The following post was originally published on the Borough Market Website, as the fourth instalment in a six part introduction to the forthcoming Borough Market Cookbook (which I wrote, and which you can pre order for delivery on 4 October…)
One of the (enjoyable) challenges of writing the forthcoming Borough Market Cookbook was working out how to pitch a cookbook about a specific place without excluding a wide variety of readers because they can’t visit regularly (if at all)? This place has such warm support from around the world, let alone across London and the UK, so it was clear that the recipes within it should be relatively universal and achievable for all, albeit grounded in Borough Market’s traders, their produce and the environs.
So while the theme of the book is ‘Stories and Recipes from a Year at the Market’, and the stories are very much about Borough Market and the people that work here, the earlier posts in this series have explained that most of the recipes are about the joys of market shopping and cooking with seasonal produce. We think this is as applicable a mantra to those lucky enough to regularly stroll underneath the railway arches near London Bridge, as it is to shoppers at La Boqueria in Spain, Pike’s Place in Seattle, or the farmers markets in Stroud, Newcastle and Norwich.
That said, we didn’t want to be overly coy or defensive about Borough Market’s produce. It is The Borough Market Cookbook after all, and there are world class ingredients here we should absolutely proudly shout about!
Accordingly, virtually all of the recipes link to traders that you can head to, to find key ingredients from that recipe. Moreover, a key part of the paragraph above is “most of the recipes”, which reflects that some, in fact, do utilise ingredients that are particular to or redolent of Borough Market. Things you could class as ‘hero’ products.
There is, for example, a pasta dish that will work best if you can come to Three Crown Square and pick up a pair of The Ham and Cheese Co’s salami campagnole, Jumi Cheese’s Belper Knolle tops a tomato tart, there’s a one-pot chicken dish that could be made with normal butter beans but you really should use Brindisa’s pre-cooked judion beans, and you’ve honestly never tasted a marshmallow as good as those that are dusted with Spice Mountain’s fruit powders.
A hero product that gets a mention in the book (in the context of an autumnal tumble of malfatti) is Pâté Moi’s wild mushroom pâté. For me, this is an absolute classic. Here is a product that sings both ‘artisanal’ and ‘Borough Market’—the kind of thing that’s both an affordable, low key, incidental trophy of occasional market shopping, and a reason to return again and again.
A pleasing sweetness
Indeed, if I picture a visit to Borough Market based on all my years of walking around the site, one of the first things I see is Pâté Moi’s stall with its pots lined up, and an ever-eager crowd reaching for a taster. They, like me, love what they try—there’s so much umami in such a little spoonful, a powerful and long-lasting hit of wild ’shrooms, plus a pleasing sweetness that I assume comes from a cheesy curd that’s somewhere within the secret recipe. It’s completely different to a mushroom pâté found at the supermarket. It’s also typical of so many products at Borough Market, in that you can enjoy it unadulterated, on toast (or even by the spoonful), but you can also cook with it, whether by simply embellishing a dish with it or making it the star.
A hero product can be used as an ingredient in multiple ways. This pâté could, for example, be used in the context of a contemporary take on a beef wellington, using the pâté as the mushroom duxelle between pastry and meat (where the meat is pork tenderloin? or venison fillet?). It might be the showstopping final seasoning for a wild mushroom risotto or pilaf. It could be used to enhance a root vegetable gratin, with the pâté spread between the layers where you’d otherwise consider adding butter or cheese.
Or, perhaps it could be used as the filling for a kinda-kiev—stuffed into the middle of a market-bought, free-range chicken breast, then coated with fine breadcrumbs salvaged from the end of an ageing loaf that you’d gotten from one of the bakers a week before, then paired with some of the summer’s crop of tomatoes, slow-roasted until intense and yielding.
Hmm, yes, that sounds rather good…
Wild mushroom kievs with slow-roast tomatoes
This is a Borough Market spin on an old classic: the chicken Kiev. Instead of garlic and herb butter, the filling for the breaded chicken is Pâté Moi’s fabulous wild mushroom pâté. You can (should) make the breadcrumbs for the recipe by using a food processor to pulse any leftover old bread from one of the Market’s bakers into fine crumbs. And do make the slow-roasted tomatoes to go alongside. They’re superb and suitably summery, and are a much better option than a squirt of ketchup, that we so often pair with a breaded chicken breast..
For the tomatoes
- 8 medium-sized tomatoes (a mix of colours if you wish)
- 10 sprigs fresh oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, flattened
- 3 tablespoons golden caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for finishing
- 4 sprigs of fresh basil to finish
- Flaked sea salt and black pepper
For the chicken
- 4 chicken breasts, chilled
- 1 tub of Pâté Moi mushroom pâté, chilled
- 150g dry, finely ground bread crumbs
- 80g plain white flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil
- 15g salted butter
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Cocktail sticks or thin metal skewers
It’s important to begin this process with well-chilled chicken and similarly cold mushroom pâté, as the process is much easier and less messy if both are as firm as possible. Note that there’s some further chilling time for the chicken, and in any event the tomatoes should be prepared and cooked first. You can time them neatly with the preparing and cooking the chicken breasts, or alternatively cook in advance and reheat in the oven for the 15-20 minutes that the chicken is in there.
Pre-heat the oven to 150C fan / 170C.
Cut each of the tomatoes in half through their middles (i.e. not the tip to stem axis). Place them cut side facing up in a roasting or baking tray that fits them relatively snuggly. Add a pinch of salt on to the cut side of each tomato. Do the same with the sugar, dividing the 3 tablespoons between equally between them. Add a drop of vinegar, then divide the olive oil between the tomatoes. Fit the squashed garlic cloves and oregano into the tray between the tomatoes, then place in the lower-middle section of the oven to cook for 75-100 minutes. Check on them from 30 minutes onwards, basting with the juices and oil — they’re done when browned a touch on top and totally soft, but still just holding their shape unless prodded.
To make the kievs, gather three plates or small trays. Tip the flour into one plate, stirring in a good pinch or two of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Beat the eggs and milk together, then pour into the second plate. Then scatter the breadcrumbs evenly over the third.
Remove the mini fillets from each chicken breast and save for another occasion (perhaps a stir fry?).
Cut a pocket in each chicken breast, slicing along the thickest length of the breast, almost (but not quite) opening the meat like a book. Spoon 2-3 teaspoons of pâté then close and secure the edges with cocktail sticks or a thin skewer.
Roll one chicken breast in flour, then through the egg mix, and then into the bread crumbs. Repeat the process so it’s well covered, then place on a baking tray or another plate. Do this with the remaining stuffed chicken breasts, then return the chicken to the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
When nearly ready to eat (how are those tomatoes looking?), heat the oven to 150C fan / 170C if not already running.
Place a heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the sunflower oil and butter. When the butter is melting, place the breaded chicken breasts into the pan, curved-side (the top) first. Cook for 60 to 90 seconds so that the exterior becomes a little golden and crisp, then carefully flip the breast to cook their base for another 60-90 seconds. (You may need to do this is in batches if your frying pan is not big enough to fry four at once.) Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking tray and place towards the top of your oven for 15-20 minutes until firm and cooked through.
Serve with the warm, soft, slow-roasted tomatoes, with their juices spooned over the top, plus picked fresh basil, sprinkled as generously as if they were salad leaves.