Nigel Slater Recipes. Powered by Blogger.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Bright Lights and Chard Soup

This makes enough for 40 pasties. If you're using a domestic oven, you'll have to bake them in batches
For the pastry
4.5kg/10lb 2oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tbsp salt
2.25kg/5lb lard, diced
about 1.2 litres/2 pints cold water
For the filling
3kg/6lb 8oz chicken thighs, boned and skin removed, finely chopped
150g/5½oz plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.5kg/3lb 5oz onion, peeled, finely chopped
1.5kg/3lb 5oz swede, peeled, finely chopped
4.5kg/10lb 2oz potato, peeled, finely chopped
10 free-range eggs, beaten

Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
For the pastry, blend the flour, salt, and lard in a large mixer until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
With the motor still running, gradually add the water in a thin stream until the mixture comes together as a dough. If you don’t have a large enough mixer, rub the fat into the flour in a large bowl or clean bucket.
Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For the filling, place the chopped chicken and flour in a large bowl and mix until the meat is coated in the flour. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Season the vegetables with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
When the pastry has chilled, divide it into 40 pieces of equal weight. Roll out each piece of pastry onto a lightly floured work surface until it is just larger than the diameter of a dinner plate. Make sure you do not tear the pastry.
Using a dinner plate as a template, trim the edges of each piece of pastry to form a disc.
Spoon some of the chopped potato onto one half of each pastry disc, leaving 1.5cm/¾in free at the edges.
Spoon some of the chopped swede on top of the layer of potato, and then spoon some of the chopped onion on top of the layer of swede. Finally, spoon over some of the chicken.
Brush the edges of the pastry discs lightly all over with a little of the beaten egg.
Fold the empty half of the pastry disc over the filled half and either press the edges together with a fork, or twist the edges to seal.
Technique: Crimping the edge of a pasty
Nigel Slater’s warming lentil soup is perfect for winter and for using up any of your favourite leftover vegetables.
2 medium-sized onions
a clove of garlic
a little olive oil
a small bunch of flatleaf parsley, leaves only
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
250g/9oz lentils de Puy or other small green or brown lentils
1 litre/1¾pints of good chicken stock
a strip of parmesan rind or other hard cheese rind (about 50-75g/2-3oz)
salt and black pepper
a little lemon juice
4 handfuls of chard, stalks and leaves, washed
4-8 small slices of goats’ cheese, to serve
Preparation method
Peel and slice the onions and garlic. Warm a little olive oil in a large casserole then add the onions and garlic and cook over a low to moderate heat for 10 minutes or so, until soft and sweet.
Chop the parsley and the thyme leaves and add to the softening onions. Pour in the lentils then the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
Lower the piece of parmesan into the soup and leave to simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Season with salt and black pepper and the lemon juice.
In a separate pan, heat a thin film of water. As soon as it is boiling, add the still-wet chard. Cover with a lid and steam for about 5 minutes, until the leaves have softened and the stalks are tender. (If the stalks are very thick, remove them and steam for a couple of minutes first before you add the leaves.)
To serve, ladle the soup into the dishes, then add the steamed chard and sprinkle with the goats’ cheese.
Brush the top of each pasty with more beaten egg. Using a sharp knife, cut a small cross shape in the top of the pasties through which the steam can escape.
Place the pasties onto greased baking trays and transfer to the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown and the filling is cooked through and piping hot.
When the pasties are cooked, remove them from the oven and set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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