Tag Archives: curry sauce

Do You Want Curry Chips With That? (with your Baked Curried Cod that is!) Serves 4-6

The other day a very old friend tracked me down via this blog, and since then we have exchanged a couple of emails. The kind of “old friend” I am talking about is the one you are forever bound to because you were in the same place at the same time during those precious formative years; the years where you were beginning to become the person you ultimately became (for lack of a more evolved explanation).

Curried Chips: the reason for this post!

Curried Chips: the reason for this post!

I met Maria when we were thirteen and we were thrown together, for better or for worse, until we were grown women of eighteen (supposedly anyway!), and, except for a few occasions when we happen to bump into each other, and keeping up a little through mutual friends, we had never really kept in touch. I didn’t see this as a  failure on either of our parts. It was just life, and our school friendship was complete in and of itself, unchanged by the years in between and the cheery hello I received from her last week.

The River Barrow (10 minutes from our house)

The River Barrow (10 minutes from our house)

Of course the way in which friendships like this one are rekindled  is to connect over the events that our lives revolved around at that time; the place we lived, the people we knew, the food we ate etc. And so when we emailed, we both started off with “remember when?” comments.

Maria’s “remember when” was about running over to get batter burgers at lunchtime! What’s a batter burger you may well ask? Basically, the Fish & Chip shop was the only place to have something quick to eat in the 1970’s through the 80’s, and was (and still is) synonymous with the last stop on the way home from a drunken night on the town. It was thought to be a good hangover cure, or at least make it more bearable.

Crispy battered cod

Crispy battered cod from The Saltee Chipper in County Wexford

  ‘The Chipper”, as any one of these places was generally referred to, was by and large run by first generation Italians in Ireland, and they had accomplished the art of frying fish, meat and potatoes (the staples in Ireland back then), in a small vat of bubbling oil to crisp perfection. There is nothing quite like a meal of battered cod and chips (french fries) with a good soaking of vinegar. It can be such a deeply satisfying dish when eaten at exactly the right moment. The batter burger sounds awful, a beef patty dipped in dough batter and deep-fried to a golden puffiness – yep, that does sound awful, but I assure you I must have liked it at one point in my life. Battered sausages were also a popular item but I never had the nerve to try one. They looked like long blistered…well they looked pretty disgusting to me!

Approacing Christ's Church Cathedral

Dublin is a great place for Fish and Chips

Being reminded of foods like batter burgers made me think about the food from the Chipper that I really enjoyed. I still make Fish and Chips today (plenty of examples of this on my blog) but the memory of Curried Chips was what I became fixated on. In Ireland chips came with everything. It was simply unacceptable to serve a meal without a potato on the plate in one form or another. The Chinese restaurants that opened up were soon to learn that serving chips on the same plate as the chicken curry and rice gleaned more hungry Bar-goers and so it became common to eat chips accidentally soaked in curry sauce.

a peak at the view

County Laois

I am really just coming to my own logical conclusion that the flavor of  the curry sauce on the chips was so popular it became a frequent request at the Chip Shop, and slowly but surely Curried Chips became a popular item on the menu. So much so, that along with the obligatory question, “salt and vinegar?” after your chips were hot out of the oil and in a neat little rectangular bag, you were asked if you wanted curry sauce too. It was either poured into the bag or given on the side. As messy as it was to eat, I preferred it spilling out of the bag!

Curried Chips with Cod Fish

My Version of Curried Chips with Cod Fish

The logic continued to follow that I would have to make Curried Chips myself to capture some of that nostalgia. When my son took his first bite he declared, “hey, these are like the curried chips in Ireland”

Enough said!

___________________________________

For the Curry Sauce:

4 tbs unsalted butter

3 to 4 cups chicken or veggie broth OR 1 good quality bouillon cube and water (which is what I usually do for this. I use Rapunzel brand cubes: really great)

1 1/2 to 2 tbs mild or medium heat madras curry powder

1 tsp sea-salt

freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1 – Put sauce pan on medium/low heat and add the butter. When it has melted, add the curry powder and sir until incorporated. Add the flour and repeat process. If using a bouillon cube, crumble it in, and stir well.

melt butter, add curry powder

melt butter, add curry powder

2 – Next add the liquids 1 cup at a time while mixing with a whisk. Cook sauce (stirring all the while) until thickened and flour and spices have cooked into the liquid, (about 10 minutes or so). Taste and adjust for salt and pepper according to your likeness. Cover and set aside.

Cook for a little

Cook for a little

*If you feel your sauce could be thinner, add more stock or water until the desired consistency is reached.*

add liquid, salt adn pepper

Add liquid, salt and pepper

Serve with whatever you like; in this case, chips or french fries (depending on which continent you grew up on!)

serve with fries

serve with fries (either on the side like this, or smothering the chips completely in sauce!)

Recipe for Chips (Fries):

4 large potatoes (not huge, just large!)

3 tbs olive oil,

1 tsp sea-salt

generous grinding of black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven 475*

1 – Wash and dry the potatoes and cut lengthways into thick slices (3/5″, 1cm) and put in large bowl. 2 – Add the salt & pepper and the olive oil to bowl and mix well with hands until potatoes are well coated. When oven is hot take your big baking sheet and add 2 tbs oil to pan and place in lower 3rd of oven.

from potato, to slices, to fries!

From potato, to slices, to fries!

2 – Add the salt & pepper and the olive oil to bowl and mix well with hands until potatoes are well coated. When oven is hot take your big baking sheet and add 2 tbs oil to pan and place in lower 3rd of oven. Let pan warm for about 4 or so minutes. Take pan out (it will give off a bluish smoke, don’t be alarmed) and immediately pour potatoes onto pan (should sizzle).

Mix in a bowl with rest of ingredients

Mix in a bowl with rest of ingredients (I added a few sprigs of rosemary that I discovered lurking in the back of the veggie drawer)

3 –  Arrange evenly in a single layer and place in oven for 20 minutes. Take out, let pan cool for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and then turn fries with a spatula (or egg flip/turner?). They should release easily….if not, put back in oven for another 2 minutes and try again. Turn and place back in oven for a further 8 to 10 minutes (peak after 8). Take out, give them a minute to release themselves and get ready to serve or keep warm as the case may be.

great fries

Great fries

Recipe for Baked Curried Cod:

1 1/2 to 2 lbs fresh cod fillets (use 2 lbs if cooking for six), cut into 4 to 6 oz pieces

1 tsp mild curry powder

sprigs of fresh thyme (about 2 dozen)

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter

sea-salt and black pepper for seasoning fish

Method:

Preheat oven to 400*

1 – Wash and dry fish. Season fish with sea-salt and pepper and curry powder. Rub a baking sheet with the olive oil and toss the thyme sprigs in the bottom in the even layer. Place the fish on top of the thyme.

*If some of your fish is thick and some thin (the tail end), all you have to do is fold the thin pieces in two to thicken them out and to assure they cook around the same time as your thicker pieces*

Arrange fish on baking tray with other ingredients

Arrange fish on baking tray with other ingredients

2 – Place a pat of butter on each fish piece and bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Take it our of the oven and cover with foil until ready to serve.

et voila!

et voila!

Serve this with whatever you like: if serving alone, add some lemon wedges. This is also great with egg noodles, rice and a sautéed green.

As you can see, I served the fish with curry sauce adn chips - delish!

As you can see, I served the fish with curry sauce and chips – quite delish!

Flavorful Meatloaf with Curried Gravy, Creamy Mash & Peas AND A Word About Washing-Up! (serves 6-8)

This is one of those dinners I make every once in a while when I am begged. And the reason that it requires begging is simple: too many pots and pans!!! It is most certainly worth it when it is all over, however I have no plans to make this dish for at least another six months, or perhaps not until it is someone’s dying wish.

Flavorful Meatloaf with Curried Gravy, Mash & Peas

Flavorful Meatloaf with Curried Gravy, Mash & Peas

So how many pans are we talking about here: well there is a pan to saute the vegetables, a large baking tray to cook the meatloaf, a pot for boiled and mashed potatoes, a pan for gravy and a saucepan for the peas. Oh, and I forgot, the large mixing bowl for the raw ground meat and seasonings.

When I make a dinner like this I always think about my mother who cooked dinners like this every night (actually not meatloaf in Ireland but you know what I mean). She had a pot for veggies, a pan or pot for meat, a pot of potatoes (always!) and a pan for sauce. How she didn’t go insane with all of those pots to shuffle around on the stove is beyond me, and then the pile of washing-up?  The washing-up became my and my sister’s headache when we were old enough to reach the basin of water!

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

Maybe that’s why I shy away from “meat and potato” dinners. It reminds me of the unending piles of dish, pots, pans, knives, forks and cups for tea afterwards. This was of course all done without a dishwasher, sure it’s no wonder I openly declare love for my dishwasher every single day.

I can’t believe I am giving a recipe for something delectable while also complaining about how laborious it is to prepare. But it feels refreshing to be totally blunt and to let you know what you are getting yourself into by choosing to cook this on perhaps a busy week night when you can barely stand. In other words, leave this dinner for a day when nothing would suit you better than to hide away in the kitchen for a bit by yourself and you feel the need to fuss over pots and pans.

Cook in oven for 1 hour

Meatloaf wrapped in bacon (another version)

It is also important to tell you that even if you have a dishwasher make sure to rinse anything that has been in contact with those starchy mashed potatoes, or you will get a crust on every glass that is washed along with it!

On the very bright side, it is a delicious meal and if you make two loaves as I did, the leftovers are an absolute treasure the next day or the day after, to be fried, a filling for sandwiches, or even warmed, sliced and wrapped in romaine leaves for lunch.

My hat is off to anyone who tackles dinners like this on a regular basis, and that there are enthusiastic helpers when it comes to the washing-up!

_____________________________________

For the meatloaf:

3lbs ground meat (you can use just beef or a combination of beef with lamb and/or pork)

2 eggs

3 slices white bread (really crappy or stale bread is fine)

3/4 cup milk (any %)

2 tbs olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

10 small/medium crimini mushrooms, diced (also called Baby Bella, but white button mushrooms would be fine too)

2 celery ribs including leaves, diced

1/2 cup chopped black olives (I used flavor-packed Kalamata olives)

2 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

2 tsp mild/medium curry powder (optional)

1 tsp sea-salt

several grinds black pepper

For the Curry Gravy:

3 tbs unsalted butter

3 tbs all-purpose flour

1 tbs mild curry powder (use something you love)

3 cups chicken stock OR 1 good quality bouillon cube & water

sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Mash:

6 med/lrg potatoes, peeled and cut into 8 pieces each  (whatever you have)

2 tbs unsalted butter

3/4 cup milk (anything will do except skim)

1 tsp sea-salt

several grinds black pepper.

For the Peas:

1/2 lb baby peas

knob of butter

salt & Pepper

Method:

1 – Put saute pan on medium heat and add the oil. When it has warmed for a minute add the onions, garlic, celery and mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and set aside.

Saute veggies for meatloaf

Saute veggies for meatloaf

2 – In the meantime break the slices of bread into a small bowl and add the milk. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the ground meat, followed by the rosemary, curry powder, salt, pepper, chopped olives and the soaked milky bread (squeeze out the excess milk with your hands before adding bread to the meat)

add ingredietns to ground meat

Add ingredients to ground meat

3 – When the veggies are cooked and have cooled down a bit, add to the meat also. Mix everything together until very well mixed (I use my hands).

form into loaves

Form into loaves

4 – Divide the mixture into two and put on a greased baking tray. Form into “loaves” and bake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour.

cook

Cook!

5 – Take out and cover loosely with foil and let rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before thickly slicing.

In the meantime, make the gravy and put the potatoes on to boil.

For the potatoes:

1 – Peel and cut the potatoes and place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Place lid on pot and boil until soft. Check, and when a knife goes through the center of the potato easily, they are done.

cream potatoes

Cream potatoes

2 – Drain the water and add the rest of the mash ingredients and mash with a potato masher until well mixed and have a creamy consistency. Taste for further seasoning and adjust to your taste. Cover loosely with a cloth and set aside on stove-top.

For the gravy:

1 – Put saucepan on low/ medium heat and add the butter. When it melts add the curry powder and mix. Add the flour and mix until you have a smooth paste (use a manual whisk for the job).

Melt butter, add curry powder

Melt butter, add curry powder

2 – Add 1 cup of the stock and mix until smooth. Add the rest of the liquid and turn the heat up to medium and cook until sauce is simmering, whisking pretty constantly. Cook for about 4 minutes while it is simmering, then turn off heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

add liquid

Add liquid

*If using a bouillon cube (like I did!), add it at the same time as the curry powder and then continue with the recipe using water*

Cook peas last:

While chicken is resting, boil peas.

Cook peas in a little boiling water until cooked (about 3 minutes). Drain and season with a little pepper and a knob of butter.

Serve

Serve

To serve: Add mash to each plate, along with slices of meatloaf, peas and plenty of gravy!

The BEST Curried Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans and Exemplary Boiled Potatoes (serves 6)

Let me be crass and exalt, OMG and then tell you that this dinner was inspired by Jane Austen; two very opposite words (the OMG & Ms. Austen, that is) that somehow get flung together in explaining how this dinner came about. It was outstanding.

I will admit right now (despite alienating some people and endearing others) that I love Jane Austen’s books, and consequently the movies. I have my favorites, but could happily watch any one of them every night of the week for the rest of my life. I love how people communicated to each other on the simplest matters.

The Best Curried Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans & Exemplary Boiled Potatoes

One of the lines from Pride and Prejudice has been quoted a lot lately by son in order to tease me, and, to poke at the stuffiness of  conversations from that time period. 

A Mr. Collins had come to dinner and in an effort to impress and flatter everyone present, he complimented the food by saying, “What excellent boiled potatoes, it’s been years since I have had such an exemplary vegetable”

Wow – what accolades to bestow on such a humble tuber, but honestly, I could listen to my food being praised like that all night long.

I had a lovely couple of pounds of yellow baby fingerling potatoes from my local farm source and wanted so badly to exemplify them! The best way to cook potatoes that are this fresh and good is to simply boil them and toss in butter and salt.

I had green beans and onions from the same place and decided to go with them and make the meal as local as possible. I had pork tenderloin, and instead of roasting it with the usual rosemary and a little broth, I sliced it, fried it in butter and oil, and made an unctuously dreamy curry sauce.

I think Mr. Collins would have had a lot to say last night!

_____________________________________

You will need: 2 1 lb pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/3″ pieces, 3 tbs unsalted butter, 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 medium red onion, small dice, 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp strong curry powder,( I used a vindaloo, if your powder is mild, double the amount stated), 1/2 tsp sea-salt, several grinds black pepper, 2 lbs baby fingerling potatoes (or very small white or red potatoes will do also), 1 lb green beans (or green & yellow), cut into 1/2″ pieces. More salt, pepper, butter & oil as needed.

1 – Scrub potatoes and put in pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer with lid on until potatoes are soft all the way through. Drain into colander and then return back to pot. Add a tbs of butter, 1/2 tsp salt and several grinds of pepper and mix in gently. Cover with a tea towel to keep warm until serving.

Exemplary Potatoes from Good Work Farm

2 – Slice pork and season with salt and pepper. Put big saute pan on med/high heat and working in batches cook pork on both sides adding 1 tbs of oil and 1 tbs of butter as needed. Cook until pork is done (about 6 or so minutes). Transfer to a plate as you go, and cover.

Cook pork

3 – While pork is cooking boil water for the beans. When it comes to a boil, add the beans and cook (covered) until they are soft and cooked completely through. Drain, return to their pot and add a little salt, pepper and extra-virgin olive oil.

Cook green beans

4 – When the pork is done, turn down heat to medium/low and add the diced onions (you may need to add a little more oil and butter). Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

saute red onions

5 – Add the curry powder to the onions and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir for another minute. Add the cup of broth and stir until everything is smooth and flour is completely distributed. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. The sauce will thicken. Cook for about 5 minutes.

make sauce

6 – Add pork to the pan and after about a minute turn off heat. Taste for further seasoning, and add more liquid if you like a thinner sauce.

Add pork

Serve a portion of everything on warm plates. 

What an Amazing Monday Night Dinner!