Jambon persillé aka Ham hock & parsley terrine

Jambon persillé aka ham & parsley terrine

deutsches Rezept wie immer am Ende

Ham in jelly or Sülze is quite common in Germany; you can buy it and other cold cuts at any butcher or Delikatessen (deli). I had never even thought about giving it a try myself. Odd, since I like to do exactly that sort of thing and a terrine is a fantastic starter or main course, plus, it offers quite an impressive appearance on a table or earns ‘Ohs! & Ahs!’ when revealed that it is indeed homemade and presented with a proud Ta-daa! Something in the raised venison pie, homemade paté, ice cream-bomb or macaron-tower category, a veritable centre piece (I can’t call it a showstopper, the expression makes me cringe). And, despite the long-winded instructions, this is an easy & relatively quick (hands-on-work-time-wise) version, good to prepare even days in advance.

If you have been to Burgundy or somewhere close, the classic starter Jambon persillé is omnipresent and we fell in love with it when we, ahem, my husband ordered it in Beaune. It was so good, that I can’t remember what my starter was (a rare occurrence). Scouring through the books for methods & quantities, there are many impressive and authentic recipes, which include making the jelly from scratch by boiling trotters, a whole ham next to army quantities of ham hocks etc. All nice and worth a try when faced with a bout of bad weather and masses of people to feed but to begin with, a more modest preparation or operation is the key.

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Ottolenghi’s baby spinach salad with dates, almonds & crispy flatbread

 

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Deutsches Rezept (Ottolenghis Babyspinatsalat mit Datteln, Mandeln & krossen Fladenbrotstückchen) wie immer am Ende

 

Not AWOL but we have the In-laws visiting and I am cooking, cooking, cooking. Some dishes even got a photo (for example my wild card Jambon persillé aka Ham & parsley terrine) – add those to the other ones in my queue for a little bit of a pile-up…

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Spargelsalat – white asparagus salad

Spargelsalat - asparagus salad

White asparagus is a big thing in Germany (and France and other European countries, if we’re counting). Every year, we are awaiting impatiently the beginning of the season, so much so, that there are progress-reports on the radio detailing the weather & growing situation, the expected quality & crop. It is the Wall Street report on asparagus and it gives you a little insight how much we love those delicate white spears and why we get a little crazy about it, especially after the season ended nearly a year ago (mid-June).

If you ask a German, German asparagus is the best, of course. Same rules apply to the growing regions: Spargel from abc is far better than from xyz (I am not using real names, someone might take a contract out, just saying). Growing up in Germany, white asparagus is not only a regional specialty but celebrated everywhere and eaten from a young age on. I can’t imagine anyone who does not like white asparagus with boiled new potatoes, air-dried German ham (our family preferred ham from Northern Germany rather than the smoky Black Forest ham, cut into tiny cubes) and melted butter – or with Sauce Hollandaise on Sundays. Come to Germany in asparagus season and you’ll find this classic dish on the menu everywhere.

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Ricotta pancakes

Ricotta pancakes

These little pancakes are heavenly: light, fluffy & a little tangy with a slight hint of lemon due to the ricotta. And… they are extremely good with strawberries and golden syrup (hey, there is no sugar in them) or yoghurt and a mixture of papaya, mango & passionfruit, which is my preferred version for lunch.

I would make them every other weekend alternating with paper-thin pancakes, were my husband only a pancake lover. He is not. That makes these even more special (to me) and quite a feast when served. Any weekend visitors will come as a welcome excuse to make those or occasionally, I’ll make them my lunch. There is quite a tradition in Germany for pancakes at lunchtime: large, thin pancakes (not a crêpe, though) with slices of apples or blueberries baked into them, served with a thin dusting of sugar. Most people harbour fond childhood memories of those as a treat after school. My grandparents were great apple pancake makers and of course, the apples came from their garden. Just the aroma of apples transports me back into their kitchen with my grandmother peeling apples in one swift move and amazing me with the long ribbon of peel every time.

Strawberries are finally back in season and the roadsides are littered with giant strawberries, arrows or tiny handwritten signs advertising farm shops or just a little stall with a few punnets. They impart an amazing aroma that pales every supermarket berry within a 100mile radius. Thank god, there are visitors coming next weekend…

Rezept auf Deutsch wie immer am Ende

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Chicken fricassee – Hühnerfrikassee

chicken fricassée - Hühnerfrikassée

I am working on a recipe index… and tidying up some loose ends. Boy, all of those take some time and I got lost dreaming of a new place or a change. This initiated a minor spring clean: the kitchen got a spruce paint job (white over splatters, project The-parents-are-coming-soon) and I had a good tidy in the storage room reappointing a lot of things to the charity shop: don’t think I’ll ever wear the Girbaud suit thing with cut-outs again (stretchy material, though). Invigorating.

Hühnerfrikassee is one of my favourite meals since I was a child: the sauce is a little lemony and ever so often you hit a tangy tasting brined caper. I love (loooove) capers and their numbers tend to decrease every time I am passing my pan, so beware, if you find me in the vicinity of your stove acting totally innocent – probably whistling – while you wonder about the severely diminished caper-count. I did it, spoon at the ready, to my mother’s fricassee every time her back was turned. Sorry, Mama.

In Germany, chicken fricassee is classically served with white asparagus tips when the new & tender white asparagus is in season (now) or otherwise, sliced white champignons could be added to the aromatic sauce. I love the pure dish equally to an asparagus studded version and have some bright green peas as a side to contrast the pale creamy white.

On a weekend or if you have the time it is definitely worth it making the fricassee from scratch using a tasty long, free & happy-lived boiling chicken. The meat stays wonderfully juicy and you’ll have a great chicken broth as a bonus. For instant gratification and a really fast dinner (we are talking maximum 10-15 minutes including the time it takes to cook the rice) use leftover meat from a roasted chicken and start the recipe with the roux. For smaller portions, I think a poached chicken breast (use the same recipe for the poaching liquid) works well, too. Although, why not make a whole batch and freeze the surplus portions for a rainy day?

 


 

Chicken fricassee

for 6-8 people as a main, depending on the voracity of their appetite

1 chicken (preferably a boiling hen)
salt
2 tablespoons butter (30g)
1 onion
root vegetables for soup (ask for ‘Suppengrün’): 1 large carrot, a piece celery root (1 thick slice or ¼ small root), 1 leek, 1 parsley root, 1 yellow turnip, 1 branch parsley & lovage => dice all, leave herbs whole
lemon peel or a thick slice of lemon (organic)
basil
a few black pepper corns
½ – ¾ litre = 500-750ml or a 1½ pint (US) water

30g butter
1 shallot, minced
2 heaped tablespoons (30g) flour
½ litre (500ml or a pint) of the reserved stock, don’t fret if it is a little less or top up
white wine (dry, a small glass)
small capers in brine (to taste)
90ml or 6 tablespoons cream
lemon juice
salt & white pepper
(optional: 1 egg yolk)
optional: sliced white champignons de Paris or tender white asparagus tips

Dry the chicken, season with salt and pepper. Heat a braising pan, small Dutch oven or a heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat and fry the chicken until only lightly coloured and not browned on all sides. Toss the diced soup vegetables a little in the butter without browning, then add the aromatics (herbs, lemon peel, pepper) & finally pour in the water. Cover with a lid and leave to cook for about 1½ hours, turning the chicken from time to time. Leave to cool and take the meat of the bones and tear it into bite sized pieces: either wait until you are able to touch the chicken or leave for a few hours or overnight until needed, then tear the meat of accordingly. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve and reserve.

Make a light roux with shallot: melt the butter, sweat the shallot until translucent, sprinkle with flour and leave to roast (not brown!) for a moment, add the liquid in small instalments. To avoid a lumpy sauce add only a little broth at a time, whisking constantly until the mass is smooth again, add more broth and whisk again until smooth again, repeat with increasing amounts of liquid, stirring constantly. Pour in a good lug or a small glass of white wine and continue to cook a few minutes more to allow the roux to thicken the sauce slightly. Add the chicken meat, capers (to taste, I like a lot, some people prefer less), cream and season with lemon juice, salt & pepper. My grandmother used an egg yolk to enrich & thicken the sauce a little more. Traditionally slices of snow-white champignons or equally tender white asparagus tips are added to the chicken fricassee (mushrooms sautéed in butter without taking colour, thin asparagus tips cooked for 4-5 minutes in salted water with a pinch of sugar added), a vision in pale cream flecked with dark green capers. We eat this with white basmati rice and cooked green peas.


Hühnerfrikassée

für 6-8 Personen

1 gutes Suppenhuhn
Salz
2 EL Butter
1 Zwiebel
Suppengrün oder –gemüse: 1 große Möhre, 1 große Scheibe oder ¼ Knolle Sellerieknolle, 1 Stange Lauch, 1 Petersilienwurzel, 1 gelbe Rübe, 1 Zweig Petersilie & Liebstöckel => Gemüse würfeln, Kräuter ganz lassen
Zitronenschale oder dicke Scheibe einer ganzen Zitrone Bio, versteht sich)
Basilikum
einige schwarze Pfefferkörner
½ – ¾ Liter Wasser

30g Butter
1 Schalotte, fein gewürfelt
2 gehäufte EL (30g) Mehl
½ Liter Hühnerbrühe (wenn es nicht reicht, macht nichts oder einfach mit ein wenig Wasser aufstocken)
trockener Weißwein (ca. ein kleines Glas)
kleine Kapern in Lake (nach Geschmack)
90ml oder 6 EL Sahne
Zitronensaft
Salz & weißer Pfeffer
(optional: 1 Eigelb zum legieren der Sauce)
optional: weiße Champignons in Scheiben geschnitten oder weiße Spargelspitzen

Huhn abtrocknen, salzen und pfeffern und in einem Schmortopf (mit Deckel) in Butter bei mäßiger Hitze von allen Seiten leicht anbraten bis das Huhn Farbe annimmt, aber nicht bräunt. Das klein geschnittene Suppengemüse hinzugeben und ebenfalls in der Butter anschwitzen, dann die Kräutern, Zitronenschale & Pfefferkörner hinzugeben, anschließend mit Wasser begießen. Den Deckel auflegen und ca. 1 ½ Stunden köcheln lasse, das Huhn von Zeit zu Zeit wenden. Huhn abkühlen lassen, dann das Fleisch von den Knochen pflücken und in kleine Stücke zerteilen: entweder direkt nach dem Kochen, ein paar Stunden oder einen Tag später. Für eine schnelle Version kann man auch Reste von einem gebratenen Hühnchen verwenden – solange es nicht zu trocken ist. Die Brühe durch ein feines Sieb seihen und für die Sauce verwahren.

 

Für die Sauce eine Mehlschwitze mit der Schalotte herstellen: die Butter schmelzen und die Schalottenwürfel darin glasig werden lassen (nicht bräunen), dann das Mehl hinzugeben und anschwitzen. Die Flüssigkeit zuerst in geringer Menge hinzugeben, mit einem Schneebesen oder Holzlöffel rühren bis wieder eine glatte Masse entsteht, immer wieder unter ständigem Rühren etwas (später mehr) Flüssigkeit hinzu gießen bis schlussendlich eine glatte Sauce ohne Klümpchen entsteht. Einen guten Schuß (oder ein kleines Glas) Weißwein hineingeben und wenige Minuten weiter kochen lassen bis die Sauce durch die Roux dicklich geworden ist. Hühnerfleisch, Kapern (nach Geschmack: ich liebe Kapern, also nehme ich ein kleines Gläschen), Sahne einrühren und das Frikassée mit Zitronensaft, Salz & Pfeffer abschmecken. Meine Oma hat ihr Hühnerfrikassée noch mit einem Eigelb legiert (einrühren und nicht mehr zu heiß werden lassen), traditionell werden auch noch entweder in Scheiben geschnittene weiße Champignons (in Butter geschwenkt) oder zarte weiße gekochte Spargelspitzen hinzugefügt: eine Symphony in creme mit kleinen olivfarbenen Kapern. Wir essen dies meist ohne Pilze oder Spargel, aber mit weißem Basmatireis und grünen Erbsen.