Pork and Sausage Ragu

It's still well and truly winter here in Sydney and I'm still cooking on the cheapo $30 K-mart induction unit in the rental. The irony is that once my actual house is rebuilt I'm going to have one of the best kitchens in Sydney! But in any case, the weather is unpredictable this time of year and the other day my annual deep sea fishing trip was cancelled due to gale force winds outside the Heads. So I had a day working from home and I thought I'd make something nice. I've never made a ragu before so I thought, why not?!

The recipe is very simple but you do need to allow for a couple hours to make the sauce. To make the ragu you'll need:

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • handful fresh oregano leaves
  • handful fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 can tinned tomatoes
  • 2 spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 300g pork mince
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g semolina penne pasta
  • salt
  • pepper
  • handful grated Parmesan

Finely dice the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic, add the oregano and parsley and set all the ingredients aside. Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil.

Once the pan is hot add the sausage meat and fry until browned. This takes about 3 minutes. Then add the pork mince, season with salt and pepper, and cook through, using a spoon to break up the mince. Once cooked remove the meat and set aside on a plate.

Add the vegetables to the hot skillet and cook until soft, approximately 3 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, and one can of water. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Stir and then simmer for 8 minutes. Add the meat and another can of water and then simmer for an hour.

When the ragu is close to finishing, boil a pot of salted water and cook the penne for 9 minutes. Serve the penne with a large spoonful of the ragu and cover with grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

Chef Jason Saxby - Risotto of Green Peas with Fermented Black Garlic

Today we are very honoured to have a guest recipe from Chef Jason Saxby, the head chef at Russo & Russo in Enmore, NSW. Jason is the 2011 winner of the prestigious Josephine Pignolet Award. He's spent time at Pilu@Freshwater, Quay, Per Se (NYC), The Ledbury (London) and Pollen St Social (London). He has a passion for proper, regional Sardinian cuisine and loves the freedom he has at Russo & Russo to create amazing Italian inspired dishes!

Many thanks to Jason for offering to provide this amazing recipe. Please let him know if you try it and what you think! Even better, drop by the restaurant and taste his food in person...

Risotto of Green Peas with Fermented Black Garlic, Pecorino Sardo and Charred Pea Tendrils - by Jason Saxby (Recipe: serves 4)

For Finishing:

  • 100 g of pea tendrils. (These are the leaves off the pea vine)
  • Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil for finishing
  • Black Pepper in a Grinder
  • 100 g Pecorino Sardo, shaved into rustic but very thin slices with a vegetable peeler (this is a hard sheep's milk cheese from Italy, in the region of Sardinia.)

Vegetable Stock:

  • 2 brown onion
  • 1/3 bunch celery
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • also use the scraps of any vegetables you have lying around. As long as its not leafy
  1. Chop all veg into rough 2 cm pieces (mirepoix).
  2. Heat a large pot on medium heat
  3. Add a Tbl of oil. 
  4. Add mirepoix and sweat in the pan until softened but not coloured. Its important you don’t brown the vegetables as it will make your stock brown, which will make your risotto brown.
  5. Top with 2 litres of water. This will make more than you need but its very handy to have around and it will keep for one week in the fridge.
  6. Simmer for half an hour and strain, discarding the solids. 

Pea Puree:

  • 1 kg Fresh Peas (if you can’t get really good peas fresh, then use IQF frozen peas, make sure to get good quality)
  • 1 L of water
  1. Remove the peas from the pods by pulling the tip and snapping while pulling one half of the pod off. Remove peas. Continue until all are done.
  2. Keep a few handfuls aside to finish your risotto, you need about 2 tbls per serve.
  3. Bring the water to boil in a medium pot with a pinch of salt added.
  4. Meanwhile set up a blender and a container for your puree to go into ready as you need to move fast.
  5. Put the rest of the peas in the boiling stock and boil until tender, about 2-3 minutes
  6. Strain the peas, reserving a bit of the water for blending. Blend on high speed in your blender until completely smooth. Adding blanching water as necessary. Season to taste.
  7. Transfer quickly to your container. Set aside.

Black Garlic Puree:

  • 100 g of fermented black Garlic
  • 50 ml water
  • 50 ml balsamic vinegar
  1. Peel skin off garlic.
  2. Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively use a hand blender with all ingredients in the cylindrical jug the blender comes with. Set aside in a squeezy bottle or a container.

Risotto:

  • 1⁄2 small brown onion - Very Finely diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic – minced
  • 250 g Carnaroli rice
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 100g butter, diced and kept cold
  • 50 g Pecorino Sardo, Grated 
  • salt and pepper
  • 250 g of the Pea Puree you prepared earlier
  • Fresh Peas that you reserved
  1. Put Vegetable stock into a pot and put on medium flame to bring to simmer.
  2. Place another medium, heavy based pot on a medium to high flame and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. When olive oil is hot Add diced onion and garlic and sweat until softened, do not colour.
  4. Then Add carnaroli rice. Heat whilst stirring around until it is very hot to touch.
  5. Add wine and stir quickly. The wine will quickly evaporate.
  6. Immediately Add 3 medium ladles of veg stock. Stir. Keep adding a ladle of stock as your previous ladle starts evaporating. Do not add too much at once. 
  7. Occasionally stirring, keep the rice at a fast simmer as you want to cook it quickly to avoid soft and soggy rice. It should take around 12 minutes to cook your rice until al dente. Depending on your stove and pot. 
  8. Meanwhile heat your char grill, BBQ or a large frying pan ready to cook the pea tendrils.
  9. When the rice is al dente and the last ladle of stock you added has almost evaporated add the fresh peas and the pea puree. Stir well. Bring back to simmer. Remove from heat. Add the grated Pecorino Sardo and the diced butter. Stir until vigorously until it is emulsified and the risotto looks creamy. Check for seasoning. If necessary adjust consistency with a splash of extra vegetable stock or pea puree. You want the risotto to move like a wave when you shake the pan. Let rest for 30 seconds.
  10. Meanwhile toss the pea tendrils with a little olive oil and flash on the char grill, bbq or large fry pan. Season. Remove from heat

To Plate:

  1. Spread risotto evenly amongst 4 plates.
  2. Spread flat by banging the palm of your hand underneath the plate. 
  3. Drizzle black garlic puree over the top. 
  4. Spread shaved pecorino cheese.
  5. Lay charred pea tendrils next.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and crack fresh black pepper over the top
  7. Serve immediately. Timing is crucial with risotto. enjoy

Enjoy!

Russo & Russo
158 Enmore Road
Enmore, NSW
02 8068 5202

Chef Mark Hix - Roast Chicken With New Season Garlic Sauce

Here at Gourmet Male we are always on the lookout for guest chefs who can share their incredible recipes with us. We've had some crackers over the years but today's guest chef, Mark Hix, is definitely one of the best we've had. If you don't know Chef Hix, educate yourself! He is the Chef/Owner of Hix Oyster and Chop House, Hix Oyster & Fish House, and Hix Soho. And we're lucky enough to feature his recipe at the time when he's just launched Hixter Bankside in July (details here)! 

As I've found so many times, if you just ask you'll be surprised at how gracious people can be. So, thanks to Chef Hix for his "Roast Chicken with New Garlic Sauce". Enjoy!

This dish was inspired by several visits to L’Ami Louis in Paris, where the food is simple and honest, respecting the quality ingredients used.  We buy Swainson House Farm chickens, which have an amazing gamey flavour.


  • 1 free-range chicken, about 1.5kg, with livers
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a few sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
  • a few generous knobs of butter

FOR THE STUFFING

  • 60g butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g chicken livers, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 80-100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve

TO SERVE

Baked new season garlic sauce (see below)

Straw potatoes (see below)

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.  Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.  Put the herbs into the cavity.  Rub butter all over the breast and legs. 

For the stuffing, melt the butter in a pan.  Add the onion, livers and thyme, season and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Off the heat, mix in the breadcrumbs, parsley and seasoning.  Either use to stuff your bird or cook separately in an ovenproof dish wrapped in foil for the last 30-40 minutes. 

Put the chicken into a large roasting tin and roast in the oven, basting regularly and adding the livers to the roasting tin for the last 6 minutes or so.  Test the chicken after 1 ¼ hours by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh.  The juices should run clear; if not roast for a little longer.

Lift the chicken onto a warmed platter and rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with some more chopped parsley and serve with the roasted livers, stuffing, garlic sauce and straw potatoes.

Baked new season garlic sauce

  • 4 heads of new season garlic
  • a few sprigs of curly parsley
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard, or more to taste
  • 70g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 tbsp duck fat, warmed, or the pan juices from the roast chicken
  • a little milk, to mix
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Makes enough for 4

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.  Wrap the garlic bulbs in foil and bake them in the oven for 1 hour.  Unwrap and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel away any tough outer skin.

Put the garlic into a blender with the parsley, mustard, breadcrumbs and warm duck fat or chicken juices and blend until smooth.  Add enough milk to give the sauce a thick pouring consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with roast chicken.

Straw potatoes

  • 4 large chipping potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, Spunta or Maris Piper, peeled
  • vegetable or corn oil, for deep-frying
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • sea salt

Serves 4

Using a mandolin with a shredding attachment or a sharp knife, cut the potatoes into long matchsticks, about 3mm thick.  Wash them well in a couple of changes of cold water to remove the excess starch, then drain and pat dry on some kitchen paper.

Heat an 8cm depth of oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 120-140C.  Deep-fry the potatoes in manageable batches (a couple of handfuls at a time) for 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.

Increase the temperature of the oil to 160-180C and re-fry the potatoes with the garlic slices in batches, moving them around in the pan, until golden and crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.  Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.

Alternatively, you can keep the straw potatoes warm, uncovered, on a baking tray in a low oven until ready to serve.  They should stay crisp but if not you can briefly re-fry them in hot oil to crisp them up again.

 The best way to cook a quality chicken is simply, and on the bone.  Try varying the vegetables

Peel A Whole Head Of Garlic In Ten Seconds? (or the day I stabbed myself with garlic)

Recently I discovered a post on Saveur about how you can peel a whole head of garlic in ten seconds. Ten seconds! That's how long it takes for a single clove with the old flat-knife method. Could it be true? And if so, could I pull it off? I just had to give it a try.

garlic.jpg

The technique is incredibly simple. Smash the head of garlic by hitting it firmly with your hand on a sturdy counter. Word of warning here, though: hit the garlic at an angle because if you hit it straight down you may end up with an injury that no one will believe (or stop laughing about if they saw it first hand).

hand injury.jpg

Next, sweep all the garlic and skins into a large bowl and cover the bowl with another one of the same size upside down. Shake vigorously for ten seconds and voila, you have an entire head of garlic, peeled to perfection. Nice!