Kedgeree with soft boiled Old Cotswold Legbar

Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Serves: 4

Difficulty: 4/5

Kedgeree is one of those dishes that is interpreted in many ways. Originally known as khichri, this Hindu dish has come a long way since its creation, which was actually by the British, by the way, in India. It was a good way to use up fish and rice; but in the wrong hands it became a bowl of slop. Many versions are rather like a very dry haddock biriani – made from badly smoked haddock mixed with rice and raw curry powder. Good quality ingredients are crucial. Smoked Finnan haddock makes the best kedgeree, as the smokiness permeates the sauce and rice to give that delicious savoury flavour. Don’t be tempted to buy that disgusting bright yellow dyed smoked haddock fillet. You could replace some of the haddock with hot smoked salmon fillet (braden rost), or smoked mackerel, which creates a contrast in colours and flavour.

Recipe by Mark Hix

INGREDIENTS

  • 150g basmati rice
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp onion seeds (nigela)
  • 350g undyed smoked haddock fillet, lightly poached
  • 4 Cotswold Legbar medium eggs

For the sauce

  • A good knob of butter
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Small piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • A few curry leaves
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 100ml fish stock (or a quarter of a good-quality cube, dissolved in that amount of hot water)
  • 400ml double cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Print Recipe

METHOD

First, make the curry sauce. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and gently cook the shallots, garlic and ginger in it without allowing them to colour. Add all the spices and cook for another minute to release their flavours. Add the fish stock, bring to the boil and allow it to reduce by half. Pour in the cream and simmer until reduced by half. Blend the sauce in a liquidiser or with a stick blender until smooth and strain it through a fine-meshed sieve. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Rinse the rice a couple of times in cold water to remove any starch and cook it in plenty of boiling salted water with the cumin and nigela seeds for about 12-15 minutes until just cooked. Briefly drain it in a colander and return it to the pan off the heat with a lid on. This allows the rice to steam dry, giving it a light fluffy texture.

To serve, soft-boil the eggs for 4 minutes, then run under the cold tap for a couple of minutes so you can peel them. Re-heat sauce and add the cooked smoked haddock or salmon or mackerel. Put the rice into a bowl, spoon over the fish and sauce, then place an egg on each.