Spring ideas

Spring is in the air and just as we change our clothes from heavy winter coats and scarves to lighter layers and slowly come out of hibernation, so we change our cooking. We just thought we'd share a some Tim's spring recipes from The Ginger Pig Meat Book to give you a bit of inspiration.

Olive-stuffed chicken legs

This recipe is very therapeutic to make. It's wonderful hot or cold, sliced and served with summer salads. 
Serves 6

Takes 1.5 hours
6 boned large chicken legs (keep the bones)
3 small boneless chicken breasts
1-2 egg whites
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
85g green olives, pitted and chopped
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
Leaves from 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for the tin
6 slices of Parma ham

  1. Place the chicken leg bones in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Drain, skim off the fat with a metal spoon, then boil the stock again to reduce it by half.

  2. Meanwhile lie the chicken legs on a work surface, skin side down. Remove the skin from the chicken breasts, then chop the meat and place it in a food processor with the egg whites and seasoning. Blitz until smooth, then add the olives, lemon zest and parsley, 1 tbsp of the olive oil and a little more seasoning. Mix by hand until evenly blended.

  3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lay out the Parma ham slices. Place the chicken legs, open, on top skin side down. Divide the filling into 6 and shape each into a sausage. Place each portion of stuffing on the open legs, then roll the leg meat around it and wrap the ham round the secure.

  4. Heat the remaining oil over a medium-high heat in a frying pan and add the stuffed chicken. Turn to brown all over then transfer to a lightly oiled roasting tin, place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. Serve whole or sliced with a few spoons of the leg-bone stock.

Sticky citrus-marinated pork chops

If using pork loin chops, ask the butcher to cut into the fat every 5cm as this will allow the meat to stay flat while cooking, giving a better result.

Serves 4

Takes 25 minutes, plus up to 24 hours marinating
4 pork loin chops (or chump chops if you want to be thrifty)
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tbsp grainy mustard
Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
100ml maple syrup
Half  tsp dried thyme
2 garlic gloves
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for the grill pan
Marinating bag

  1. Place the pork chops in a large, strong plastic bag (make sure there are no holes in it first). Whisk together the soy, mustard, lemon and orange zest and juice, maple syrup, thyme, garlic and seasoning, pour into a bag and seal well. Shake to coat the chops in the marinade and leave in the refrigerator for 1 to 24 hours (overnight is best).

  2. The next day, allow the chops to return to room temperature. Heat the grill to high and lightly oil the grill pan. Place the chops on the grill pan in a single layer and grill for 8 to 10 minutes, basting regularly with the marinade. Turn the chops and grill for a further 8-10 minutes, again basting to ensure a really golden and sticky coating. (The cooking time will vary according to the thickness of your pork chops).

  3. Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. Gently simmer for 3 minutes. Serve the chops with this hot sauce at the table.

Rolled and stuffed lamb breast

This often overlooked cut is economical and tasty. Ideal if you are only feeding a few and don’t want to buy a whole leg of meat but still want lamb.

Serves 4
Takes 2.5 hours

1tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed, then peeled
175g (6oz) mushrooms, finely chopped
175g (6oz) spinach, finely chopped
140g (4oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 breast of lamb, keep the bone
1tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp Redcurrant jelly
100ml (31/2 fl oz) red wine


  1. Preheat the oven to 170oC/325oC/gas mark 3. Heat the oil in a fry pan, add the onion and garlic and soften.  Tip in the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, then add the spinach to wilt. Leave to cool, then mix in the cheddar, egg and seasoning.

  2. Lie the lamb skin side down on a large sheet of kitchen foil, spread evenly with stuffing, then tightly roll up the breast and wrap in the foil, twisting each end to seal. Place the bones and the lamb in a roasting tin and roast for 11/2 hours, then remove the bones.

  3. Place the bones in a shallow saucepan and just cover with water. Cover, bring to a boil and then simmer for 35 minutes. Strain. Meanwhile, roast the meat for a further 30 minutes. When cooked, remove from the oven and discard the foil, but keep the cooking juices.

  4. Add the flour to the roasting tin and mix well, place over a medium-high heat and slowly pour in the roasted bone stock, mixing until smooth. Add the Redcurrant jelly and wine, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Carve the lamb and serve with the sauce.