For when you're not in a rush, and are looking forward to a rich and hearty meal, these dishes are ones I keep on coming back to.

Barbecue Ribs

Delicious sweet, hot, sticky, pork ribs, for when you're in that mood. I've tried lots of recipes for barbecue ribs, but this one based on the recipe in Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course Season 1, Episode 7 is definitely my favourite. The two key things to get right are to brown the ribs well on the hob at the start, and to ensure there's enough liquid before they go in the oven. Browning the ribs makes sure the end flavour is everything it can possibly be, and sufficient liquid is key to ensuring that the ribs don't dry out. The best thing about this recipe is that you can get amazing results from even the cheapest cuts pork ribs.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pork ribs
  • 4 " fresh ginger, chopped into thin slices.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp Sichuan pepper, lightly crushed
  • 4 star anise, whole
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 300 ml rice wine
  • 1 bunch spring onions or 4-6 shallots, chopped.
  • 500 ml stock

Instructions

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed oven tray on the hob, and brown the ribs on all sides - this will take a few minutes.
  2. When the ribs are nicely browned, add the ginger and garlic to the pan and mix well.
  3. Add the chilli flakes, Sichuan pepper, star anise, honey, soy sauce, vingear, rice wine and bring to the boil
  4. Add the onions and enough stock to nearly cover the ribs.
  5. Cook in the oven at 180 fan, for 1 hour, turning half way through.
  6. Finish on the hob, reducing the remaining liquid until it is sticky and coats the ribs (alternatively leave in the oven until completely reduced, but keeping a close eye on it so that it doesn't burn).
Red Wine Sauce

A rich and thick red wine sauce, perfect for beef or duck, or any strongly flavoured meat.

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 stick celery finely chopped (optional)
  • a splash of Masala
  • 1 bottle good red wine
  • 1 pt stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a good sprig of rosemary
  • spoonful of honey (to taste)
  • Pepper to season

Instructions

  1. Fry the onion in a little oil until cooked, watching carefully that it doesn't burn
  2. Add the celery and the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes
  3. Add the Masala, the red wine, the bay leaves, the rosemary and the stock and bring to the boil
  4. Reduce over a high heat until the volume is - pt (reduce by about 2 thirds) 
  5. Strain through a fine sieve
  6. Return to the pan and season with pepper and honey to taste
Moroccan Lamb Stew

This fragrant lamb stew, slowly and gently cooked with warm paprika, cumin and coriander is a great dish for cold, wet days, or when you're in need of some comfort food. I find it goes well with Roast Vegetable Couscous, but make sure that the Couscous isn't too oily, as the stew is very rich. Preparation is fairly quick - about 15 minutes - whereupon the whole dish goes into the oven for a good 2.5-3 hours, with a stir every hour or so.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 large carrot, diced (optional)
  • 1 pepper, diced (optional)
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 lamb shanks, or 1lb diced lamb

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to about 170C
  2. In a large le Crueset (or equivalent) pot, fry the onions in an little oil until brown
  3. Combined the spices in pestle and rub half into the lamb shanks, saving the other half for later.
  4. Add the lamb to the pan, along with the garlic, carrot, and pepper and transfer to the hot oven to cook for 1 hr
  5. After an hour, add the tomatoes and the remainder of the spices and return to the oven for 30 minutes
  6. Serve over roast vegetable Couscous, or mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.
Gammon & Pearl Barley Stew

If you're looking for a quick stew, then this recipe is really not the ticket! The Gammon needs to be cooked first, then the stock is used as a base for the stew. All in it'll take about 3  hours, so probably best to wait for a wet Sunday afternoon when you're not in a rush. The recipe only uses about half the gammon, the rest can be left to cool and sliced for sandwiches, or chopped up and eaten immediately with plenty of English mustard...

Ingredients

  • 3 lb smoked gammon
  • 2-3 bay leaves.
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 carrot , chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 leek, sliced into " slices
  • 1 parsnip, chopped in to " pieces
  • 1 large spring green, shredded.
  • 4 oz pearl barley

Cooking the Gammon

  1. Place the gammon in a pot, along with the bay leaves, peppercorns, carrot and celery. Cover with water and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer, and cook the gammon for 30 minutes per lb.
  3. 10 minutes before the gammon is ready, start preparing the stew.
The Stew
  1. Fry the leek and parsnip in a little oil in a good sized casserole pot until they starts to brown, then add the garlic.
  2. When the gammon is cooked, transfer a couple of cups of the liquid to the casserole pot, then add the pearl barley.
  3. Whilst the pearl barley is cooking, remove the gammon from its pot and put to one side.
  4. Strain the remaining stock, being careful to retain the liquid.
  5. Fill the casserole pot with the stock liquid (any left over can be frozen).
  6. Cut the gammon in half, and roughly chop one half into bite sized pieces.
  7. Add the chopped gammon to the casserole pot, to cook in the stew.
  8. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the pearl barley is done.
  9. Add the shredded greens, and bring back to the boil for 5 minutes.
  10. Serve in a large bowl, with a little mustard stirred through if desired.
Slow Roast Belly of Pork

This is less of a recipe, and more of a method of cooking this particular cut of pork, but no-one's going to complain about that subtle distinction! It's probably best to go to a butchers to get the right cut - I find the thick end of belly has the best flavour and a good proportion of fat to meat. It does have bones, so some care is needed when serving, although the long slow cooking means that the meat basically falls off the bones. The cooked meat is great cold in sandwiches, in stir-fries, or just re-fried in a little butter.

Ingredients

  • ca. 8lb thick end belly of Pork (the amount doesn't really matter, but adjust the cooking times if using much less)
  • 4 good sized onions
  • 1 cup of cider or white wine

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice the onions and put in the bottom of a roasting pan
  2. Place the pork on top of the onions, and pour the cider over the pork
  3. Seal the roasting pan with foil and place in a pre-heated oven at 180C
  4. Cook the pork sealed for 2 hours, then uncover and cook for another 30 minutes so that the skin turns crispy.
  5. Serve with roast potatoes, and steamed vegetables.
Slow Roast Leg of Lamb

This roast cooks gently for a long time sealed in foil, which helps the flavours develop and results in wonderful melt-in-the-mouth texture. I prefer to use a leg of lamb, because I find the shoulder can be a bit fatty, but the taste is just as good. Preparation is about 10 minutes, followed by 4 hours in the oven. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes, and boiled vegetables. The sauce left in the bottom of the tin makes a wonderful gravy with red wine, stock and a little flour to thicken.

Ingredients

  • A leg of lamb (or a shoulder)
  • A good handful of rosemary
  • 8 cloves of garlic

Instructions

  1. Place half the rosemary in the bottom of a roasting tray, so that the lamb doesn't touch the pan.
  2. Cut slits in the leg and push the cloves of garlic into the lamb.
  3. Place the lamb in roasting tray, and cover with the remaining rosemary.
  4. Seal the roasting tray with foil, making it as airtight as possible (I tend to use two layers of foil)
  5. Place in a oven, preheated as hot as the oven will go, then immediately turn the heat down to 160C.
  6. Roast for four hours, resisting the urge to look, as your kitchen fills with the delicious smell of roasting lamb!
Chili-sin-carne

A vegetarian version of the classic chili-con-carne, with mixed beans substituting for meat. The key to this dish is to cook for a long time (at least a couple of hours) to get the right depth of flavour and consistency of the beans - they should be starting to break down and thickening the sauce. Also use plenty of the aromatic spices, but go easy on the dried chili, because the flavour tends to increase  as the cooking progresses. Some people like to serve over rice, but I tend to have a bowl on its own, or with some (Cheddar) cheese stirred through. The whole dish is best cooked in a heavy casserole dish (Le Crueset or equivalent). Preparation time is about 20 minutes, whereupon the whole dish goes into the oven for 3-4 hours. 

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced about  cm
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 dried red chili peppers
  • 2 tins red kidney beans
  • 1 tin mixed beans
  • medium butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pint of water
  • a little oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to season

Instructions

  1. Gently fry the onions and the celery in the oil, over a medium heat, until the onions have sweated down.
  2. Add the coriander, cumin, ginger, and garlic and continue to fry for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add the kidney beans, mixed beans, tinned tomatoes, butternut squash, chillies, and water.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the oven at 160C.
  5. Check the dish after 2 hours, adding more water if it's a too dry.
  6. The dish is done when the beans have started to breakdown, the sauce is thick, and the dish smells like a proper chili. This will take between 3 and 4 hours, if in doubt, cook it more.
Beef Bourguignon

A very traditional stew, best served with boiled new potatoes and fresh vegetables. As with all stews, this dish benefits from long slow cooking, so it's probably best to use the timer on the oven, or go out while it's cooking so you're not tempted to rush or fiddle with it! I tend to use cheaper cuts of beef for this dish, which have better flavor, and which benefit from the longer time cooking. I tend to use a leg cut or similar, but I'd be careful of Chump, as it can be quite fatty. The whole dish is best cooked in a heavy casserole dish (Le Crueset or equivalent). Preparation time is about 10-25 minutes (depending on how much care you take over the onions), whereupon the whole dish goes into the oven for 4 hours.

Ingredients

  • 2lb (1 kg) of Beef leg (or braising/stewing steak)
  • 3 medium onions
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic
  • 8 rashers of smoked bacon (one pack), chopped into smallish pieces
  • 1 bottle of red wine, preferably Burgundy
  • 2 good sized carrots, chopped into slices or batons.
  • 8 oz (250g) mushrooms
  • flour or cornflour to thicken

Instructions

  1. Finely chop the onion and fry in a little oil until well cooked (this always takes longer than I expect)
  2. Add the garlic and the chopped bacon and fry gently until everything has a little colour.
  3. Cut the beef into 2" pieces and add to the pan with the wine and the carrots.
  4. Transfer dish (covered) to the oven and cook at 140C for about 3 hours.
  5. After three hours in the oven add the mushrooms and check how much liquid there is in the dish (If there is too much then consider removing the lid for the last hour of cooking, too little consider adding some water) return to the oven.
  6. 15 minutes before serving, add the flour or cornflour to thicken (cornflour should be pre-mixed with a little milk before adding to the pan). 
  7. Return to the oven (which can now be turned off) until serving.