Scott, what do you most like about autumn?
I like autumn because of the range of seasonal British ingredients available throughout the season. Here at The Bears Paw we are always looking to develop new dishes using what’s on offer on our doorstep. I also enjoy using slow cooking methods; the aroma that fills the kitchen is heavenly.
Could you tell us your favourite autumn ingredients?
Here in Cheshire we have a fantastic selection of autumnal fresh fruit and vegetables to choose from including:
Apples, beetroot, butternut squash, cabbage, duck, lamb, goose, parsnips, plums and pears. Plus pumpkin, quince, salsify, swede and turnips- to name but a few!
Game season also plays a big role within The Bears Paw kitchen, our local butcher always keeps us up to date with what is available, and making sure we get the dishes on the menus right away.
And how about a recipe for us, using some of those ingredients?
For the potatoes
- 400g of Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 300ml of whole milk
- 200ml of double cream
- 2 pinches of ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
To prepare the potato dauphinoise, finely slice the potatoes using a mandoline and set aside in water.
Combine the cream, milk, nutmeg, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and set aside.
Strain the water off the potatoes and layer inside a small oven dish lined with baking paper, being sure to overlap each layer as you go.
Preheat the oven to 160?C/gas mark 3. Pour enough of the cream mixture over the potatoes to cover and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until slightly golden on top and tender through the middle.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Weigh down with butter, cheese or any other heavy square object and set aside in the fridge to press for up to 12 hours.
Cut to shape and reheat the potato dauphinoise in the oven set to 180°C/gas mark 4 for 15 minutes to accompany the lamb.
For the lamb
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 25g/1oz butter
- 1.25kg/2½lb breast of lamb, taken off the bone, rolled and tied (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- ½ bulb garlic, chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1.25 litres/2½ pints chicken stock, or vegetable stock, warmed
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 3.
Heat a frying pan and then add the oil followed by the butter and allow to foam.
Add the lamb and fry for 1-2 minutes on all sides, or until golden-brown all over.
Season the lamb well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then remove from the pan and place onto a plate.
In the same frying pan, add the onion, carrot, leeks and garlic and fry until golden-brown all over. Transfer the vegetables to a large casserole dish with a lid.
Place the browned lamb on top of the vegetables in the casserole dish, add the rosemary and pour over the stock to cover the lamb.
Cover with the lid and place into the oven to braise for 3-4 hours, or until the lamb is very tender. Remove from the oven and leave the lamb in the stock to cool completely (preferably overnight).
The next day remove the lamb from the stock and carve into thick slices.
Heat the stock up over a medium heat, then place the carved lamb onto a tray and pour over some of the stock. Cover with kitchen foil and keep warm until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, place the remaining stock from the lamb into a pan and boil to reduce the liquid volume by at least half. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Strain the sauce into a separate pan. Bring to the boil again and cook to reduce the sauce a little more.
To serve, carefully lift the lamb from the stock and spoon the sauce over the lamb.