When Fliss Freeborn, author of Do Yourself a Flavour, came on the podcast, she brought with her four brilliant recipes for cider and perry. They were so good that we had to publish them publicly, but they were a little lengthy for the show notes so you get them here instead. We’re super grateful to Fliss for sharing them – an inspiration to cider and perry-curious chefs everywhere. Get cooking!
Mussels with shallots, camembert and Ross-on-Wye Brown Snout S.V. Oak Cask 2020
This is a great casual weeknight supper if you’re entertaining good friends: it’s funky, barnyardy and up for a good time. Just like them, hopefully. It only takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook, and serving it with bread – the crustier and maltier the better – is a non negotiable.
- 2 kg of fresh mussels, scrubbed
- 6 large banana shallots
- 50g of butter
- 600ml of Brown Snout Cider
- 1 ripe camembert
- 150ml of double cream
- 40g of chopped parsley
Bread, to serve
- Rinse and scrub the mussels as needed. Discard any which float, or do not close after 30 seconds when tapped sharply.
- Finely dice the shallots, cut the camembert into 1 inch cubes and roughly chop the parsley, including the stalks. In a large, high sided pan, melt the butter and gently fry the shallots and parsley stalks until soft and translucent, then tip in the mussels, followed by the Brown Snout cider. Drink the remaining 150ml while you cook. Chef’s treat.
- Put a lid on the mussels and turn the heat up to as high as it goes. Set a timer for three minutes, then add the cubes of camembert, scattering evenly. Set the timer again for another 3 minutes – by this time you want the mussels to be fully opened and looking succulent; if they’re only halfway there, leave them another minute. (Usually mussels only take 4-5 minutes to steam but because of the large quantity of cold liquid, these take slightly longer.)
- As soon as they’ve opened fully, kill the heat and stir through the double cream, followed by the parsley, tossing the mussels with a wooden spoon to coat and mix through.
- Serve in warmed bowls with plenty of the cooking liquid – this is more akin to a mussel soup than a sauce so make sure you’re being generous with the bread here too.
Chicken Baked with Bordelet Sydre Argelette, shallots & garlic, served with spring greens, polenta, and a creamy mustard and cider reduction.
This does involve a bit of multitasking, but the end result wouldn’t be out of place in a very nice gastropub or bistro, so it’s well worth the faff for a nice dinner party. The Normandy cider really stands up to the punchy mustard, garlic and nutmeg here; be sure to save some to brighten up the sauce at the end.
For the chicken and sauce
- 4 whole chicken legs (you can also use chicken thighs if they’re large and high quality)
- 4 banana shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ¼ of a nutmeg
- 750ml of Argelette cider (you won’t use all of it)
- 200g of cream cheese
- 1 tbsp of dijon mustard (you can use English, at a push)
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- Olive oil on hand
- Black pepper on hand
For the polenta:
- 1 – 1.2 litres of chicken stock (from a cube is just fine)
- 400g of instant polenta
For the greens:
- 600g of spring greens
- Leftover Argelette
- As soon as you buy the chicken, cover it in a thin, even layer of salt on every surface. This is dry brining and will give you juicer, more tender meat with crispier skin. If you don’t have time to dry brine, then add a thin slice of butter under the skin of each chicken leg just before cooking, and salt as normal.
- When you’re ready to cook, heat the oven to 190 degrees c and lay the chicken legs out in a 20cmx30cm high-sided baking dish or casserole dish. Slice the shallots into halves if small, quarters if large, and tuck them, with the garlic cloves, around the chicken. Drizzle everything with a small amount of olive oil, then cover with black pepper, and a thin dusting of nutmeg before pouring around 150ml of cider into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken is golden and crisp and the juices run clear.
- Meanwhile, make up the polenta: in a large saucepan, bring the stock to a rolling boil and pour in the polenta, stirring with a balloon whisk to ensure no lumpage. When smooth and fully hydrated, cover with a lid to keep warm, loosening with a little more hot liquid if needed, to serve.
- Steam the spring greens in the microwave for 4-5 minutes (or blanch on the hob for 1 minute) with a pinch of salt. Dress with a little cider and transfer somewhere either to keep warm, or reheat very last minute in the microwave again.
- Around 10 minutes before the chicken is due to be ready, make the reduction: put 350ml of the remaining cider into a small saucepan and reduce by around ⅓. Remove the chicken from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes under foil. Add the mustard, the rest of the nutmeg and the cream cheese to the reduced cider and melt everything together until combined fully. Tip in any chicken juices and stir to emulsify. Add both ½ tbsp of lemon juice and a splash more of the cider to bring the flavour to the front. Taste and adjust for salt and acid if necessary.
- Assemble on warmed plates: a splodge of polenta, the spring greens, a chicken thigh on top, the baked shallots garlic cloves scattered artfully – all dressed with a good few tablespoons of that wonderful sauce.
Mushroom and Brown Butter Risotto with Naughton Cider Company Overture
The light, sharp cider cuts through the creaminess perfectly and feels refreshingly contrastive to the rich umami of the mushrooms. It’s unusual but it works; the cider itself has a sweetness not unlike vermouth, which also works well in white risottos. And look, it’s not health-food but it’ll certainly warm your cockles on a cold winter’s night.
- 300g of risotto rice
- 4 tablespoons of butter, plus extra for the end
- 100g of unsmoked pancetta (for a vegetarian dish, you can leave this out and fry the mushrooms in extra butter)
- 300g of chestnut mushrooms
- 500ml of Naughton Overture
- 1.8 litres of quality chicken stock
- 50g of parmesan
- 30g of fresh parsley
- Black pepper
Chop the mushrooms thinly, grate the parmesan, and finely chop the parsley.
In a large, heavy bottomed pan, melt a tablespoon of the butter and fry off the pancetta. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl, and tip your mushrooms into the fat. Fry until golden and floppy. Remove to the same bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, melt the rest of the butter until it’s just on the edge of turning brown. Add the rice and fry until the butter is darker brown, nutty and the rice is slightly toasted. Pour in 100ml of the cider and stir until it’s fully absorbed, then ladle in 100ml or so of chicken stock and continue stirring. Alternate between cider and chicken stock, until both are used up and the risotto is creamy but not stodgy.
Stir through the mushrooms and pancetta, then add in most of the parmesan, the parsley, a knob of extra butter for luck and a tiny splash of extra cider at the end for acid. Serve with parmesan and black pepper on top.
Pears Poached in Cwm Maddoc Betty Prosser S.V. 2022 with vanilla and cardamom.
A really simple dinner party dessert which only requires a third of a brain cell – if you want to make it fully vegan, swap the honey for 3-4 tablespoons of agave syrup. It can also be made well in advance, and will keep happily in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- 750 ml of Cwm Maddoc Betty Prosser 2022
- 4 conference pears (the sharper Williams variety would be better if you can find them outwith their short season)
- 8 cardamom pods
- 4-6 tablespoons of floral honey, depending on sweetness preference
- 1 teaspoon of good vanilla extract
Peel the pears and cut off enough of their bases so that they can stand up. Bash the cardamon pods lightly with a rolling pin or in a pestle and mortar and add to a medium deep-sided, dry saucepan; toast until fragrant. Pour in the cider over the cardamom, then dissolve in the honey; taste it but bear in mind it’ll be around twice as sweet by the time you’re done reducing it, so err on the side of tart here. Add the vanilla and a pinch of salt and lay in the pears. Cook for 30-40 minutes, covered on a medium low heat until knife-soft.
Remove the pears and gently boil the sauce down until thick, syrupy and reduced by around ⅓-½. To serve hot, return the pears to the saucepan with the syrup and warm through; stand them up in individual serving bowls or small plates, and pour over lots of the syrup. To serve cold, chill everything down together then serve the pears in the same way. A jug of pouring cream is advisable with both options.