Just a simple one, this: we went for a couple of good meat dishes on the barbecue, and learned important things about the fuel you should use with a charcoal chimney.
Sunny, the end of another warm day. Sometimes I think I only write this part of each post to show off my twilight-picture-taking skills…
We had some minced beef left over, and some sausages in the freezer from earlier barbecues. That led rather conveniently to Spicy Beef Burgers and sausages. Not much to it, but hey, it still counts 😉
However, I have a cautionary tale! We used some of the lumpwood charcoal we’ve accumulated over the years with our charcoal chimney. Not recommended! On the good side, it works really well with newspaper, sets fire almost instantly and is ready to cook with quicker than briquettes. But… it’s rubbish. It lasts nowhere near as long as briquettes, and (more importantly) it falls through the cone grate in the chimney, meaning a good heat can’t be sustained (and also meaning if you have to light a second batch over on your patio, you need a spade to carry the coals over. Nightmare.
So, a word to the wise: use briquettes if you have a charcoal chimney!
Okay, so I cheat a little in this recipe. It so happens that Levi Roots‘ Reggae-Reggae sauce is (to use his words) fabulocious. It works really well as a marinade, which is quite convenient for this recipe!
500g pack of diced chicken, or chicken breasts cut into 2-3cm dice
1tsp harissa paste
1tbsp dry white wine (believe me, it works!)
1tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Half a large red chilli, finely chopped
Two cloves of garlic, and 1cm of ginger, crushed/grated
Most of the ingredients above form a marinade for the chicken. Simply combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, and add the cubed chicken to it. Leave covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The lime juice should cook the chicken slightly, so it will get paler.
Thread and alternate chicken, cherry tomato, bell pepper and onion onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Note that if there’s an ingredient you’d prefer (okra might work), go for it. Aim for 3 pieces of chicken at least on each kebab, and pack quite tightly.
When you’re done, use a silicon brush to paint the remaining marinade over the kebabs. Barbecue for around 8 minutes, turning a couple of times. They’re really rather good when cooked, and go well with my Mango Salsa!
Again with the Caribbean theme! These spicy little beggers are fantastic with my mango salsa, or with a dollop of yoghurt, or maybe just some extra hot sauce, if you’re nuts.
Serves four hungry people
500g/1lb of pork mince
Zest and juice of a lime
1tsp of fresh thyme and oregano, chopped finely
1/2tsp ground allspice
1tsp harissa paste. Harissa is a chilli paste, typically Moroccan. But hey, it really works.
Two cloves of garlic, crushed
One large red chilli, chopped finely
1tsp crushed chilli flakes
2tsp grated ginger root
1tsp salt, and pepper to taste
Again pretty simple – combine the ingredients, and mix well. You may find that the lime juice makes the mixture a little wet – if so, add breadcrumbs. Divide the mixture into four, form a ball from each part, and compress the ball to give you a burger. These are four fairly hefty burgers, so you could potentially make five.
Spicy and fantastic with a cold beer (substitute Red Stripe, or other Caribbean beers!)
Stemming from the recent Caribbean Barbecue we tried out, this mango salsa is a fantastic accompaniment for any Jamaican food, and goes particularly well with pork, chicken and oily fish.
One ripe mango, peeled, stoned and cut into 2cm cubes
Half a red onion, chopped finely
Juice and zest of a lime
Half a large red chilli, very finely chopped
Half a red bell pepper, chopped roughly
A centimetre or so of ginger root, grated or chopped finely. I wouldn’t recommend using powdered ginger!
A handful each of coriander and garden mint, chopped finely
Caster or demarara sugar, to taste
This one couldn’t be much easier – combine in a bowl! Put the lime juice in with the sugar (perhaps stir them first). It’s important that you leave the salsa to make friends with itself in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
All comments suggest that this really is a nice accompaniment to spicy food. You’ll be surprised how well the mint and coriander work with the mango. Go try it.
It’s recipe time. This one was really a spur of the moment thing: we had some minced beef; MattBurgers had already been done at MattFest, and I fancied something different. This is a slight twist on my Indian Turkey Burgers, removing a little of the rawness of the onion by pre-cooking a few of the ingredients. So, you’ll need:
One pack of minced beef (1lb/500g). As I’ve said before, don’t get stuff that’s too lean – you need the fat to keep the burgers juicy.
1tsp each of nigella (black onion) seeds and black mustard seeds, ground
Salt and pepper, to taste
Quite a list, as usual for my spiced stuff. You could substitute a few of the spices for a good curry powder (note: not chilli powder), but if you do it my way, you can control quantities to your liking.
Begin by frying the onions, pepper, chilli and garlic on a medium heat until softened (about 3 minutes, stirring frequently). Add the ground nigella seeds and mustard seeds and cook for another couple of minutes.
When done, tip onto a plate, or such, and leave to cool almost completely (see above left). Once cool, the recipe is pretty simple! Combine the rest of the spices with the meat and the fried onions and pepper. If the mixture is too wet, add some breadcrumbs. You shouldn’t need an egg, as the oil used to fry the onions will moisten the mixture to begin with.
Grill as usual (around 5 minutes per side) on the barbecue. Delicious!
I’m afraid it’s been a while since my last post. Not only that, but it’s been a while since this barbecue too – so much so that I don’t remember exactly when it was. Good job I have pictorial evidence, eh? We used up the rest of our first bag of proper briquettes for this in the chimney (still awesome).
Warm and sunny, at the end of a long day. I note that I’ve yet to barbecue in heavy rain yet…
Quite low in volume! Plenty of salad and my very tasty couscous (recipe available upon request ;), but you’re not here for the low-fat stuff, are you? The food we actually cooked was pretty simple – some salmon steaks, rubbed with oil and cooked as usual, and some chicken legs. I used up the rest of the peri-peri rub I’d acquired (I’ve resolved to come up with a recipe for that, too), and we were done. You don’t need me to tell you it was nice.
Honorary Barbecue 12.5
While I was away over the past weekend, Gem held a barbecue for the family in my absence. I was tempted to count it… but I’m not sure if she took pictures. If so, I’ll try to acquire them