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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Daddy or Chips? Or the Daddy of Chips...

Don’t you just hate it when people proclaim something to be the best? Surely the best Burgundy/Sitcom/Blowjob is all subjective, apart from anything else context is always dependent.
Anyway, this might not be the best way to make chips but it’s a damn good one and goes really well with a good steak.

• Floury potatos (Maris Piper, King Edward etc.)
• 1 head of garlic
• Some thyme sprigs (optional)
• Salt
• Peppercorns
• Oil (or better, animal fat) for frying


Part 1 – can be done hours ahead.
Fill a deep pan with cold water, cut the head of garlic horizontally, bruise the thyme with the back of a knife, add both to the water and season really well (heavy salt here means not having to use it later). Bring the water to the boil and let cool.

Cut the chips, this works best if you make them chunky.
Place the chips (to be) in the water and bring to the boil, turn the heat off as soon as it reaches the boil and leave for 5 minutes or so.

Drain very gently and lay out on a cooling rack/baking sheet – if you want to get all Heston then put them straight in the freezer

Part 2 – still an hour ahead.

Bring the oil up to 120/130 degrees (Celsius, we’re not in the dark ages any more) and give the chips their first fry – probably for 4 to 5 minutes but you’ll looking for them to be a very gentle gold on the outside. Drain and cool again. If in doubt use a cooler temperature at this point.

Part 3 – just before serving
Heat the oil to 180 degrees, plunge the chips in for their final fry, shake the basket to keep them moving and in about 2 minutes you’ll be there, just pull them and drain them before they burn. Serve to someoen you really like - if you've not eaten them all yourself.

This came about while trying to develop a confit-style chip (you need to use waxy potatoes which end up mushy inside) and I’d like to thank John Quigley of the Red Onion in Glasgow for his help & advice.

Pulled Pork

What can I do with pig cheeks? The question was asked on Twitter, Pulled Pork I suggested. “What’s that?” the questioner responded. Well, as 140 characters is too short to describe the brilliance of Pulled Pork, and especially for Saffron, here’s my easy recipe, make enough for 4, eat between 2 and spend the rest of the evening a very contented bloater:

Serves 2

• Pig Cheeks (about half a kilo, boneless shoulder will do if you can’t find the cheeks)
• Red wine, fruit or cider vinegar – 3 tbsp
• Ketchup – 1 tbsp
• Mustard (not seeded) – 1 tbsp
• Soy Sauce – 2 tbsp
• Brown Sugar – 2 tbsp
• Paprika (smoked works really well) – 1 tsp

Pre-heat an oven to 150°/130° Fan, oil and liberally salt the pig cheeks and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Cover with foil to create a sealed tent/chamber and chuck in the oven for 6 to 7 hours.

At some point, make the barbecue sauce – combine all the ingredients above, bring to a simmer, stir for a few minutes and let cool.

Once the pork’s done (meltingly soft and tender), remove from the oven and let cool till you can handle it; using your hands or forks, pull the meat apart, shredding it into bite-sized pieces and removing fat/sinew/skin or anything else you don’t like the look of.

Mix the meat and the sauce in a large pan, warm through and serve.

I like serving this with Pita bread and some lightly pickled veg (julienned carrot/daikon/cabbage tossed in vinegar, salt & sugar and left for an hour), our American cousins (whose technique this is) serve it in a soft roll with fries on the side, Daniel Boulud uses it as a topping for his famous “Piggy Burger”, the uses are endless – only it’s so tasty it doesn’t last long enough to experiment too much.