This month we’re celebrating seasonal delights such as mussels, leeks and wild garlic with a selection of easy to prepare holiday dishes. We’re kicking things off with Mussels in Beer Broth – a recipe that utilises all three ingredients and should be tried by anyone taking up residency in our Cornish properties this month. We’re then trying our hand at a Gorgonzola, Walnut and Leek Orzotto which is a great recipe for the changeable March weather and can be enjoyed warm, curled up in front of the fire or cold as a picnic staple or light lunch for those braving a country walk or a trip to the beach. Last but not least, we’re making the most of wild garlic with a Chicken, Buttermilk and Wild Garlic Pie. This recipe caters for our guests who like to prepare in advance so that they have something delicious to pop in the oven on arrival for a hassle free first meal.
There is little we enjoy more than exploring local shops for the best seasonal, local produce when we’re away. If you like the look of any of these recipes, we can ensure ingredients will be waiting for you on arrival, sourced from local producers where possible. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Mussels in Beer Broth with Cheese & Leek Rarebits
This recipe is perfect for anyone staying in one of our Cornish properties this month. Not only do you have access to wonderful fresh seafood from the weekly St Ives Farmers Market* (look out for Quayside Fish for the best, fresh market seafood) but you can stock up on bottles of beer from the St Ives Brewery which is worth a trip in itself. If the idea of cooking mussels seems a bit daunting, don’t be put off as this recipe is couldn’t be easier. Serve with these delicious cheese and leek rarebits to mop up all that beer and onion broth and impress whoever you’re catering for in the process.
*The St Ives Farmer’s Market takes place on Thursday between 9.30 – 2:00pm. Click here for more info on stallholders.
For the Rarebits
50g (2oz) butter
1 leek, trimmed and finely sliced
25g (1oz) flour
1 x 330ml bottle beer
125g (4oz) Cheddar, grated
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
8 sourdough slices, toasted
For the Mussels
2 echalion shallots, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Wild garlic for seasoning
1kg (2lb) fresh mussels, cleaned and beards removed (this can be done at the fishmonger)
1 tbsp cream
handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
For the rarebits, melt half the butter in a pan. Add the leek and cook until softened. Stir in the flour, cook for 2 minutes, then stir in 125ml (4fl oz) beer, the cheese and 1/2 tbsp mustard. Season with a little black pepper.
Meanwhile, in a separate, lidded pan, melt the remaining butter. Add the shallots and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden. Add the garlic and the remaining beer; leave to bubble for 2-3 minutes.
Tip in the mussels, then cover and steam for 4-5 minutes, until opened (discard any that remain closed). Transfer the mussels to a serving bowl, leaving the liquor behind in the pan.
Meanwhile, spread the rarebit mixture on the bread. Toast under a hot grill until melted and golden. Whisk the cream, parsley and remaining mustard into the mussel liquor; season. Pour over the mussels. Serve with the rarebits.
Leek, Gorgonzola and Walnut Orzotto
Orzo is a fantastic substitute for rice, especially in a risotto. It takes less time, requires less stirring and retains it’s texture and flavour better than risotto making it a perfect dish to pack up for a picnic on a long country walk or for a trip to the beach. This recipe makes the most of one of our favourite seasonal vegetables – the leek, while the Gorgonzola gives the dish and added dimension of flavour. All of this produce can be locally sourced – be sure to check out our list of recommended local shops at the bottom of this post.
Handful of walnut pieces
Knob of butter
1 onion finely chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
200ml dry white wine
500ml fresh chicken stock
Handful of parsley
85g Gorgonzola Dolce – crumbled
Juice half a lemon
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Put the walnuts in a baking tray, then toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until fragrant. Chop, then set aside. Turn off the oven.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once sizzling, add the onion with some salt and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes or until softened, then add the orzo and stir to coat in the butter. Turn up the heat, pour in the 200ml wine and bubble until almost completely evaporated.
Pour in the hot stock, 2 ladles at a time. Once the liquid is almost gone, add more. There’s no need to stir as much as with a rice risotto – the odd turn will do. Keep adding the stock this way until you run out. If the orzo needs more liquid to cook, add a couple of ladles of boiling water.
Once the orzo is just cooked and the sauce is creamy, stir in most of the walnuts and parsley, and all the gorgonzola and lemon juice, plus an extra splash of wine. Taste, season, divide among plates and top with the remaining nuts and parsley. Serve.
Chicken, Buttermilk and Wild Garlic Pie
If you’re driving to one of properties and want to ensure you have something good to eat on arrival, it’s often a good idea to pre-cook a meal that’s easy to pop in the oven. We love this recipe as it makes use of the often undervalued ingredient of wild garlic and will fill any property with the most beautiful smell of rustic, home cooking.
For The Filling
1 tbsp olive oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
30g/1oz unsalted butter
2 leeks, finely sliced into rounds
30g/1oz plain flour
175ml/6fl oz dry white wine
500ml/18fl oz fresh chicken stock
250ml/9fl oz buttermilk
1 bunch wild garlic, (about 10 leaves)
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Pastry
420g/15oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
250g/9oz ice cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
60g/2¼oz parmesan, grated
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp ice cold water
1 free-range egg, beaten
For the filling, heat the oil over a high heat in a frying pan with a lid. Fry the chicken thighs for 5–10 minutes, until they are deep golden-brown on both sides. You may need to do this in two batches. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Turn the heat down to low and add the butter to the pan along with the leeks and gently fry for 10 minutes, covered, until softened but not browned. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the white wine and allow to bubble for a minute, stirring, then add the chicken stock. Add the chicken back into the pan, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the buttermilk and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is well thickened.
Meanwhile, put the wild garlic into a food processor and blend to a fine purée.
Remove the pie filling from the heat, stir through the wild garlic purée, and season well with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to a bowl and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but overnight is preferable.
For the pastry, add the flour, butter, parmesan, cayenne and salt to a food processor and quickly pulse to a breadcrumb consistency. Add a teaspoon of cold water at a time until the pastry just comes together. Be careful not to make the pastry too wet or it will be tough. Tip out onto a floured surface and bring together lightly into a ball. Cut one-third of the pastry off for the pie top. Wrap both pieces in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
To assemble the pie, dust your work surface lightly with flour, then roll out the larger portion of pastry until it is the thickness of a pound coin. Dust your rolling pin with flour, and carefully drape the pastry over it. Transfer the pastry from the pin into a 23cm/9in pie dish. Carefully line the base of your dish, pressing down into the corners. Leave the edges untrimmed at this stage.
Fill the lined pie dish with the cold filling and brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg. Roll out the smaller portion of pastry to make the top. Use the rolling pin as before to transfer the pastry to the top of the pie. With a sharp knife, trim off the excess pastry to make a neat edge. You can push down the edges with a fork to seal them tight, or crimp them. Push the pastry down towards the outside of the dish with one finger. Pinch the pastry around that finger with the finger and thumb of your other hand to create a scallop. Repeat all along the edge.
Roll out any excess pastry and using a cutter of your choice, (I went for hearts), make some decoration for the lid of the pie. Brush with the beaten egg and return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
reheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5
Glaze the top of the pie once more, then bake for 35–40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked all the way though. Delicious served with buttery mash and spring greens.