I absolutely love this book. I’ve had a few of Oliver’s cookbooks in the past and haven’t really got on with them, mostly because the ingredients list seem to go on for pages, and require items that I would buy for that one recipe and never use again.
But Ministry of Foodand I just seem to click, once I’d got over the lack of punctuation (bullet points instead of full stops in a paragraph? Argh!). The recipes are simple, foolproof and delicious. I was admirably frugal and borrowed it from the library but having renewed it four times and covered it in food splodges, I thought I’d better buy my own copy.
Here’s a recipe from the book that I cooked this week, and turned out really well. I used this cast iron casserole pan which I bought at Ikea, a really good inexpensive alternative to something like Le Creuset.
Chicken Stew (serves 4-6, p180)
ingredients: 2 sticks celery (I used celery salt), 2 medium onions, 2 carrots (I used 3, kids love them!), olive oil, 1 heaped tbsp plain flour, 400g tin chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, 3 sprigs fresh thyme (I used rosemary), 500g diced, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 500ml white wine (I used less than that, maybe 250-300ml, and topped the rest up with water and a chicken stock cube). (I also added in some cooked roast veg leftovers – diced potato, Jerusalem artichokes and more carrot.)
If using the oven preheat to Gas Mark 4/180C/350F. Chop the celery, onions and carrots. Put the vegetables, herbs and olive oil in a casserole pan and fry for 10 minutes. Add meat and flour. Pour in the wine and tomatoes. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer on the hob or cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of cooking time and add liquid if it looks dry. Remove herbs before serving, and taste to see if needs more salt and pepper.