A Feast Straight From Our South Devon Fields

By Clare Levy on July 7, 2014

For our 2014 View magazine we were lucky enough to try out some delicious recipes created by Rob Andrew, Head Chef at The Riverford Field Kitchen. See the full instructions below to try them yourself.

Ham Hock Chowder

SWEETCORN, HAM HOCK AND WATERCRESS CHOWDER

Serves 4

It is common knowledge that sweetcorn makes a handsome chowder, especially when paired with smoked fish. I’ve gone down the meat route here. Pork has a tendency to marry well with sweet, thick parma ham and melon, or pâte and chutney. The watercress adds a levelling pepperiness and verdant speckling.

  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small potato
  • ½ an unwaxed lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • small bunch of thyme
  • 4 corn cobs
  • 1 litre of chicken stock or ½ litre chicken stock and ½ litre ham stock
  • 200ml double cream
  • 150g shredded cooked ham hock or good quality baked ham
  • bunch of watercress

Finely dice the onion, celery and carrots and cook slowly in olive oil and butter. Remove the kernels from the corn with a sharp knife by standing on the flat end and slicing down the length of the cob. Dice the potato, zest the lemon, strip the thyme leaves from the stalks and finely chop the garlic. Add to the pan and fry for a few mins and add the stock and shredded ham, simmer for 15-20 mins until everything is tender. Stir in the cream and gently bring the heat back up. Season to taste with salt, pepper and maybe a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve garnished with a good handful of chopped watercress.

TIP

Don’t throw away your used cobs; they make an interesting addition to chicken or vegetable stock pots.

Chicken and Chard

MARINATED CHICKEN, CHILLI CHARD AND TOMATOES WITH THYME AND PRESERVED LEMONS

Serves 2

It is an advantage to be a day ahead on this if you can, as the marinade works its magic over time. The acid in the lemon juice really penetrates the meat and carries the herbs and garlic with it. Chard is more robust and deeper in flavour than spinach, and you need to separate the stalks from the leaves to give them a head start when cooking. The preserved lemons are a great partner for sweet roast tomatoes, but in their absence you can use lemon zest if you like. We make lavish amounts of preserved lemons at the start of the summer in preparation for the salad season; well worth it if you care for a flash of North African flavour in your food.

  • 2 chicken breasts, skin on
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • Garlic
  • Few sprigs of thyme
  • Few sprigs of rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • Teaspoon icing sugar
  • Big handful of chard
  • 1 red chilli

To make the marinade, use a peeler to peel the skin from the fresh lemon into big strips, the kind you see in a good martini. Bash the lemon peel, herbs and 3 cloves of garlic roughly in a pestle and mortar, then juice the lemon, add a splash of oil and rub the lot over the chicken breast and leave overnight.

Prepare your preserved lemon: remove and discard the flesh inside and chop the skin and pith into strips. The tomatoes just need halving and seasoning with oil, salt and pepper, and a wee shake of icing sugar on top to emphasise the natural sweetness and give a nice golden colour. Roast in the oven at 200  ̊C for about 20-25 min. 5 mins before the end, add some crumbled sprigs of thyme and the preserved lemon.

For the chard you’ll need to strip the leaves from the stalks. Finely chop the stalks and cook slowly in a saucepan in a dash of oil and a small knob of butter until starting to soften; a dash of water will help if it starts to dry out and stick. Finely chop a clove of garlic and half a de-seeded chilli and stir into the stalks, then continue cooking for 5 more minutes before throwing in the shredded leaves. A slow cook for 8-10 minutes will wilt the leaves and finish it off, but be careful not to burn the garlic. A squeeze of lemon juice at the end never goes too far wrong.

The chicken is best started on a chargrill, but most kitchens will fill with smoke in 2 seconds, if you have a good extractor then go for it, if not then use a sturdy pan. Remove from the marinade and clean of any flotsam of peel or garlic, season well with salt and pepper and fry the chicken till golden brown on both sides. Slide into the oven for the last 10 minutes of the tomatoes’ cooking time. Assemble the dish by placing the chicken on a bed of chilli chard, with the tomatoes on the side.

Ricotta Cheesecake

RICOTTA AND ORANGE CHEESECAKE WITH AUTUMN RASPBERRIES 

serves 10

This cheesecake is the first job of the day for our pastry chef Rita, and is open to a whole variety of tweaks and riffs on a theme. It is a great vehicle for whatever berries are in season. We use buffalo milk ricotta from Laverstoke Farm in Hampshire in our kitchen, you should be able to find something similar in a well stocked cheesemongers. Ricotta from the supermarket seems to be a little bit softer, so slightly up the ratio of cream cheese if that’s what you are using. There may be a temptation to cook the raspberries down with a bit of sugar, but if they are perfectly in season I’d suggest you let them speak for themselves.

  • 400g ricotta
  • 400g cream cheese
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 4 eggs
  • 300g sugar

For the base:

  • 100g ground almonds
  • 200g digestive biscuit
  • 100g butter

Line the bottom and sides of a 24cm spring form cake tin, and preheat the oven to 140 ̊C. To make the base, put the biscuits in a food processor and pulse until fine, then mix in the ground almonds. Melt the butter and stir through the biscuits. Put the mix in the tin and gently smooth flat with the back of a spoon, getting it as level and even as you can. Pop into the oven for 10mins while you make the filling.

Beat together the ricotta, cream cheese and zest, adding the juice bit by bit until smooth. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the eggs to the cheese and mix well. Tip the mix onto the base and bake for about 45 min. The whole thing should rise like a soufflé in the oven, and retain a slight wobble. Be warned, it will deflate and firm up after cooling, but that’s part of its rustic charm. Serve at room temperature with the raspberries.

Why not try our amazing South Devon artisan food for yourself and come and visit us.

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