Rick explores family classics that evoke childhood memories and newer dishes that have marked more recent personal milestones - along with unforgettable stories that celebrate his favourite ingredients, food memories, family cooking moments and more. Sharing the dishes he most loves to cook for family and friends throughout the year, Rick takes you inside his home kitchen unlike he's done in any previous book.
Vietnamese poached chicken salad
with mint & coriander
What appeals to me about this salad is the combination of lightly poached chicken, bean sprouts, spring onions and herbs with roasted chopped nuts and sesame seeds, and the slightly gloopy fish sauce, lime juice and chilli dressing.
Serves 8 – 10 as a first course, or 4 as a main
50g root ginger, peeled and sliced
4 small skinless, boneless, free-range chicken breasts
1/2 large cucumber
8 spring onions, trimmed, halved and shredded
150g fresh bean sprouts
Small handful mint, leaves torn into small pieces
Small handful fresh coriander sprigs
1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
60g roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped
4 tbsp Thai fish sauce
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp light soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
1 medium-hot red chilli, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Put the ginger into a large, shallow pan with a litre of water and bring to the boil. Add the chicken breasts and leave them to simmer for 5–6 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken to cool in the liquid.
For the dressing, put the Thai fish sauce, vinegar, lime juice and sugar into a small pan and bring to the boil. Mix the cornflour with a teaspoon of water, stir this into the pan and simmer gently for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then stir in the red chilli and garlic.
For the salad, peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the flesh into 5cm-long matchsticks and add them to a large bowl with the spring onions, bean sprouts, mint and coriander, then toss together.
Lift the chicken breasts out of the poaching liquid and pull them into long chunky strips. Add these to the salad bowl and mix gently. Serve the salad with the dressing drizzled over the top and scattered with sesame seeds and chopped peanuts.
When peeling ginger, use the bowl end of a teaspoon to scrape the skin off. It’s much easier than using a peeler.
with savoy cabbage & sloes
I came up with this recipe to highlight the pork from Mangalitsa pigs, which I had filmed at a brilliant farm restaurant called Coombeshead, just outside Launceston in Cornwall. Since all of us have been subjected to nothing but very lean pork for the last 20 years, it’s really quite special to come across pigs that are reared almost more for their fat than their lean, and the meat was a reminder of how good free-range pork can be. Most felicitous, too, that I was filming in September when there was a bumper crop of sloes – perfect to cut the fattiness of the meat.
1 small savoy cabbage (about 400g), core removed and shredded
1–2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 pork chops (each about 250g)
Good handful sloes, bullaces or unripe plums
15g butter (only needed if the pork chops don’t yield much fat)
1 banana shallot, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
100ml red wine
A few fresh thyme sprigs
100–120ml Chicken stock
1 tbsp honey or soft brown sugar
Salt and black pepper
Boil the cabbage in salted water for 3 minutes, then drain. Put it in a pan with the oil, stir to coat, then season. Cover and cook over a very low heat for 20 minutes to soften.
Prepare the fruit by removing the stones with your fingers or a cherry stoner, or poach it for a few minutes in little water first. This makes it easier to remove the stones. Keep the flesh and the liquid, if poaching, for the sauce and discard the stones.
Season the pork chops on both sides. Cook them in a frying pan for 4–6 minutes on each side (depending on thickness), or until they reach an internal temperature of 71°C. Transfer the chops to a plate, cover with foil and leave to rest for about 5 minutes while you make the sauce. Leave the fat in the pan.
You want about a tablespoon of pork fat in the frying pan – just pour off any excess and keep it for another recipe. If the chops haven’t yielded much fat, add the butter. Add the shallot and garlic and soften for a minute or so, then add the remaining ingredients, including the fruit and any poaching water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3–5 minutes, then season to taste. Serve the sauce with the chops and cabbage.
Don’t even think of throwing the excess fat away. Render it down for the best lard you’re ever going to eat.
Pick and prepare sloes or bullaces when in season, then freeze them.
Vodka lemon drizzle pancakes
with blackberry compote
There is, I have to confess, no need to put the vodka in the blackberry compote that accompanies these, but it does add to the sense of occasion. The reality is that the director Matt Bennett asked me to come up with a recipe using vodka after a filmed visit to a potato farm and vodka distillery, Colewith Farm near St Austell, for my Cornish TV series. It was actually a celebration of autumn blackberries too.
Serves 4 – 6
250g fresh (or frozen) blackberries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1–2 tbsp caster sugar (depending on sweetness of berries)
125g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for cooking
Vodka lemon drizzle
4 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2–3 tbsp vodka
Clotted cream or vanilla ice cream
First make the batter. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the egg together with a little the mixture is the consistency of thick cream, add the tablespoon of oil and beat in the remaining milk. Set the batter aside for a few minutes while you make the compote.
Put the blackberries, lemon juice and sugar in a pan. Heat gently until the berries start to soften and release some of their juice and the sugar dissolves. Stir gently until you have a syrupy mixture but the berries are still holding their shape. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.
Heat a 20–23cm non-stick frying pan and swirl in a little oil, then pour out any excess. The pan should be just coated. Pour in enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan evenly and place over a medium heat. After about a minute or so, loosen the edges and flip the pancake over to cook the other side. Repeat to cook the rest, placing each one on a warm plate and covering with a clean tea towel to keep warm.
Mix together the sugar, lemon juice and vodka. To serve, drizzle each pancake with the vodka mixture, roll it up and spoon over some compote. Serve with cream or ice cream.
Extracted from Rick Stein at Home by Rick Stein, out now. Photography by James Murphy
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