7th August 2010
Worcestershire Sauce Day
Rachel told me of her unsatisfactory attempts to create a Worcestershire sauce-based chicken dish something along the lines of an ersatz gumbo I believe.
Apparently it turned out little different from a Dolmio pasta sauce, so I thought I'd have a go myself.

I decided that rather than try a stew type approach I'd take my cue from Michael Smith's recipe for Nell Gwynn's Breasts and stuff chicken fillets with something Worcestershire saucy, then have a cheesy, but Worcestershire, dressing to go with them.
And a nice bean salad with a Worcestershire dressing.
Everything Worcestershire! (Well, OK, I didn't have a Worcestershire pudding. I think that might just have made everyone sick!)

I went for a mushroom Duxelles stuffing flavoured with the Worcestershire, which was delicious even by itself. It gave the breasts a fine dark centre like the skin of a dusky maiden, say Nell Carter (OK, my first choice would have been Halle Berry too, but I've got a theme going on here dammit), and tasted pretty fine too.
In keeping with my plans to marry monkfish with all the blue cheeses of the world I took the opportunity to fry up some monkfish along with my dusky breasts for moral support. Gorgeous pink-capped mounds of firm alabaster flesh, I wanted to call them Rachel's Breasts, but she wouldn't let me. So Eskimo Nell's they are.

The juices from the chicken roasting dish have a nice Worcestershire flavour, which makes a good dressing for the otherwise slightly dry crispy fried noodles, and a pickled cherry salad works hard at cutting through some of the salty richness of the rest of the meal.

Just a word of warning - though today may be Worcestershire, tomorrow will be Garlic.

This meal even got a full five star rating from Georgina, thumbs up and everything - though that might have something to do with the fact that she had special chicken, with a special sauce, and a special salad. And carrots. So not this meal at all then.

Breasts Popular Salad

Nell Carter's Breasts
Breasts with a rich, dark centre.

Eskimo Nell's Breasts
Plump white morsels.

Little Nell's Breasts
Virgin flesh.

Crispy Fried Noodles
A little something to soak up the juices.

Pickled Cherry Salad
A tangy salad to relieve the richness of all that breast meat.

Green Bean Salad
For something a little different.

Green Bean Salad
I suppose the idea here came from St John Restaurant's lovely Green Beans, Shallots, Garlic and Anchovies

Serves 4

Trim the beans and slice them into 1" pieces. Pod the peas.
Blanch the vegetables: Bring a pot of water to the boil, and throw in the beans, when it boils up again, add the peas, reboil and simmer for about 20 seconds, drain and rinse the vegetables quickly in cold water.
Drain and dry thoroughly, then add the garlic slices, coat in olive oil and drizzle with white wine vinegar.
Set aside to marinate in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Make the dressing:
Grind the anchovies, then garlic cloves and then capers together in a mortar. Since you won't want to add any extra salt, use peppercorns to provide a little grit for the grinding process. Add enough liquid to get a good paste, then the rest of the lime juice and Worcestershire sauce. Shake up with about the same quantity of olive oil in a jam jar.
This is a really tasty salad, especially with the anchovy dressing, though you can leave that off if you like, but go pretty easy with it, a thin coating is more than enough and you might want to cut back on the garlic slices too if you're having both dressings. It can get pretty garlicky. Especially the day after.

The blanching takes any slightly bitter edge off the vegetables, though maybe your peas won't need it.
Some (spring) onions or podded, blanched broad beans might be nice also, Yes they're fine - blanch the broad beans before adding the green ones. and I'm sure you could throw in any herbs you fancied - rosemary/thyme/oregano maybe coriander.
You can add feta cheese and other vegetables, like red pepper, grated carrots, torn lettuce leaves and the rest, and it's still nice with the dressing and all.

Pickled Cherry Salad
salad raw veg vegan

Serves 4

Halve the cherries, remove the stones and leave to marinate overnight in a covering of white wine vinegar and a drizzle of balsamic. Next day, quarter the button mushrooms (or so - depending on their size) and mix them up with the cherries and a generous dollop of walnut oil. Season, add a finely sliced red onion and set aside to mature for an hour or so.
When you're ready to serve, combine the cherry mixture with your salad leaves in a large bowl.
Ok, the cherries don't take on all that much pickling, but I still thought it was quite a refreshing salad, good with strong or rich flavours. Which is exactly what we had.
You could probably pickle the cherries for longer, or simmer them up with the vinegar, but then they'd probably go mushy unless you started with pretty hard or sour ones.

Somehow I imagined Nell Carter's breasts would be bigger...
Nell Carter's Breasts with Blue Cheese Sauce
main fowl

Serves 4

Sweat the finely minced shallots in the butter until softened, then add the finely minced mushrooms and sweat until they lose their moisture and begin to hold together with the oil separating off.
Add the glass of wine, reduce the mixture back down, then add the Worcestershire sauce and reduce again. Add sauce to your taste - the vinegary edge softens as the mixture cooks.

Lay each chicken fillet on a chopping board, cover with a sheet of cling film and use a rolling pin to hammer them thin and flat.
Coat each flattened fillet with the duxelles mixture, then roll up and then wrap bacon slices around the breasts in a spiral. If you pull on the slices a little as you go they should stick to the chicken well enough without resorting to cocktail sticks or string. Though you can if you need to. It helps if the bacon slices are nice and wide, not cut too thickly and are reasonably stretchy.
Chilling the chicken rolls before you cook them will help them to stay together, but once the bacon crisps up it should stay put alright.
Quickly brown the wrapped chicken breasts in a generous knob of butter in a heavy frying pan, carefully turning to cover all sides. Then bake in a 180°C oven for 20 minutes or so until cooked through (200°C really is too hot for a fan-assisted oven), but keep an eye on them in case they start to burn.

Meanwhile, make the blue cheese sauce by heating all the ingredients gently in a pan whilst stirring them with a wooden spoon.
Pretty tasty stuff, the sauce is strong though. Maybe a touch less cheese.

Eskimo Nell's Breasts
main fish
They're deliciously pink-skinned firm white pillows - I call them Eskimo Nell's Breasts.
I was going to call them Rachel's Breasts, but she wouldn't let me.

Serves 2

Make the filling by grinding up the anchovies with a couple of garlic cloves in a pestle and mortar. Moisten the mixture with Worcestershire sauce and a squeeze of lime.
Cut the monkfish fillets into reasonably sized chunks. The plan is to get some filling into them before wrapping them up in bacon as for Halle Berry's Breasts, and the best way to do that is to cut the monkfish into quarter fillets then join them back together with paste in between. You could try lightly flattening them so they'll roll up, but that will probably just make them fall apart.

Once you've got them wrapped in the bacon, fry them in the pan after the chicken and put them uncovered lower down the same oven.

Serve with the same blue cheese sauce.
Mainly I fancied trying out the blue cheese sauce with these monfish fillets. It's a pretty good combo, especially with the bacon, though the sauce is a bit overpowering. Maybe it could be made a bit less, well, blue? Less cheese or a bit of yoghurt or cream? Also, it's all a bit salty - might work better with unsmoked bacon.
Could probably have done without the filling too, to be honest.

Untouched by mushrooms. Or blue cheese.
Little Nell's Breasts
main fowl
For those not up to the challenge of the full-strength mounds above.

Serves 1 sensitive philistine

Flatten the chicken breast, cover with thin slices of the double gloucester, roll it up and wrap it in bacon.
Fry and bake with the other magnificent breasts above.

Make a regular cheese sauce - fry the flour in butter until it starts to colour. You can use any spare butter left over from frying the chicken breasts here too. Add the tomato purée fry briefly then gradually whisk in a little milk at a time until you've got a nice sauce consistency add your grated orange cheese and Worcestershire sauce so it tastes nice. But not too scary.

Serve Little Nell's breasts with the cheesy custard and bask in the approbation.
A fine alternative to anything with mushrooms or blue cheese in it. Georgina was very appreciative, and favourably compared the cheese sauce to her Mum's macaroni cheese. Apparently she is also prepared to tolerate orange cheese sauce with mustard.

Crispy Fried Noodles
side staple veg

Serves 4

Mix up the noodles with spring onions diagonally sliced about ⅛" thick.
Get a wok nice and hot, add a layer of peanut oil, then add the noodles, shake them to warm through, then turn the heat down low and leave the noodles to cook until they crisp nicely on the lower side.
Turn the noodle cake by sliding it off onto a plate, inverting the wok over the plate then turning the wok around again. Brown the other side until crispy.
Finish off the noodles with a ladleful of stock if they're looking a bit dry and a drizzle of sesame oil.
You can tip them into a warmed serving dish to keep warm until needed.
You get quite a nice noodle cake out of this, crispy on the outside and moist in the middle, but it sort of sticks together a bit too much and it definitely needs a bit of juice to get it going.
Fortunately all those luscious breasts leak quite a bit.

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