Thursday, 31 May 2012


With our stunningly succulent, eye-bogglingly tasty 100-day chickens hitting the shops today, we've got some celebrating to do. The Ginger Pig chicken has been a labour of love - not to mention blood, sweat and feathers - and is on par with the best birds from France (we'd say nosing ahead but that's a bold, bold claim...).

These chickens will be popping up - in the form of dinner, a six course mystery tasting menu - in our Shepherds Bush and Hackney shops over the next few weeks. The menu will showcase the best of both cockerels and pullets (hens), as well as the talents of our exceptional butchers and chefs. We'll be cooking dinner for four nights on the dates and in the lshops stated below, starting at 7:30pm each night:

Shepherd's Bush: June 13th and 14th
Hackney: June 20th and 21st

To attend one of our #winnerwinnerchickendinners simply email with the subject #winnerwinnerchickendinner and state your preferred and secondary date and how many people you'd like to book for (up to six).

Dinner will be £45 for six courses, and is BYO booze. A chicken will peck names from a hat, and we'll confirm reservations by Friday 8th June; come join us, good luck, cluck cluck!

The Queen of Coronation Chicken

Our Coronation Chicken has a little more freshness and light about it than the original, using a yoghurt base rather than buckets of heavy mayonnaise, and a garnish of fresh herbs, lemon wedges and a little salad. We left out the dried fruit (which appears terribly divisive), though a tablespoon of good mango chutney would be a fine addition to this recipe. This stray from tradition may get the most patriotic of eaters tutting their disagreement, but trust us - it’s bloody lovely.

For this recipe we poached a Ginger Pig 100-day cockerel, using the breast meat to make enough Coronation Chicken to serve four as a starter or light lunch, leaving the legs and a divine stock for the next day. If you're cooking for a crowd, just double the 'coronation' ingredients and use the juicy leg meat too.

The 100-day cockerels and pullets hit the shops on Thursday 31st May giving you plenty of time to 'coronate' one in time for Her Madge's big do.

Ginger Pig's Coronation Chicken

For poaching

4 bay leaves
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
Handful parsley stalks (you can use the leaves in your chicken broth the next day)
1tsp whole black peppercorns
1tsp salt
1 white onions, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cockerel (a Ginger Pig 100-day pullet or a large free-range chicken would also work well), un-trussed
Water, to cover the chicken
To coronate

1tbsp tomato puree
½ tsp ground coriander
A large pinch cinnamon
1tsp cumin
½ garlic clove, very finely minced
2cm cube fresh ginger, very finely minced
250ml full fat natural or Greek yoghurt
1tbsp mayonnaise
1tbsp good mango chutney (optional)
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt to taste

To garnish

Fresh coriander leaves, picked and any huge ones torn in half
Fresh mint leaves, finely shredded
Fine slivers of red onion
A little cracked black pepper
Cherry tomatoes
Finely sliced cucumber
Lemon wedges
Sourdough or rye bread lightly toasted or super-fresh, soft white bread rolls


1. Put all of the poaching ingredients in a large pot, ensuring the water just covers the bird.

2. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for two hours.

3. Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to rest for 15 minutes, before carving off the breasts in thick slices. Set the meat to one side to cool down, and don’t forget to refrigerate your chicken stock and legs once cool.

4. Mix together the sauce ingredients, combining everything except the yoghurt until smooth and then adding the yoghurt. Add salt to taste, and extra lemon juice if you like it tangy.

5. Roughly tear the breast meat into the sauce, and then either refrigerate until use (eat within two days) or pile everything straight onto your fanciest serving dish. Garnish with the fresh herbs, sliced onion and cracked pepper and place the cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, lemon wedges and bread around the plate for proper retro-tastic presentation.

Grab the Pimm’s or a glass of English fizz, sing the national anthem and dig in.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Thai pot-roasted cockerel

We've been busy rearing some stunning 100-day chickens. We have put together a few recipes to make the very most of them and here's the first - enjoy.

Our cockerels should be cooked slowly at a low temperature to produce a silky, succulent texture to match their unbeatable flavour. We’ve put together a light-yet-satisfying Thai dish, but these birds can be used in any casserole, pot-roast or poaching recipe, for cock-a-leekie soup or traditional coq au vin, or a Heston-esque, 5-hours-at-90C-style roast. The large, meaty legs also make for excellent confit and rillettes.

The end result isn’t the prettiest bird you'll ever present to the table - no crispy skin - but he has flavour in spades; boy is he tasty. The meat pulls away from the bone with gentlest persuasion, and the reduced broth turns this meal into a laksa-type dish; comforting yet fresh, suitable both for chilly nights and warmer days. If you don't have a large pot – and this recipe does need a big one – joint the cockerel (or ask one of our butchers to) before cooking and reduce the cooking time by 45 minutes. A 3kg cockerel will easily serve six.


For the pot roasting
A 3kg cockerel
4 sticks lemongrass, bashed with a rolling pin
5 kaffir lime leaves (dried are fine, and the zest of a lime will also do)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and bashed
A large-ish (around 6cm) piece ginger, peeled and finely sliced
10 black peppercorns
4 star anise
1 large bunch coriander, stalks and leaves separated (retain both)
1tsp chilli flakes
Sea salt
1 tin of coconut milk (full fat is best)
1l chicken stock
A very large pot!

To serve
Thai fish sauce
Lime segments
The reserved coriander leaves
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Cooked rice or noodles

1. Heat the oven to 160C.
2. Un-truss the cockerel to allow for even cooking and sprinkle a little salt inside the cavity of the bird. Put the cockerel upside down into your large pot along with all of the remaining pot roast ingredients, leaving out the coriander leaves, and sprinkling a little more salt into the pot. Put a lid on the pot and bake in the oven for 3 hours, baste every 45 minutes or so and carefully turn the bird over half way through.

3. Once the cooking time is up, allow the dish to stand for ten minutes before very, very carefully removing the cockerel from the pot using a fish slice and a carving fork. The tender wings may fall off at this point, and make an excellent snack for the cook. Wrap the bird in foil and rest it until serving.

4. Reduce the cooking liquid by around a quarter, until it loosely coats the back of a spoon, then strain and discard the aromatics and spices. Add fish sauce to taste - a good tablespoon should do it - and serve bowls of cooked rice or noodles with plenty of sauce, -think half rice dish, half soup - pieces of succulent chicken, spring onions, coriander leaves, a squeeze of lime and a dollop of chilli sauce for hot heads.

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Ginger Pig 100-day chicken and pop-up suppers to celebrate!

For six months we’ve been driving each week to Rungis market, on the outskirts of Paris, to buy stunning French poultry. With poulet de Bresse, poulet noir and corn fed Landes chickens flying off the blocks of our five London shops, we know that they're popular - quite rightly! - with customers as well as butchers and chefs.


Because these chickens are simply outstanding; quite different to poultry produced in Britain, in part due to nature – slow growing, leg-meat heavy breeds not commonly reared in the UK – and in part due to nurture. The birds are grown up to a month longer than their British counterparts, from 93-110 days as opposed to just 65 for a commercially grown free range British chicken.  They’re leggy, they’re succulent and they’re richly flavoursome.

We believe that we produce pork, beef and lamb that is among the best in the world, and so in collaboration with the Botterills of Lings Farm on the Belvoir Estate, we’ve turned our trotters to chicken and started rearing our own incredible poultry.

The Ginger Pig 100-day chicken

The Ginger Pig chickens, braving the outside world on a drizzly day in the estate
A cross between a Cornish Game cockerel and a Sussex or Dorking hen, our chickens are bigger than your average bird and have been reared outdoors, free-ranging over grass and herbage in the heart of the Belvoir Estate on the border of Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. They’re dry-plucked, hung for a week and labelled as cockerels or pullets (hens) to ensure you can cook them the right way for the tastiest, most succulent meat. Both birds should be cooked low and slow to give great texture, with the cockerels particularly suited to pot-roasting and casseroles, and the pullets producing a fantastic roast.

We have - quite literally - spent years getting this right and are delighted to announce that these wonderful birds will be hitting our shops in time for the weekend. Chick chick hooray!!! We've got recipes up our sleeves too, which we'll be sharing on the Hog Blog all week starting this afternoon.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: The Ginger Pig pops up

Chickens this delicious – as well as the people who’ve worked hard to rear them – deserve a bit of a party, so we’ll be hosting dinners in our Shepherd's Bush and Hackney shops to celebrate the new addition to our marble slabs. Diners will eat their way around these birds through five courses, prepared by our butchers and chefs. 

Shepherd's Bush: June 13th and 14th                                                               Hackney: June 20th and 21st

We'll announce details of how to grab a spot at Winner Winner Chicken Dinner at 10am on Thursday this week. Places are extremely limited so watch this space...


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Little picnic pies

At the beginning of April our Yorkshire chutney queens Julie and Hestor turned their able hands to a new project, and developed some dinky little versions of our beloved pies intended to be grab and go picnics. From nearly twenty varieties we - through rigorous testing (very technical) - whittled it down to a handful of favourites, intended to go into our shops as "pick and mix" picnic pies. 

And then it rained and it rained and it rained and it rained. The fields became muddy and our calves were getting stuck in the quagmire (we pulled them out, don't worry). Kevin, the stockman who looks after the pigs, had to put bales and bales of straw down to stop us losing little piglets to the mud. Just as we were about to gather our animals up two by two and load them into a big boat, the sun came out (yesterday), so out little pies are hitting the shops for the weekend, hooray!

Here's the menu:

Black pudding and sausage pinwheels
Chicken, bacon, prune and spring onion pie
Bacon, pork, sage and applepie
Stilton and caramelised onion quiche
Steak, stilton and caramelised onion pie

We'll be trialling them in Askew Road and Moxon Street to start, with the intention of having them in all of our shops if they're a success. Let us know if you try them, we've got everything crossed for a sunny picnic-or-BBQ weekend...

Friday, 11 May 2012

A belly good weekend

This weekend we have the fattest, juiciest, tastiest Gloucester Old Spot pork belly we ever did see; thick, plenty of meat and just the right amount of fat for good crackling. And a little bird tells us that we're set for some sunshine this weekend...BBQ pork belly ribs, anyone?

We've got these rare breed bellies in all of our shops - fresh from the farm - and a couple of The Ginger Pig team have been inspired to create something special.

Jason in our Moxon Street (Marylebone) shop has made a stuffed roast by taking the belly off the bone, stuffing it with pork, apricots, sage and lemon zest and rolling it into a neat roasting joint (see below!). The skin is scored for perfect crackling, and the joint can be cooked in the same way as our recipe for perfect pork belly below.

Gemma, our new chef at Askew Road, has been experimenting with homemade brioche rolls, and will be roasting pork belly low and slow to serve in them, along with a Mexican-style salsa.

If you're more of a DIY type of cook, here are our tips for getting the most out of your roast.

Perfect roast pork belly

Everyone has their own secret to achieving the all important crisp crackling and unctuous, giving pork. Ours is very simple and not really a secret at all; just a few rules for tasty results. This method - hot and fast then low and slow - will work perfectly for Jason's rolled roast too, available in our Marylebone shop this weekend.

1. Make sure the meat is at room temperature before cooking - and this is true of almost any cut and animal. If cold flesh is exposed to a hot temperature it will contract and can become very tough, and the chill means that the meat will cook more unevenly. For a pork belly joint, take it out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking.

2. Turn it up! Get the oven nice and hot - 220C or gas mark 7.

3. Wipe the joint with some kitchen towel to ensure that it's dry - pay particularly close attention to the skin. If you haven't asked your butcher to do so (advisable!) score the skin, being careful not to go too deep with the knife.

4. Rub a little salt into the skin just before you put the meat in the oven. Doing this in advance draws moisture out of the fat, which can lead to brittle crackling or - even worse - soggy skin.

5. In a roasting tray, place the belly on a cushion of vegetables; onions, fennel, carrots, shallots and garlic all work well. Add any aromatics and spices you might like - rosemary, thyme, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon, saffron, cumin, paprika, cloves...whatever you fancy (but not all at once).

6. Put the tray with the vegetables and pork into the oven, and roast for 25 minutes.

7. Once the 25 minutes is up, turn the oven right down to 150C or gas mark 2. Add a splash - around 100ml - of water to the bottom of the tray (don't pour it over the skin) and roast for three hours, adding a little more water if the vegetables get too sticky.

8. Let the joint rest for 10 minutes before serving, then dig in.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Our new chef (and some sexy, stuffed pasta)

With much, much excitement we welcome new chef Gemma to our Askew Road shop. After training at Westminster Catering College, Gemma has lots of experience behind the stove, notably including full-time work in Sam Harris' Maltings Cafe and gem of Caprice Holdings, The Ivy. We're delighted to have her at The Ginger Pig, and her food has already been making customers swoon: 

I've just had the best ever ever ribs from your store and were cooked at your location and made by Gemma. They were exquisite and perfect. I cannot move however, have a huge smile on my face.

Not bad for her first week, eh?

Today Gemma has made proper fresh egg pasta - large ravioli stuffed with Limousin veal, wild garlic and gorgonzola - which is, quite frankly, totally divine. Pop into Askew Road and get some while it lasts. Also on the deli counter are some handmade quiches filled to the brim with yummy stuff and Gemma's confit duck legs; cured with rock salt, brown sugar, rosemary, thyme, bay, pepper and garlic before being slowly cooked in duck fat. Ready to pan sear and pop in the oven for a speedy supper.

We're planning on getting Gemma to cook delicious morsels for all of our London shops...what would you like her to make?