When I am in London, my time is pretty packed. Catching up on meetings, working, organising everything (I need a PA!). My weekend are precious and often work filled. When I can, I will snatch a Saturday and cook.
I have a ritual on those Saturdays, some things I really like to do and that I find very relaxing. I start with a coffee and a newspaper in one of my favourite local cafés, then I trot to the farmers market to gather some bits. Always much more than intended, for it is full of delicious things.
This week: purple and green kale, raw honey, lots of free range eggs (which are much cheaper here than at the supermarket), a lovely plump chicken, chicken wings, and deer bones. It is eclectic, all the food comes from good places, and really, it is quite cheap if you choose well.
One thing I always bring back, either from the market or my local lovely butcher, are chicken carcasses, or failing that chicken wings. From these I concoct a large red pot of delicious stock. Rich and gorgeous, it will pepper my weekly meals.
This week I got 6 chicken carcasses (no wings) and roasted them to brown and extract the sticky delicious schmaltz (tasty chicken fat), both go into my stock pot with diced carrots, garlic, carrots, celery, shallots, bay and thyme. I then tuck into the paper and let it simmer. It is one of my favourite ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Having this pot of liquid gold on hand throughout the week leads to delicious and very quick meals that tell tall tales of long cooking and exertion. Of course, there was long cooking but that was days ago, and today I reap the rewards of a fabulous soup.
You may have noticed that I love mixing creatures in a meatball. I just love a tasty meatball or pasty. On this occasion I mixed raw prawns with some soft chorizo. I also add some breadcrumbs which lighten them. Because it is so rubbish outside, I must lighten my bowl too, so I added fresh chilli, parsley and spring onion.
Now I am calling it a meatball, but being more of a meatfishball it has a different texture, being primarily prawn. Lovely though, and it brings a little character and interest to a simple bowl of broth. Lots of protein too, and not a lot of fat.
Enjoy and let me know how you get on with it.
Ps. there is ginger in the bowl in the photo, which doesn’t exactly go, but I have a poor tum and ginger is terrific for it. The recipe is better without it so I have excluded it below.
Note on the recipe: You can use hard cured chorizo too but just make sure it is pulsed fine in your food processor, and it if it is not binding because it is dry, also add an egg. This isn’t necessary with soft chorizo. This recipe is much easier with a food processor.
Recipe: Prawn & Chorizo Meatballs in Chicken Broth
Serves a light lunch for 4 or a hearty one for 2 – 3
250g raw prawns, shelled and deveined
50g fine breadcrumbs
handful of fresh flat leaf parsley and mint
2 spring onions, whites and greens coarsely chopped
1 red chili
1 litre good chicken broth
4 carrots, finely diced
3 sticks celery, finely sliced
3 banana shallots or 3 onions, peeled and finely diced
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
half a lemon
light oil for frying
Sauté the carrot, shallot / onion and celery in some light oil over a medium heat until starting to soften.
Add the garlic and sauté for a further minute.
Add the stock and bay leaf, bring to just below the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, make your meatfishballs.
Using a food processor, blitz the chorizo until close to a paste. Add the spring onions, chilli, prawns, breadcrumbs and a handful of herbs and blitz further.
When you have a mixed paste, roll into balls slightly smaller than a ping pong ball and add to the soup.
Poach the meatfishballs (I like that word!) for about 10 minutes, season to taste with salt and some lemon juice from the lemon, and serve with some torn parsley and mint on top.