Easter.jpg

Easter

By SHEENA RAWCLIFFE

So, my offering for a simple Easter meal is White Bean and Garlic Soup, followed by Rolled Turkey stuffed with walnuts and prunes, and served with a sauce of balsamic vinegar and shallots.

For the soup, which can be made way in advance and either frozen or kept in the fridge for up to two days, you will need:

Storecupboard:

1 Jar of white beans 540g (available from all supermarkets and excellent value from LIDL)

2 Vegetable stock cubes

Olive oil

Fresh:

4 large cloves of garlic, peeled, cut into quarters

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

1 litre of fresh water

Optional to serve:

Small handful of chopped parsley

A small amount of cream

In a medium sized saucepan, pour a little olive oil and gently fry the onions for five minutes. If you are making this for a dinner party, try not to brown the onions, as the result you are looking for is a white soup.  Add the garlic and cook with the onions for a further five minutes.

Empty the jar of beans into a sieve and rinse under running water.

Add the beans, water and stock cubes to the saucepan along with the cubed potatoes.

Put a lid on the saucepan and bring to boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Liquidise the soup until it is the consistency that you like.  For dinner parties, I would suggest that you liquidise it until completely smooth. If you have removed the soup from the pan to liquidise, return the mixture to the pan and reheat until it is just about to boil.

Pour into bowls, garnish with parsley and cream – and enjoy!

This will serve three to four hungry people. This soup will freeze well.

The main course

I chose this because we are all optimistic that the weather over the Easter weekend will be warm enough to allow us to BBQ, or at least eat outside.

So you choose – either use a whole turkey breast and cook it in the oven or use steaks cut from the breast which can be BBQd, pan-fried or roasted.

If using a whole turkey breast, lay the meat on a sheet of cling film and cover with another sheet.  Press down on the breast to even out the thickness of the meat (it is not necessary to use a rolling pin which will break down the meat tissues too much – just a little muscle power should be fine!).

Take three tablespoons of chopped walnuts (or walnut pieces which are usually cheaper to buy) and mix with six to eight chopped, ready-to-eat prunes.  Mix in a tablespoon of oil (it really does not matter which type you use) and spread across the turkey breast .  Roll up and secure with wooden cocktail sticks.  If roasting in the oven pre-heat it to 180ºC.  Wrap the prepared turkey breast loosely in oiled kitchen foil and place in a roasting tin and roast for 35 minutes per kilo weight.  Do remember to let the meat stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.  

Serve with a light sauce made by finely chopping  two to three small shallots.  Fry for a few moments until translucent.  Add one tablespoon of brown sugar (the darkest that you have) and allow the sugar to melt into the onions over a low heat.  Add six tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and bring to the boil.  Boil briskly until reduced to a glossy syrup.  Spoon around turkey just before serving.

To BBQ or pan fry individual portions, place your rolled and stuffed turkey breast in a polythene bag and put in fridge for an hour.  Take out and slice into suitable portions (two thinner portions per person if BBQing is probably best) and cook accordingly.

Serve with your choice of vegetables or salad – sit back and enjoy!

I am not offering a pudding this month – it is Easter and there will be loads of chocolate around (and, of course, mouth watering fruit).

Happy Easter!