Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Which one of these tasty meals will be the dish of the day for Northern Ireland?

As the NI Year of Food and Drink comes to a close, voting has opened to find the province's new signature meal. Four of our top chefs have whittled them down to three finalists created entirely with homegrown produce so that you can vote for the winner

Published 24/11/2016

Yes chef: Kelan McMichael, from the Bull and Ram, Chris McGowan, from Wine and Brine, Niall McKenna, of James Street South and Ian Orr, of Browns Restaurant & Ardtara Country House Hotel
Yes chef: Kelan McMichael, from the Bull and Ram, Chris McGowan, from Wine and Brine, Niall McKenna, of James Street South and Ian Orr, of Browns Restaurant & Ardtara Country House Hotel
Niall McKenna

It's been hailed as the tastiest vote in Northern Ireland and now it's time for you to have your say by voting online. Tourism NI recently asked four of Northern Ireland's top chefs to create three brand new locally-inspired dishes, one of which will be named as Northern Ireland's New Signature Dish, via a public vote.

The search for a new signature dish is part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 celebrations and the four creative minds taking part, referred to as the "cooking collective", are Niall McKenna, from James Street South in Belfast, Ian Orr, from Browns Restaurant and Ardtara House in Londonderry, Kelan McMichael, from Bull and Ram in Ballynahinch and Chris McGowan, from Wine and Brine in Co Armagh.

Naomi Waite, director of marketing, Tourism Northern Ireland, explains: "We want to create a lasting food legacy as part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 to live on long after the year-long celebration is over and that is what the signature dish is all about."

The final three dishes are Born and Braised, Buttermilked Lamb and Jowled Eel and you can try out these dishes at home from the recipes on these pages.

Naomi explains: "The three dishes prepared by the cooking collective are completely new to the dining scene here and are made from only the best of our local produce.

"While the Born and Braised, Buttermilked Lamb and Jowled Eel dishes are of restaurant quality the recipes are available on the Discover Northern Ireland website and can easily be cooked, adapted and enjoyed at the dinner table at home.

"We all have an opinion on food and have strong feelings when it comes to what we like and what we don't like and now that the chefs have created the three dishes they think could be Northern Ireland's new signature dish it is over to the public to tell us what they think.

"I'm encouraging everyone to log on to the Discover Northern Ireland website and cast their vote for Northern Ireland's new signature dish and tell us who they voted for and why over on the Discover NI Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page.

"Voting closes on Thursday, December 8, and the winning dish, as voted for by the public, will be announced at a special unveiling event at St George's Market on Saturday, December 10 where the chefs will be hosting a cookery demo before the grand unveiling."

Ian Orr, of Browns Restaurant and Ardtara Country House Hotel, says: "I love experimenting with local produce and wanted to create finalist dishes with the rest of the cooking collective that would showcase the best of what's available in the Northern Ireland larder."

Meanwhile, Chris McGowan of Wine and Brine says choosing an overall winner from the final dishes will be a challenge due to the high quality of our homegrown food.

He adds: "We have taken quite a journey through Northern Ireland food and drink during our research and have even more admiration for them and the work they do.

"I'd like to wish the public the best of luck in choosing their winning dish - it won't be easy."

And Kelan McMichael, from the Bull and Ram, stresses all the recipes are budget conscious.

He says: "We chose the final three dishes because they bring together the very best local produce we have on offer but also because the ingredients are affordable and accessible for people to buy in their local butchers, deli's and shops.

"All the ingredients chosen work really well together, are easy to cook and the flavours are harmonious, so whatever dish wins we hope everyone in Northern Ireland enjoys trying them out at home for their loved ones."

And, of course, all the dishes taste good, too.

Niall McKenna, of James Street South, explains: "We decided that these three dishes best represent Northern Ireland on a plate as each one is packed full of flavour and made with the highest quality local produce.

"We also really liked the fact that there were a few curve balls thrown in there when it came to ingredients or techniques, and we enjoyed those little surprises and examples of thinking outside the box.

"This is what is helping make Northern Ireland a global destination for food lovers."

Now it's up to you to decide, so have your say on Northern Ireland's New Signature Dish.

Let Tourism Northern Ireland know which of the three dishes is your favourite by logging on to discovernorthernireland.com and sharing your thoughts on the Discover NI Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages with the hashtag, #SignatureDishNI.

And as an added incentive everyone who votes for their favourite dish will be in with a chance to win a Belfast break for two, including two nights B&B in the four-star Radisson Blu and a food tour with Taste and Tour. Join the conversation online with #SignatureDishNI.

All ingredients used in the dishes have been sourced from Northern Ireland food and drink producers and suppliers.

Comber Early Potatoes, currently not in season and wild garlic, usually available from late January onwards, must be washed before use.

Here are the three dishes to try:

Buttermilked lamb

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

2 kilo lamb’s leg

half bunch rosemary

3 garlic cloves peeled and crushed

1 pint buttermilk

salt/pepper

wild garlic

For the wild garlic puree:

1 bunch wild garlic

1 tbsp mustard

half bunch mint

salt/pepper   

150mls Rapeseed oil

METHOD

Blanch the wild garlic in boiling salted water then refresh in ice water.

Drain and squeeze out excess water and place in a blender with the mustard and mint then gradually add the oil.

Season to taste then serve alongside the lamb. Chop the rosemary and place in a bowl with the garlic salt/pepper. Shred the wild garlic and add to the bowl.

Pour over the buttermilk and rub the mixture into the lamb.

Place in a container and cover with cling film. Leave in the fridge for 24 hours. Bring the lamb out of the fridge two hours before cooking. Preheat your oven to 180c.

Carmelise the lamb in a heavy base pan, on all sides for approximately six minutes and place in the oven on a preheated tray and cook for 14 minutes then remove and leave to rest for 15 minutes and serve. This joint works well on the barbecue in the summer.

TO MAKE THE WILD GARLIC PUREE

Blanch the wild garlic in boiling salted water then refresh in ice water. Drain and squeeze out excess water and place in a blender with the mustard and mint then gradually add the oil. Season to taste then serve alongside the Lamb.

SERVES 4

Born and braised

Shin of Northern Irish beef served with beetroot and bone marrow gremolata

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

The brine:

4 litres water

400g salt

150g sugar

400ml black treacle

3 bay leaves

4 cloves garlic

25g pickling spices

250g honey

The beef:

3-4kg Peter Hannan’s shin of beef (bone in)

3 carrots

1 onion

2 celery sticks

1 leek

2 bulbs garlic cut in half

500ml Northern Irish artisan Dark Ale such as Belfast Black

300ml Comber honey

250ml red wine vinegar

50g salt

Beetroots:

8 beetroots

200ml red wine vinegar

40g sugar

20g salt

2 litres water

Bone marrow gremolata:

Zest of 2 lemons

40g grated horseradish

20g table celery or fresh parsley chopped finely

400g Peter Hannan’s bone marrow, cooked and diced

400g croutons

4 cloves chopped garlic

20ml Broighter Gold rapeseed oil

METHOD

FOR THE BRINE

Bring the water, salt, sugar, black treacle, bay leaves, garlic, pickling spices and honey to the boil and then leave to cool.

FOR THE BEEF

Add the shin of beef to the brine and leave for 24 hours.

Remove the beef from the brine and discard the brine.

Seal the beef all over on the hob and then place it in a deep roasting dish.

Slice the carrots, onion, celery, leek and sauté the vegetables along with the two bulbs of garlic until caramelised.

Once caramelised, add to the roasting dish with the beef.

Pour the ale, honey, red wine vinegar and salt over the beef.

Cover the beef with water, place greaseproof paper on top and then cover with tin foil.

Cook in a preheated oven (140 degrees C) for four hours.

After cooking, remove the beef.

Pass the remaining stock from the roasting dish through a sieve into a pan. Heat this stock on the hob until syrupy. Season as required and pour over the beef shin.

FOR THE BEETROOTS:

Clean the beetroots under cold water, then place into a pot.

Add the red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and water and boil for 15 minutes.

Leave the beetroots to cool in the water. When cool, peel the beetroots and set aside.

FOR THE BONE MARROW GREMOLATA

Mix the lemon zest, grated horseradish, table celery, cooked and diced bone marrow, croutons, diced garlic and rapeseed oil together.

To finish the dish, place the beef onto a serving dish.

Add the beetroots and put into the oven (180 degrees C) for 10 minutes to glaze.

Add the bone marrow to the serving dish and serve.

SERVES 4-6

Joweled eel and buttermilk bun

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

150g smoked eel

300g pork cheek

1 ltr chicken stock

200g chicken wings

1 large sliced onion

1 chopped garlic clove

1 sliced leek

2 sticks celery, saving any celery leaf for garnish

1 tbsp thyme

50g seaweed/kelp/dulse

1 bunch spring onions

50g butter

salt/pepper

METHOD

In a roasting pan, caramelise the chicken wings until golden brown in the oven at 180c. Then in a heavy base pan, season and caramelise the pork cheek and then remove and leave to one side.

In the same pan caramelise the onion with the garlic, leek, celery, thyme, parsley, add the chicken wings and chicken stock, bring to the boil then reduce the heat.

Cook it for one hour, then pass through a sieve and pour over the cheeks. Braise for one hour, then leave to cool in the stock.

To serve place one cheek in each warm serving bowl, dice the smoked eel into a two cm dice and lace in the bowls. Add the trimmings to the braising liquor, slice the spring onions and place on top.

Heat the braising liquid and pour over the eel and cheek and serve. You can use pork belly if you can’t get cheek for this recipe.

FOR THE BUTTERMILK BUN

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

350g strong flour

15g dried yeast

250mls buttermilk

20g sugar

25g salt

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

METHOD

Combine all dry ingredients except the baking powder into a mixing bowl and gradually add the buttermilk to make a bread-like dough.

Cover with the clingfilm and prove for one hour or until it is double in size, then knock back by hand.

Add the baking powder and knead for two to three minutes.

Roll by hand roughly 50 gram balls and place on an oiled baking sheet cover and prove for 40 minutes.

Line a bamboo steamer with parchment paper, steam the buns for seven minutes and serve straight away.

MAKES 12

All ingredients used in the dishes have been sourced from Northern Ireland food and drink producers and suppliers. Comber Early Potatoes currently not in season and wild garlic, usually available from late January onwards, must be washed before use. Further details and to vote for your favourite dish, visit discovernorthernireland.com, Discover NI Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page. And you can share your thoughts on the Discover NI Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages with the hashtag, #SignatureDishNI.

As the NI Year of Food and Drink comes to a close voting has opened to find the province's new signature meal. Four of our top chefs have whittled them down to three finalists created entirely with homegrown produce so that you can vote for the winner

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph