Easy Melt-in-the-mouth Boeuf Bourguignon

When you have had a busy few weeks, there is nothing better than slow cooked comfort food to revive your senses. This boeuf bourguignon is ideal especially in chillier weather!
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Easy Stir Fried Rice

The first top tip with stir fried rice is use rice that has been cooked and cooled. You do need to be careful as rice contains a spore called Bacillus cereus which can survive the cooking process and bacteria can thrive at room temperature. If your rice is not being used straight away, pop it in the fridge and always make sure food is thoroughly reheated.

This will be a quick recipe as it really is very easy but livens up rice, important for someone like me who is not a big fan. I haven’t worked out whether it is the texture or blandness that put me off but adding a few cupboard leftovers certainly helps make it more palatable.

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Spicy pork strips and risotto

At this time of year, a warming bowl of risotto comes pretty high up in my favourite meals. To make it a fairly quick meal,  I coat pork strips in flour and fajita spice.
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Ingredients

2 pork chops, sliced into strips
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp fajita spice
1 onion
25 g butter
1 tbsp oil
400g arborio rice
1 glass of white wine
1 litre of vegetable stock
Handful of sliced mushrooms
Another knob of butter
Grated parmesan

First of all melt the butter and add the oil in a large pan. Dice the onion and add to the pan on a low heat. Stir and cover, allowing them to sweat and soften for about 10 minutes. Whilst the onion is cooking, put the pork strips in a zip lock bag (or a bowl with cling film on the top), add the flour and spice and shake well until coated. Stir fry until browned. Transfer to an oven proof dish and place in a low oven to keep warm. The trick is to slice about finger width so they have cooked by the time the outside is brown.
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Make sure the stock is in a pan on a low heat to keep warm. You need to add hot liquid to the risotto to make sure the temperature remains fairly even so it keeps cooking.

Back to the onion, turn the heat up slightly and add the rice. Stir until all the rice is coated in the oil and starts to turn from white to opaque. Add the wine and continue stirring until all the liquid is absorbed. Add two ladlefuls of stock and keep stirring. Every time the liquid is nearly absorbed add another ladleful of stock. You need to stir often but not constantly. Keeping one eye on the risotto, cook off the sliced mushrooms in butter or oil until fairly well done. If you want you can add pancetta or artichoke hearts to the mushrooms for extra flavour. Don’t forget to keep stirring the risotto.
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Once you’ve used up the stock (about 15-20 minutes) your rice should be cooked. Add the knob of butter, parmesan and mushrooms and make sure it’s mixed well. Turn out the heat, put a lid on the pan and leave for one minute. You shouldn’t really need extra salt with the stock and parmesan but taste and season if necessary. Dish up with the pork.
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Pork chops and stir fried rice

This is fast food, which is useful when we were home later than planned. It helps that I was using leftover rice from the day before (if you have leftover rice make sure you cool and refrigerate it as soon as possible).

Ingredients

Leftover rice
1 slice bacon, finely sliced
1 red pepper
Handful chopped mushrooms
Handful frozen peas
Splash dark soy sauce
2 eggs (optional)
2 pork chops

First of all, heat oil in the wok and fry the bacon until starting to crisp up, then add the pepper, once softened stir in the mushrooms.
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I used my ceramic grill for the pork (I also overcooked it unfortunately!) which should have taken 5-6 minutes but I left it in longer than I should.

Once the mushrooms are also cooked, stir in peas and allow to heat through for a few minutes before adding the rice. Once warm stir in soy sauce then the eggs (beaten) if wanted. I prefer the Nasi Goreng way of adding egg, which is essentially making and slicing up an omelette to add to the rice.
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Normally I would have flavoured the pork, either with fajita spice mixed with flour or with breadcrumbs but we simply didn’t want to take any more time than necessary!
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Chicken Chasseur

This isn’t the quickest dish to make but there are few things that can beat it on a cool Autumn evening. This is not quite peasant food but historically would have been used by hunters to cook older or tougher birds, simmering to soften it up essentially. The recipe I found was for chicken legs but we tend to use breasts or thighs. The thickening of the sauce at the end is what turns this dish from comfort food to classy cuisine!

Ingredients

Olive oil – glug
25g Butter
Chicken (I used 4 small breasts)
Onion, finely sliced or chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or finely sliced
200g mushrooms (button mushrooms are best but otherwise quartered)
500ml red wine
1 tbsp tomato purée
Vegetable stock cube or bouillon powder
Thyme leaves (at least 2 tbsp)

Melt half the butter in a pan with the oil, when hot brown the chicken on both sides. Remove chicken, put on a plate and keep warm.
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Add the rest of the butter and fry the onions until softened, at least 5 minutes then throw in the garlic continue frying for a minute or so before also adding the mushrooms. Continue to stir and cook until mushrooms start to change colour and also soften. Pour in the wine, add the stock cube and tomato purée and stir until all mixed together, simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and any juices back to the pan along with the thyme. Simmer on a low heat for an hour.
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Remove the chicken, turn up the heat and boil for 10 minutes or so until you have a glossy thick sauce, add the chicken back in, stir until coated and then serve with creamy mash and vegetables. As both my small person and her friends were hungry at this point, I failed to take any photos. The 10 year old had great fun helping me prepare and get this ready, just watch them stirring anything hot! I have discovered he is a potato mashing ace though and he has challenged me to cook spatzle and schnitzel next time I look after them. Watch this space!