Comforting dinner recipes that are also totally good for you? Enter Gizzi Erskine – whose bringing an amazing new cookbook ‘Healthy Appetite’ this week, which is packed full of dishes that will nourish your body, without depriving you of good-tasting food groups. Hurrah! Here’s our pick of the best recipes to try at home yourself…
Carnitas With Grilled Pineapple Salsa & Pink Pickled Onions
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 ½ hours
For the carnitas:
1kg boned-out pork shoulder, fat and skin on, cut into large chunks
3 tablespoons cooking oil 500ml fresh White Chicken Stock
(see page 212) 1 bulb of garlic, cut in half
horizontally 2 bay leaves 2 strips of orange rind 2 cinnamon sticks 1⁄2 teaspoon coriander seeds 6 sage leaves 3 oregano sprigs sea salt flakes and freshly
ground black pepper
For the pineapple salsa:
4 slices of fresh pineapple cut horizontally, each slice 8mm thick
olive oil 1⁄2 red onion, finely chopped 1 red chilli, deseeded and
finely chopped 2 tablespoons lime juice a small bunch of coriander,
12 small corn tortillas Pink Pickled Onions (see
opposite) 1 avocado, peeled, stoned and
finely chopped, lime squeezed
over and sprinkled with salt good Mexican hot sauce
To make the carnitas:
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the meat in batches and brown well, transferring each batch to a cast-iron casserole once browned. Pour the stock over the meat and then add the rest of the ingredients to the casserole.
- Pop the lid on and roast for 3 hours, stirring every so often. You will notice that the meat releases a fair amount of liquid. After 3 hours remove the casserole from the oven. The meat will be so soft that you are able to put a spoon through it, and that’s EXACTLY what you’re going to do.
- Remove the aromatics and then break the meat up with a spoon. Some bits will be meatier than others. Now return the casserole to the oven, this time with the lid off, and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, stir to break up more of the meat, then return to the oven and repeat this every 15 minutes for 1 hour. By the end of the cooking time, the liquid will have reduced and the meat will have broken down into soft, feathery, pulled pork pieces and be frying gently in its own fat. You now have carnitas. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.
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To make the pineapple salsa:
- Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Rub the pineapple slices with oil and grill them for 2–3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and leave until cool enough to handle, then trim off the skin and remove the core.
- Slice the pineapple into tiny cubes and place in a bowl. Add the onion, chilli, lime juice, coriander and any pineapple juices that may have been released from the pineapple while it was resting. Give it all a good mix. Leave to macerate for least 20 minutes.
- Once the carnitas are cooked, heat up your tortillas in a dry frying pan.
- Serve all the components on the table and get your pals to help themselves. To build, lay a tortilla on a plate, top with a large spoonful of carnitas and then some pink pickled onions, pineapple salsa and avocado. Add some Mexican hot sauce if you like it spicy.
Chlodnik (Chilled Polish Beetroot Soup With Dill Pickles, Egg & Prawns)
Prep time: 25 minutes, plus chilling
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 onion, finely chopped 4 beetroot, peeled and grated 1 Lebanese cucumber
or 1⁄2 regular cucumber,
peeled and grated 600ml fresh White Chicken or Veggie Stock (see pages
212–13) 500ml buttermilk. plus extra
to serve 500ml soured cream 3 tablespoons dill pickle brine sea salt flakes and freshly
ground black pepper
5 free-range eggs, hard-boiled and cut into quarters
2 dill pickles, chopped 200g cooked, peeled small prawns
(I prefer Atlantic ‘shell-on’
baby prawns, peeled) a small bunch of dill, roughly
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until translucent and softened enough that you can squish through the onion with your fingertips.
- Add the beetroot and cucumber and cook for 10 minutes, or until the beetroot starts to break down. Pour in the stock and cook at an aggressive simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until the beetroot is really soft.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the buttermilk and soured cream. Using either a blender or immersion blender, blitz the soup for about a minute, or until it’s completely smooth: it should be the thickness of single cream. You can strain the soup at this point if you like it extra smooth (I do!).
- Season with salt and pepper and the pickle brine and leave to cool, then pop it in the fridge to chill for at least 5 hours. I always like to put the soup in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving to get it really chilled.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top each bowl of soup with 3 of the egg quarters. Add some gherkins, prawns and dill before serving with extra buttermilk drizzled with olive oil.
Tom Yum Goong (Hot & Sour Fish Stew)
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 lemon grass stick, very thinly sliced
4–5 thin slices of fresh root ginger
3–4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
350g baby plum tomatoes, halved
400ml fresh White Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons lime juice
2–3 tablespoons fish sauce
5–7 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
12 raw tiger prawns, peeled, deveined and cut quite deeply
down the back
1 sea bream, filleted and each fillet cut into 4 lengthways 1 squid, gutted, slashed and cut into bite-sized pieces
sea salt flakes
a good handful of Thai holy
basil Crispy Shallots
to garnish coriander leaves,
to garnish banh cuon rice wrappers or rice noodles or rice, to serve
For the paste:
3 lemon grass sticks, bashed and root removed 4cm piece of galangal (or fresh
5 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
6 Thai bird’s eye chillies
1 teaspoon Thai roasted chilli paste or hot chilli powder
1⁄2 teaspoon dried shrimp paste
1 teaspoon palm or brown sugar
5 coriander roots
1. To make the paste, pound together all the ingredients to form a smoothish paste. I prefer to do this using a pestle and mortar, but this can be time-consuming so blitz the ingredients in a food processor or blender if you’re in a rush.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Fry the lemon grass, ginger and garlic for 2 minutes. This is a little unconventional but it will give the stew a deeper, more caramelized flavour.
3. Add 3 tablespoons of the prepared paste and fry for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes, or until they start to melt.
5. Pour over the stock, lime juice, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and cook for 5 minutes. Add the prawns, fish and squid, season with salt and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the seafood is just cooked and the prawns are pink.
6. Stir through the holy basil and garnish with Crispy Shallots and coriander leaves. Serve the stew with flat rice wrappers, rice noodles or rice.
Gizzi Erskine’s amazing new cook book ‘Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite’ is out 6 Aug, (Hardcover: £16.99)