Well I suppose I should be grateful for the simplicity of this week's meal then, because I have a 22 pound turkey in my freezer and that's about all the prep work I've done so far. Of course, I'm not the one who makes the Thanksgiving roast (that's my husband's job!) but my house sure could use a deep clean and I've got groceries to buy and pies to bake, too.
So thankfully (haha) this week is an easy meal, and tasty, too. It's from Guernsey, another one of those places that's not really a country but is on my list anyway. I like those places because they generally get left out of discussions of world cuisine, and sometimes they have great recipes to share. Guernsey is a good example of this.
|Castle Cornet, Guernsey. Photo credit: neilalderney123.|
Anyway, besides having good milk and butter, Guernsey has a unique cultural identity, too. Guernsey is an island located in the English channel, about 27 miles from the coast of France. It isn't part of France, though, but is rather a dependency of the British Crown, and has been since the middle ages, when the island was also used as a base for pirates. Both English and French are spoken there, as well as several distinctly regional languages including Guernésiais and Sercquiais.
Guernsey Bean Jar
- 1 lb navy beans
- 1 lb lima beans
- 1 lb pork belly*
- 1 lb onions
- 1 stock cube (I used beef)
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick butter*
- 1 cup warm milk*
- 2 1/2 tsp sugar
*Naturally, this recipe called for Guernsey milk and Guernsey butter. If you can find it, I'm sure these biscuits would be even more delicious than they were without using Guernsey dairy products. But my supermarket doesn't carry Guernsey milk and I'm pretty sure it would be expensive to order, so I had to settle for plain ole ordinary milk.
(pronounced "gosh mel-are")
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 1/2 lb apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp British mixed spice*
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
Fortunately this all comes together really quickly, provided you do a little planning ahead.
First, you have to soak the beans in cold water overnight. Then switch out the water for fresh and boil for a half hour. Now add the pork, onions and stock cube.
Transfer the whole lot to a slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or simply add more water and cook over low heat for another three to four hours. The dish is finished when the beans are tender and the meat is falling apart.
First sift the flour together with the salt. In a separate bowl, cream the butter with the sugar and, yes, with the yeast. That seemed a bit strange to me too but I got good results, so go with it. Add the warm milk and let stand for 10 minutes to give the yeast time to become active.
Add the flour and knead. For me, this made a perfect dough. It was exactly the right consistency--not sticky at all but not crumbly, either.
Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Mix the flour and the butter with your fingers like you would a pastry dough, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
I really enjoyed the biscuits. In fact, 18 biscuits disappeared into the Robins family over a span of about 10 minutes, so we must have all liked them. They came out so perfectly that I will probably use this recipe the next time I decide to make yeast biscuits.
Now what can I say about the gâche mélée. First of all the name makes me smile, because I think it's probably what Leave it to Beaver would call an apple pie of he were, you know, a pirate. "Gosh mel-ahrrrrrrrrr." I know. Sorry.
Seriously though this was a good apple pie. I liked how the pastry was incorporated right into the apples, making it a lot simpler to create than a standard American apple pie. And of course I wasn't the only one who loved it--my kids did too, though they insisted on eating it with Cool Whip which I'm pretty sure isn't something they do in Guernsey, but shhh I won't tell if you don't.
So yeah there were some keepers this week, too. I really am on a roll!
Next week, Guinea.
For printable versions of this week's recipes: