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Seasonal Recipes and What's in Season Guide

Seasonal Recipes

Simple, straight forward seasonal food recipes that are easy to prepare, using fine, fresh and local ingredients, tried, trusted and brought to you by the Essex Gourmet Food and Drink Guide...

Whether you are cooking for yourself, the family or a dinner party the following recipes, gleened from friends, family and some celebrity chefs are sure to please - all Tried, Trusted and Enjoyed.

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What's in Season in NOVEMBER?

November
Beetroot Kale
Leeks Mussels
Parsnips Partridge
Pears Venison
Yes it's game on this month so treat yourself to the wealth of local game now available. To accompany your game try creamy mashed Celeriac, sweet, soft Chestnuts or flavoursome Wild Mushrooms - they all work a treat.



Simple Seasonal Recipes

Seasonal Recipes at a Glance

Recipe Archive
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Chicken with Leeks Recipe

Chicken with Leeks

Leeks are a member of the alliums family, like onions and garlic, not Morticia. They can be harsh when eaten raw, although have a subtle oniony flavour with a hint of sweetness when cooked. Great as a basis for stocks, as a side dish steamed and tossed in a little seasoning and butter, or added to pies, casseroles, stews and soups. The following recipe courtesy of James Martin is a quick alternative to making and baking a pie – it’ also delicious. Chicken with Leeks
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  15 mins
Cooking Time:  20 mins
4 skinless chicken breasts (without wing bone)
4 tsp cream
190ml/¼ pint crème fraîche
190ml/¼ pint strong chicken stock
9oz/250g shallots, quartered and then pan-fried in a little butter
2 leeks, chopped, washed and then pan-fried in a little butter
salt and pepper
1 packet of ready-made puff pastry (pre-rolled if possible)
1. Heat an oiled char-griller or heat a little oil in a pan. Seal the chicken on both sides.

2. Heat the cream, crème fraîche and stock together.

3. Cut the chicken into fork-sized pieces and place in the hot sauce. After 5 minutes, add the shallots and leeks and heat for a further 5 minutes. Season.

4. Meanwhile, make 4-6 small circles using the pre-rolled puff pastry. Place on a baking sheet and bake until risen.

5. Serve the chicken and leeks with a circle of pastry on top.
When buying Leeks go for those that are firm, have an unblemished white lower part, and bright green, crisp leaves. The smaller leeks do tend to be sweeter and more tender.
Argentine Torrontes ...
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Kale and Chorizo Broth Recipe

Kale and Chorizo Broth

Kale is a member of the cabbage family, and is a great winter vegetable as it grows well in frosty conditions. You can boil or steam it, blanch and stir fry, or add it to soups and stews. This hearty and flavoursome soup recipe will provide a welcome warming meal for all of the family. Kale and Chorizo Broth
Serves:  6
Preparation Time:  15 mins
Cooking Time:  30 mins
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions , finely chopped
4 garlic cloves , crushed
2-3 cooking chorizo sausages, sliced
4 large potatoes
1½ l chicken stock
200g curly kale , finely shredded
1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and chorizo, then cook for 5 mins until soft.

2. Throw in the potatoes and cook for a few mins more.

3. Pour in the stock, season and bring to the boil. Cook everything for 10 mins until the potatoes are on the brink of collapse.

4. Use a masher to squash the potatoes into the soup, and then bring back to the boil.

5. Add the kale and cook for 5 mins until tender. Ladle the soup into bowls, and serve with thick hunks of bread
When buying Kale, go for smaller leaves that are crisp and fresh looking. Tear the leaves from the stalks and discard the stalk as they are very woody and do not eat well.
Manzanilla Sherry or Navarra Rosado ...
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Mediterranean Mussels Recipe

Mediterranean Mussels

Delicious plump and juicy mussels are best purchased fresh and live in their shells. They are great with pasta or cooked simply with some liquor or spices. The following recipe from the Sea Fish Authority offers an alternative to the Moules Mariniere we so often see. The red wine and rosemary work surprising well – a real winner. Mediterranean Mussels
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  20 mins
Cooking Time:  10 mins
900g/2lb mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
150ml/¼ pint red wine
sprigs of fresh rosemary or dried rosemary to taste
1. Heat the oil in a pan, fry the onion and garlic.

2. Add the wine and rosemary, bring to the boil.

3. Add the mussels, cover and simmer for 4 minutes or until the mussels open. Discard any mussels that remain closed after cooking.
As I am sure you have heard many times, Mussel shells should be closed – this shows they are alive. If any of the shells are open, give them a firm tap on the kitchen counter on their base and they should close after a few seconds. Discard any that don't close, as they run the risk of contamination.
Bandol Rosé ...
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Pears in Perry Recipe

Pears in Perry

British pears are considered the best in the world for their delicate flavour and texture, yet the size of our native orchards are reducing – a real shame. Pears are so versatile; they make a terrific dessert, poached, baked, or fried, and can add a wonderful contrast and flavour to salads or a great accompaniment to cheese. This simple recipe from Matthew Fort makes for a delicious and effortless dinner party dessert. Pears in Perry
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  10 - 15 mins
Cooking Time:  45 mins
4 firm pears, peeled, with the stalks left on
500ml perry
4 cloves
A small piece of cinnamon stick
6 black peppercorns
2tbsp caster sugar
4tbsp clotted cream to serve
1. Put the pears, Perry, spices and sugar in a saucepan and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper laid on top of the fruit inside the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the pears are soft and tender but not falling apart. Remove the greaseproof paper, and the pears from the liquid, then continue simmering the liquid until it has reduced by about two thirds and thickened. Return the pears to the liquid and leave to cool.

2. To serve, stand the pear up on a deep serving plate and spoon over a few spoonfuls of the thickened liquid and serve with clotted cream.
Pears ripen from the core outwards, so a good way to test if they are ripe is to just feel for tenderness around the stalk, if they are under ripe, leave them at room temperature for a day or two to ripen.
Coteaux du Layon ...
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Slow Roast Partridge Recipe

Slow Roast Partridge

If you are lucky enough to be given a brace of partridge or know a good game butcher, treat this squat bird carefully. The partridge is very low in fat and can dry out quickly when cooked, it should be eaten pink and not too rare. The following recipe from The Cottage Smallholder keeps the partridge succulent and juicy whilst making the most of its delicate flavour – fabulous. Slow Roast Partridge
Serves:  2
Preparation Time:  10 mins
Cooking Time:  1 hr 20 mins
2 partridges
6 slices of unsmoked streaky bacon
1 lemon
2 small knobs of butter
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of redcurrant/damson/wild plum jelly
Small glass (125ml) of white wine or damson gin
Salt and ground black pepper
1. Pre heat the oven to 160c, 325°F, Gas Mark 3 (140c fan)

2. Cut the lemon in half lengthwise and squeeze each half over a partridge rubbing the lemon juice well into the flesh of the birds.

3. Put half a lemon into the cavity of each bird along with a knob of butter and a sprig of thyme.

4. Spread a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly over the breast of each bird and put a sprig of thyme on each.

5. Season each bird and wrap the streaky bacon slices over the breast of each bird, securing the bacon with a cocktail stick. Place the bird’s breast side down in a casserole dish. Splash over the wine and put a piece of foil under the lid before covering to ensure a snug fit.

6. Place in a preheated oven for an hour and twenty minutes (or until tender) 325°F, Gas Mark 3 or 140c fan.

Serve with crispy bread to soak up the juices.
To store partridge, remove from its wrapping and wipe with a damp cloth or empty and rinse the cavity if necessary. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for two or three days.
Rioja Reserva ...
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Smoked Salmon with Beetroot and Vodka Crème Fraîche Recipe

Smoked Salmon with Beetroot and Vodka Crème Fraîche

Mmmmm, sweet, succulent and vibrantly coloured, beetroot can boost so many dishes. Its natural sweetness gives a great contrast and lift to smoked fish or even citrus fruits. Just trim the stalks, leaving about 2cm and then bake or boil this little beauty until tender. You can buy beetroot already cooked, although nothing beats the flavour of doing this simple job yourself. The following recipe is a simple and very effective way to turn good smoked salmon starter into an amazing one – courtesy of Sara Buenfeld. Smoked Salmon with Beetroot and Vodka Crème Fraîche
Serves:  6
Preparation Time:  15 mins
Cooking Time:  No Cooking.
200ml tub crème fraîche
3 tsp vodka
2 tsp hot horseradish sauce
6 slices smoked salmon
250g pack small, cooked beetroot (not in vinegar), thinly sliced, and then shredded
salmon caviar (optional)
few small, torn dill sprigs
1. Beat the crème fraîche with the vodka and a little seasoning until it holds its shape, then stir in the horseradish. Chill in the fridge.

2. Lay the slices of salmon over plates, then top with the beetroot and a spoonful of the crème fraîche. Top with the salmon caviar, if using, then scatter with the dill. Grind over some black pepper and serve.
When buying beetroot, look for firm bulbs with fresh, green leafy tops and undamaged skin. You can cook the tops as you would do spinach – they are very tasty. Beetroots below 6cm in diameter are best as the core in larger examples tends to be tough and woody.
Vodka, Budweiser, Friuli Pinot Bianco ...
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Spiced Parsnip Shepherd's Pies Recipe

Spiced Parsnip Shepherd's Pies

Parsnips, whether you roast them, boil and mash them, or chop them up and add to stews, add an earthy subtly sweet flavour that compliments so many dishes. You will see them in abundance after the first frost which is when they are traditionally dug up. The following recipe jazzes up a traditional shepherd’s pie with warming spices and sweet parsnips. Spiced Parsnip Shepherd's Pies
Serves:  6
Preparation Time:  30 mins
Cooking Time:  1 hour
For the Meat Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion , chopped
2 garlic cloves , crushed
small knob of ginger , peeled and granted
2 tbsp medium curry powder
500g minced beef or lamb
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g frozen peas
Water

For the Topping
600g parsnips , peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 large potato , peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 green chilli , deseeded and chopped
large bunch coriander , chopped
2 tsp tumeric
juice of ½ lemon
50g butter
1. For the sauce, heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook until soft, add the garlic, ginger and curry powder, then cook until aromatic. Turn up the heat, add the mince, fry until browned, then add the tomatoes, half fill the tomato can with water to remove the excess juice and add to the pan, simmer for 20 mins until thickened. A few mins before the end, add the peas.

2. Meanwhile, tip the parsnips and potatoes into a pan, cover with boiling water and then cook for 10 mins. Drain, season and mash with the rest of the topping ingredients.

3. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 8. Assemble the pies in individual dishes (or one large one) by placing some meat sauce on the bottom and topping with mash. Ruffle up the tops with a fork, and then bake for 20 mins until golden and bubbling.
When buying Parsnips go for small to medium sized, firm-textured specimens with unblemished skin – the large parsnips can be slightly woody. They will keep well in a cool dark place for 4-5 days.
Village Beaujolais such as Morgon or St Amour ...
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Succulent Braised Venison Recipe

Succulent Braised Venison

There are three main types of venison: farmed red deer, farmed fallow deer and wild roe deer. The free-range farmed variety produces a more tender meat, where as Wild Venison benefits from long, slow cooking, as it may be tough. Try this Scottish dish from Nick Nairn, the venison develops a beautifully earthy sweetness and is an excellent recipe idea for Hogmanay. Succulent Braised Venison
Serves:  8
Preparation Time:  15 mins
Cooking Time:  1 hr 50 mins
2 carrots , roughly chopped
140g turnips or swede, roughly chopped
2 onions , roughly chopped
3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
olive oil and butter, for frying
1 garlic clove , crushed
1kg boned leg or shoulder of venison , cut into large chunks (or buy ready-cubed venison for stewing)
5 tbsp plain flour , seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly (or rowan or hawthorn jelly)
450ml dry red wine (Rioja is good)
450ml beef stock
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Fry the vegetables in a little oil and butter in a heavy-based casserole for 4-5 mins until golden. Tip in the garlic and fry for a further min, then set aside.

2. Put the venison into a plastic bag with seasoned flour and shake to coat. Add a little more oil and butter to the pan, then fry the venison over a high heat, stirring now and then, until well browned. Don't crowd the pan - cook in batches if necessary. Set aside with the vegetables.

3. Add the redcurrant jelly and wine to the pan, and bring to the boil, scraping up all the bits that have stuck to the bottom. Pour in the stock, then add the thyme, bay leaf, meat and vegetables. Season if you like and bring to the boil. Cover and transfer to the oven for about 1½ hrs or until tender. Remove from the oven and check the seasoning.
Venison has the lowest fat content of any red meat so makes a healthy alternative. Buy your venison from a trusted butcher or reputable game dealer to ensure high quality & professional preparation.
Crozes Hermitage, Gigondas ...
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