
16) Whiskey caramel
17) Roast lamb sauce
18) Potato fritter batter
18) Greens

At this point all your prep should basically be done - all you need to do now is warm things up and finish off the cooking!  Good luck!

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