My goodness, what a week it’s been. We’ve picked mulberries and made syrup and a variety of cakes, the same with rhubarb (this syrup is delcious over ice cream or panna cotta) and collected and preserved 3 more boxes of apricots. By the way, if you have bottled apricot halves and they rise in the jars, as indeed has happened to a couple of the varieties I’ve bottled this year, there is a simple solution so that the fruit will sink to the base of the jar, which looks much more pleasing. This also works for any other fruit – plums may take a couple of goes. Leave the jars to stand for 2 to 3 weeks, then hold them on their side (horizontally), with one hand on the base and one on the lid and shake vigorously from side to side. The syrup (or other preserving liquid you may have used) will float in and around the fruit so that when you stand it upright again; the fruit obligingly sinks right down to the bottom of the jar.
While unfortunately the apricots and cherries are almost finished for the season, I was delighted to find that the tomatoes are ripening nicely in the garden. This is quite a feat as we live on the edge of the rainforest, and our garden doesn’t get a great deal of sun. This means however that I have many jars of preserved tomatoes from last year that I need to use up so I can refill them with this year’s crop. The following recipe I put together a couple of night ago fits the bill nicely. If you don’t have preserved tomatoes it doesn’t matter at all. Use tinned diced tomatoes instead, or tomato purée or passata.
As I bottle tomatoes without peeling them, I decided on this occasion to sieve the tomatoes to make a purée, but it wasn’t at all necessary – I could have used them just as they were.
So give this really easy, tasty recipe a try. Best of all, it is made in minutes. I served it with plain boiled rice and salad, but it would be great with couscous, potatoes cooked in their jackets, polenta or pasta.
By the way, if anyone would like the recipe for preserving tomatoes, let me know and I’ll put the recipe up. It is extremely easy to do.
Chicken and Chorizo Ragout
Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
600g skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into 1cm cubes
1 chorizo, diced
125g lean bacon, rind removed and diced
1 onion, diced
400g tomato puree or diced tomatoes
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock or water
2 teaspoons chutney, any sort
1 tablespoon tomato sauce (ketchup style)
2 teaspoons apricot or plum jam (or brown sugar)
In a frying pan, heat the oil, over medium high heat. Sauté the chicken, chorizo, bacon and onion for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked and the sauce reduced. Add salt and pepper to taste.