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Simon Hopkinson's "Roast Chicken and Other Stories"

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Has any one cooked from this book? Two wonderful discussions of it in the NYT Sunday edition make me want to run out and buy it - or put it on my Christmas list.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/mag...

There are two recipes in it - Roast Leg of Lamb with Anchovy, Garlic and Rosemary and Petit Pot au Chocolat.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/boo... - also discusses it, and other English cookbooks.

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  1. Here is another thing on the book, an excerpt, from a couple of weeks ago.

    http://www.culinate.com/read/book_exc...

    It also has a couple more recipes, and there were even a couple copies given away just two weeks ago.

    4 Replies
    1. re: madouglas

      Thanks! I've ordered it from my local bookstore, and am having my husband bring me some of his other books from London this week.

      1. re: MMRuth

        I would love to hear what you think about it when you get it. It seems to be a very love or hate book, nothing in between. I am curious to know if anyone can tell me why this is.

        1. re: madouglas

          Will do!

          1. re: MMRuth

            My copy came in on Friday and I've had fun perusing it - I love the way it's organized by ingredient - cream, brains, tripe, chocolate, etc.

            I think I may try the roast chicken tonight for my husband's return from London - he loves roast chicken - along with the roast potatoes.

            Looking forward to reading the other two of his books currently over the Atlantic!

    2. MMRuth, I was going to say, don't wait until Christmas but it look slike you may have decided not to! I bought my copy in 1994 when it first came out over here (he used to be the food writer in the newspaper I read - it's now Mark Hix). It's a series of straighforward recipes that are really tasty.

      1. I got it as a freebie at the office. An early Christmas present. I'm not sure what to make first.

        4 Replies
        1. re: NYCkaren

          I thought some of the eggplant dishes looked interesting, as did the Le Grand Aioli (w/ Cod) and some of the lamb dishes.

          1. re: NYCkaren

            I got a copy a couple of days ago and have begun reading it cover to cover. I think this is the book that will finally get me to cook offal. I cook liver, but have always been intimidated by brains, tripe, kidneys, and sweetbreads (which I love). This books is just what I needed to get me over it.

            1. re: JoanN

              I was thinking the exact same thing. I have cooked sweetbreads for my husband, but have not been much of an offal eater myself.

              1. re: JoanN

                I agree, Joan! Now if I could only find someone else to eat the stuff. My mother is going to be visiting me for the holidays and she won't even eat chicken livers. And I love them. It bums me out. I won't even ask her about sweetbreads. The only person I normally am cooking for is my 9-year-old daughter and I'm lucky if I can get her to eat a pork chop.

            2. After reading last week's NYT I put it immediately on my Christmas wish list. I look forward to hearing how your cooking goes from it.

              8 Replies
              1. re: LulusMom

                My husband tried to order it for me for Christmas yesterday and was told it is back ordered until February or March due to overwhelming demand! Darn, was looking forward to cooking from it!

                1. re: emilief

                  My corner bookstore, aptly called The Corner Bookstore (Manhattan), had to order it for me - I think I called on Monday - but it came in in about four days, so he might want to try some others stores, FWIW.

                  Edit - He might also try http://www.kitchenartsandletters.com/ - they may have stocked up.

                  1. re: emilief

                    I ordered it twice from Amazon and each time I got an e-mail about two days later saying, sorry, out of stock. But I found it at a Borders on a strip mall near my mother's house in New Jersey. Your husband may well be able to find it at a store that hasn't sold out of it yet--especially if that store is in a area, unlike Manhattan, that doesn't necessarily get a lot of traffic from cookbook aficionados.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      I bought 5 copies (gifts and 1 for me) at my local Barnes and Noble. What a lovely book.

                      1. re: Elizzie

                        I'm in pig heaven now so to speak - browsing through Second Helpings of Roast Chicken, and Week In, Week Out. I'm going to have to get a new kitchen scale (current one broken) to cook from these English ones.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Just got back from the UK and I too have read the two other ones he mentions. Quite a nice collection, and good for the winter season.

                          1. re: sagestrat

                            I've really enjoyed reading them so far, and made the roast chicken and roasted potato dish from Roast Chicken and Other Stories - both wonderful.

                    2. re: emilief

                      I got mine through The Good Cook Club, as one of the 4 books for $1.00 each (plus considerable shipping charges) sign-up deal. They have a wide selection and are worthwhile (for the addicted...).

                  2. Made the leg of lamb recipe out of the NYT before I got the actual book. It was quite good. The anchovy really does work with the lamb. Made the "Poulet Poche a la Creme" last night. Need to try again, with some tweaks. The concept is good, but after simmering the chicken for an hour and straining the broth, I still had over a gallon of stock. He says that while the chicken rests for a bit, "reduce the rest of the stock until thick and syrupy, ending with about 1/2 cup." I didn't have the time, but somehow, I don't think I was meant to have that much stock to reduce to 1/2 cup... I did reduce it for over an hour, and there was still a couple of cups left... Anyway, I used a bit to make the sauce and poured it over the chicken. Tasted good enough that I want to try again, this time with a smaller pot and less water....

                    Looking forward to trying more recipes from the book soon.

                    1. Hi, I have this cookbook and love it, it's alot different from cookbooks I have from the U.S. I really enjoy his stories and the recipes. So much so I'm asking if you could send one for me. I am on holiday and want to make his parsely salad but can't remember all the ingredients. Is it possible for you to post them for me? I don't need the method just whats in it. Thanks alot, Nancy

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: nancydevaux

                        Ingredients in Gay Bilson'S Parsley Salad

                        4 oz finest quality fleshy, black olives (Gay suggests Ligurian)
                        4 oz flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
                        4 oz red onion, peeled and finely chopped
                        2 oz Italian salted capers, rinsed
                        2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
                        20 large anchovy fillets (preferably pink Spanish anchovies)
                        grated rind of 2 lemons
                        black pepper
                        1/2 cup olive oil
                        lemon juice, to taste
                        thin slivers of Parmesan cheese

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Thanks so much for the recipe, I know my friends will love it.
                          Nancy

                      2. My husband brought me "Week In, Week Out" from England, and now that I finally replaced my kitchen scale, I made two dishes from it last night.

                        "Fragrant duck 'pilaf' with lemon and mint" - the pilaf is made with moong dal, but I mistakenly used whole moong beans in the shell, so I had to cook them a bit longer and they weren't quite right, needless to say. The duck legs get browned first and then added back into the pilaf mixture and put into the oven. I thought they were a little tough, and I generally like my duck medium rare - so next time I might either cook longer, so they become more tender, or add them in towards the end of the cooking. I used a Meyer lemon, and thought that the dish could have had more mint and more lemon. The second photo is what it is supposed to look like.

                        "Mandarin Granita" - I've never made granita before - this one called for using tangerine, satsuma or clementine juice, and I used tangerine juice that I bought at Whole Foods, adding some Caster Sugar and the juice of one Meyer lemon - it was light and delicious.

                         
                         
                         
                        1. I've really gotten into this book now - I think maybe I needed the initial inspiration of the photos from "Week In, Week Out".

                          From Roasted Chicken ....

                          Last Wednesday night while out for dinner, my husband announced that he would be roasting a chicken this weekend. When I asked him if he wanted anything with that, he said, "a knife and fork". Nothwithstanding that, I went ahead and made the Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes, possibly the best mashed potatoes I've ever had. I used Yukon Golds rather than russets, or "Jersey Royals", as he also recommends. Milk is infused with garlic, rosemary and thyme (but I had no thyme, so more rosemary), and then added to 1 cup of olive oil (to 2 lbs of potatoes) and then mixed in using a stand mixer to the potatoes (I used a food mill on them). I used a fruttato, and the potatoes had the slightest (but appealing) green sheen to them. There's a reason this recipe is in the "olive oil", rather than "potato", chapter. Definitely will make these again.

                          Last night I made Salmon in Pastry with Currants and Ginger. It calls for preserved ginger, which I couldn't find, so I used ginger in syrup and rinsed them well. You use (bought in my case) puff pastry dough - 3 oz pieces rolled out "thinly" to 5" squares, but in my case 3oz pretty much equalled 5" squares, and looked a bit small for my salmon pieces, so I rolled out to 6" squares. Soaked currants and slivered ginger are added, along with salt, pepper and a pinch of mace to softened butter, patted on top of the salmon and chilled. Once both the squares and the salmon have chilled (30 minutes), you brush the squares with egg yolk/water, put the salmon butter side down, wrap up in packages and chill again, seamside down, for another 30 minutes. Then bake at 400 degrees on a buttered baking sheet for 20 - 30 minutes - I did 30. He says the dish can be served with a sauce Messine or a hollandaise "lightened" with whipped cream, or just served as is with a wedge of lemon. I decided to forgo the sauce and forgot the lemon, but still absolutely wonderful. The salmon was moist and flavorful - a 6oz portion, with the added dough, was very filling. Served Goin's roasted beets and horseradish sauce on arugula as a salad that we ate as a separate course.

                           
                           
                           
                          20 Replies
                          1. re: MMRuth

                            I received the sequel for Christmas. More Roast Chicken, I am still perusing it. I'll report back.

                            1. re: Candy

                              Thanks - I've browsed through it, but not cooked from it yet.

                            2. re: MMRuth

                              That salmon looks just spectacular! I've been having some difficulty figuring out a lunch menu for a few 90-year-old foodies (with to-be-expected and varying diet issues) and you may have just solved my problem. Thanks.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                I also think you could make them ahead and then just pop them in the oven. Let me know if you find preserved ginger - I gather it's a common Asian ingredient, but I didn't have any luck at Dean & Deluca or our local market (Murphy's) - didn't do an extensive search though.

                                Also - I used 6 oz center cut filets (trimming off the excess of the piece I had) but for a lunch dish and also for eaters who might not eat as much, I might go a bit smaller.

                                I used Dufour's puff pastry, and used a little less than half of the piece (maybe cut off an inch in the middle at the seam.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  Thanks for the tips.

                                  I just spent a few minutes Googling info and recipes for “preserved ginger” and am finding conflicting information. Some (most) Web sites call for parboiling the ginger and then cooking it in a sugar syrup—pretty much the same as the first steps for making crystallized ginger. At least one Web site makes a distinction between crystallized ginger and preserved ginger saying the former is preserved in sugar and the latter in salt.

                                  I also came across this old thread,

                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/268923

                                  which, as might be expected, recommends looking in Chinatown. But the preserved ginger mentioned here certainly sounds like a sweet rather than a salty version.

                                  It could very well be that you were using exactly the ingredient called for. Since you’ve tasted the recipe, do you have a sense that salty might be preferable?

                                  I also wonder if it might be helpful to start a new thread asking about this. There are an awful lot of folk on the board who are experts in Chinese ingredients and they might know if a ginger preserved in salt is a readily available product.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    I thought the dish could have used a little more salt - I think crystalized ginger would be too sweet and that what I used worked well, and with maybe some addition of salt in the butter mixture - I just used a little pinch. I'll start a new thread ....

                                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/479219

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      The recipe was a sixties invention of (I think) George Perry-Smith. The ginger would be sweet, as tastes in England at that time were for sweeter, richer food. It may sound unusual, but it is very, very good.

                                      Preserved stem ginger is available in the Oriental section of most English supermarkets, however I've never needed to shop for it in the US.

                                      If you're looking for a recipe to try from his first book, the pork belly braised in soy sauce, ginger and garlic is magnificent.

                                      Actually, I've never come across a poor recipe in any of his books. The man has taste.

                                      1. re: alastairf

                                        It just so happens that I went to Chinatown this morning to look for preserved ginger to make this dish. I found two packages, each labeled "preserved ginger" and each looking entirely different from one another. Since they weren't particularly expensive, I bought them both. Niether, by they way, specifically said they were from stem ginger. The one on the left, which looks more or less like crystallized ginger without the additional sugar, is quite salty. The one on the right, which is called "preserved ginger strips," is so horribly salty I suspect I'll end up throwing it away. I'm not sure, now, whether or not I should go back and buy ginger in syrup or experiment with rinsing the first ginger to tone down the salt somewhat. Luckily, I have some time to play with this. I just wish we knew for sure just what product he was calling for here.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          That stuff on the right looks pretty bad, and the one on the left just looks like regular crystalized ginger to me. I think you could scrape off the sugar and boil it a little bit maybe - or just use the kind in syrup.

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            You're right that it looks like it, but I assure you it doesn't taste like it. I thought the same thing when I bought it and was rather surprised when I sampled it. It's definitely salt, not sugar. But you're right that scraping the stuff off would probably do it. I think perhaps I'll do that since you said the butter concoction could have used a bit more salt anyway.

                                            Yes, that stuff on the right does look vile, doesn't it? Tastes the same. But it's very much like the one hannaone showed in the separate query link. Wish I knew what it was used for so I don't have to throw it away. Perhaps I'll go back to that thread and ask.

                                        2. re: alastairf

                                          Thanks for the tip about the pork belly - my husband loves pork belly and I've never cooked it. May try it this weekend. What do you think of the photo JoanN posted below in terms of what you think of as preserved ginger?

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            That's not the one. You want ginger in sugar syrup (see photo), not salt. http://uktv.co.uk/food/ingredient/aid... for more details.

                                            A couple of articles I found by Mr Hopkinson, discussing the dish, if you're interested..

                                            http://www.waitrose.com/food/celebrit...

                                            http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi...

                                             
                                            1. re: alastairf

                                              Thanks - I did end up buying and using one in syrup. I'll look at your links - thank you.

                                2. re: MMRuth

                                  I made the Salmon in Pastry with Currants and Ginger for my mother’s 90th birthday lunch and it was an excellent choice. It’s elegant and wonderfully flavorful and can be done in steps, most of them ahead of time. I made the butter mixture the night before and then wrapped the salmon in pastry (also Dufour) about 2½ hours before I put them in the oven. They didn’t seem to suffer in the least. I used 4 ounces of wild salmon per person and was a bit concerned about the timing since the fillets were rather thin. Based on MMRuth’s report I cooked them for 30 minutes. I shouldn’t have worried; the seasoned butter mixture helps keep the salmon moist. I rolled the pastry rather thin so that after marking a crisscross pattern in the pastry (see MMRuth’s photo above), some of the filling broke through the top while baking, but it was still a very handsome presentation. This was my first Hopkinson recipe and it makes me eager to try more.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    So happy it worked out well - I was a little worried that this was your mother's birthday and that maybe, somehow, it wouldn't be good!!

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Joan, I hope you'll post a post mortem on your query thread about the whole luncheon - I'm vey curious about how it turned out and what you served!

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                        I think maybe she did - will look.

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          Here:

                                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/48855...

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            Thanks, I missed that...obviously [g].

                                    2. re: MMRuth

                                      Adding ingredient list:

                                      12 oz puff pastry dough
                                      3-4 globes of preserved stem ginger (comes in syrup)
                                      2T currants
                                      1/2 cup butter, softened
                                      salt and pepper
                                      pinch of ground mace
                                      1.5 pounds salmon filet, skinned and boned, centre cut
                                      1 egg yolk

                                    3. From Week In, Week Out ....

                                      Apple and Horseradish Sauce

                                      Calls for using Bramley apples - no idea what they are - so used some large red/yellowish apples the name of which I don't remember. Two large apples are peeled, cored and chopped, and brought to a boil w/ 3 T caster sugar, 1/4 cup water and 3 cloves, then stirred a bit as apples "collapse", then covered and cooked at very low heat for about 45 minutes. During that time I cleared my sinuses by grating some fresh horseradish for the first time - a 120 gram piece - but I didn't add all of it as it was plenty strong. Once the apples are done, you let them cool and add the juice of 1/2 large lemon, and the grated horseradish. This recipe is meant to accompany tafelspitz, but I served it with grilled smoked pork chops and Goins cabbage with onions and bacon (I skip the corn this time of year).

                                      Salad of Green Beans with Anchovies

                                      A very simple salad, with a mustard vinaigrette that is heavy on the oil (150 ml peanut oil and 150 ml olive oil to 1 T red wine vinegar - out of peanut oil, so used 2/3 olive oil, 1/3 grapeseed), and has 4 anchovies in it. You cook the beans for 3-4 minutes until tender (but they should not squeak, he says), and then compose the salad with the beans, spoon dressing on top, sprinkle with finely chopped shallots, and then add anchovies and some drizzled olive oil on top. Divine. I served this on a bed of arugula for some extra greens.

                                      Chili Crab Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

                                      This is apparently a salad that he replicated from the Oriental Hotel, which was served with pomelos, not grapefruit. The dressing is definitely a spicy Thai dressing:

                                      Leaves of small bunch of cilantro
                                      Leaves from 6 mint sprigs
                                      2 cloves of garlic, chopped
                                      4-5 small seeded and chopped green chilies (used two serranos and that was plenty hot)
                                      1 T caster sugar
                                      Juice of 4 large limes
                                      8 T fish sauce
                                      8 T tepid water

                                      Mix together in food processor (or liquidiser, which is preferred, but I didn't check to see if that was a blender or something else!). Then you arrange "Little Gem" or similar lettuce (I used tender parts of Bibb lettuce), grapefruit segments, avocado (mine had lots of black spots, so the slices aren't too pretty), and white crabmeat (I used some inexpensive claw meat).

                                      The next night, with the leftover lettuce, crabmeat, cilantro, mint and some of the dog's carrots, I made summer rolls, and when I went to make the dipping sauce, realized that the dressing from the night before would be perfect with them.

                                       
                                       
                                       
                                       
                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        Just looked up Bramley Apples and they are green, so maybe I should have used a tarter apple:

                                        http://www.bramleyapples.co.uk/

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          Bramleys are very tart, green cooking apples. They're also usually quite big compared to other apples in the shops here. They're great for making chutneys and such, but I don't think anyone ever eats them raw.

                                          By the way, about getting British cookbooks: if someone you know is coming to England, tell them to check to see if there's a Sussex Stationers within traveling distance. I've seen them in lots of towns south of London, and they sell books very very cheaply. I've seen the Hopkinson books in there for about half the bookstore price. They don't have everything, but they have a lot of the new and popular books, by Nigella, Jamie, Gordon, etc. And they also have the Leith's Bible books for about 20 pounds each, which is a very good deal.

                                          1. re: Kagey

                                            Thanks for the information on the Bramleys - the ones I used were on the sweetish side, and I can see the tartness being a nice contrast, though I liked what I made with the porkchops.

                                            By the way - is a "liquidiser" the same as a blender?

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              Ha. Yes!

                                          2. re: MMRuth

                                            The other main benefit that a Bramley has over many other apples is that it cooks down to a mush rather than holding its shape. Makes it ideal for this recipe and other sauce type stuff. You would not eat one raw.

                                        2. Last night I made Roast Best End of Lamb with Eggplant and Basil Cream Sauce. The recipe calls for "best end" or rack of lamb, and I used the latter, not knowing what the former is or if it is the same thing. I cut the recipe in half. The basil cream sauce was lovely and surprisingly light, but flavorful. I used some purchased demi glace instead of the meat glaze, and just added some mayonnaise and a little garlic and lemon juice instead of making aioli to add to it. The eggplant is quartered, salted and left to drain for an hour, then wrapped up in tin foil with rosemary sprigs, lemon wedges (after juice is squeezed on top), garlic cloves, and sprinkled with olive oil and pepper. The lamb is oiled and seasoned, seared on the stove top until golden, then roasted for 20-25 minutes (basting, which I forgot to do) at 425 - added to the oven after the eggplant has been in for 15 minutes. Then let to rest for 10 -15 minutes. I thought that was a bit long and kept testing with my meat thermometer - pulled out after about 20 minutes, but next time I'd cook it for a shorter time.

                                          I served it with a jerusalem artichoke gratin from Marcella - the first time I've had jerusalem artichokes - and the leftover beet salad. Photos aren't great - the sauce was greener than it appears.

                                          Another winner from this book.

                                           
                                           
                                           
                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            I'm curious what the eggplant was like? Did you like it?

                                            I just got this book and was thrilled to see this thread which I had previously missed somehow.

                                            1. re: GretchenS

                                              Yes - I really liked the eggplant - incredibly tender and creamy, infused with the lemon/garlic/rosemary flavors.

                                          2. I like it so much that I'm attempting to cook every dish in it (yes, it's doing a Julie-Julia, but it really is a wonderful idea to try everything in a book including the things you wouldn't normally dream of...). I'm not looking forward to the brains section, but the Endives au Gratin and Roast Chicken are truly delicious (the gravy in the roast chicken is particularly wonderful), as are the vegetables under the pigeon with braised lettuce, peas and bacon. The olive mash, on the other hand...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Bodacea

                                              Good for you - I've been avoiding the brains and other offal and need to get on it!

                                            2. Two recipes from Week, In, Week Out:

                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/48181...

                                              New Potatoes with Caviar and Sea Trout with Champagne Sauce.

                                              1. bumping this thread, since Roast Chicken & Other Stories has been discussed so much on the COM suggestions thread...

                                                I made the cepes tart (with dried porcini and fresh button mushrooms)
                                                The puff pastry was absurdly easy to make, although too buttery for my tastes
                                                I used some of it to wrap up sour cherry preserves for a little *fried pie* action (although it was baked)

                                                The other recipe in the book that involves this crust is anchovy/onion, which I think would be better suited to the richness. The lovely twist in the mushroom topping is lemon zest - along with mushroom, garlic, bread crumbs, parsley, parmiggano, s + p. Nice - I had way too much, it'll be great on pasta.

                                                 
                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: pitu

                                                  Mmmm - that looks wonderful. I have a pork belly and want to make the soy sauce etc. recipe that someone above mentioned as being wonderful - these week.