Italian classic: Braised veal with porcini sauce
Italian classic: Braised veal with porcini sauce

Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's Sunday lunch features luxury ingredients and very little prep

Sunday lunch is all about making something a little more luxurious than weekday meals, says Bill Granger. Though that doesn't have to mean hours in the kitchen…

Bill Granger
Sunday 08 February 2015 01:00
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Gone are the days when I spent my weekends searching out the latest special restaurant. My perfect Sunday lunch is now all about surrounding myself with unpretentious food and the chatter of good friends.

I love inviting people to my home and cooking for them, or, as often happens, taking over their kitchen for the day. This menu suits both scenarios perfectly. Easy enough to feel like a joy rather than a chore to cook, they are dishes that can be prepped in advance. Nothing is overly complicated, it's just that the ingredients are a bit more luxurious than those you might have for a weekday meal.

And the tart? It's as sinful as they come; any leftovers get given away in doggy bags to ensure I don't let the excesses spill into the new week…

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, and 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032, grangerandco.com. Follow Bill on Instagram at bill.granger

Braised veal with porcini sauce

An old Italian classic, this is also delicious (and quite a bit cheaper) if made with beef. The sliced veal is served with plenty of porcini sauce, to make the meat moist and succulent again, while adding a velvety richness.

Serves 6

50g dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
1kg topside veal
2 onions, peeled and quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed with the back of a knife
6 carrots, peeled and cut into lengths
2 celery sticks, chopped into lengths
200ml white wine
2 bay leaves
Few thyme sprigs
Knob butter

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas3. Put the porcini in a jug, cover with 700ml of boiling water and leave to soak for 20 minutes.

Heat half the oil in a casserole dish, brown the meat all over for 10 minutes. Remove with tongs and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the dish and brown the onions, garlic, carrots and celery until golden. Pour in the wine, add the bay and thyme, and use a wooden spoon to scrape any residue from the bottom of the pan. Return the meat to the casserole with any resting juices, strain the porcini soaking liquid into the dish, reserving the porcini for later. Cover and cook for 1½ hours, turning halfway through cooking. The veal should be really tender when it is ready.

Once cooked, transfer the meat to a board and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain the vegetables through a sieve over a bowl, to collect the cooking liquor. Keep the vegetables warm. Warm k a small pan over a high heat. Add the butter and, once it foams, tip in the soaked mushrooms. Season and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the strained cooking liquor. Bring to the boil and adjust the seasoning. Carve the meat and serve with the porcini sauce and gratin (below).

Potato, celeriac and chard gratin

Continuing the luxurious theme running through this menu, this gratin works beautifully with the flavours of the porcini.

Serves 6

1 bunch chard, roughly chopped, stems and leaves separated
500ml double cream
300ml milk
2 garlic cloves, sliced
Half bunch thyme, leaves picked
750g celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced
450g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
50g Gruyère , grated
50g Parmesan, grated

Plunge the chard stems into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for 2 minutes, add the leaves and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Drain thoroughly, tip on to kitchen towel and pat dry. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/Gas4. Put the cream, milk, garlic, thyme, celeriac and potatoes into a large pan over a low heat and bring slowly to the boil.

Luxurious: Potato, celeriac and chard gratin

Remove from the heat and spoon half the mixture into a large baking dish (I used a 23cm round). Top with the chard, half the Gruyère and half the Parmesan.

Spoon the remaining celeriac and potato over the chard, cover with the remaining cheeses. Cover with foil and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook for 20 minutes, or until the celeriac is tender and the surface is golden and bubbling.

Espresso and pecan truffle tart

Show restraint when slicing up this tart. It's a powerhouse of chocolate and espresso – a greedy portion could have you bouncing off the walls for the rest of the day!

Makes 8-10 servings

60g pecans, roasted
225g plain flour
100g cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk
Pinch salt

For the filling

250ml double cream
50ml strong espresso coffee
250g plain chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp maple syrup

To serve

Crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Put half the pecans in the bowl of a food processor and whizz until finely ground. Add the flour and diced butter and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Drop in the egg yolk and salt. Leave the motor running until the pastry comes together in a ball. If it seems too dry and crumbly to come together, add 1-2 tsp of cold water. Remove the pastry from the processor, wrap in film and chill for 15 minutes.

Powerhouse: Espresso and pecan truffle tart

Once chilled, roll the pastry out thinly. Use to line a 20cm loose-based tart tin. Trim off any excess pastry. Chill for 15 minutes. Line with baking paper, fill with baking beans then bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, lift out the baking beans, return to the oven and continue to cook for 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and cooked all over. Allow to cool completely.

To make the filling, heat the cream and espresso to just simmering. Put the chocolate and maple syrup in a small bowl, pour over the hot espresso cream and allow to stand for 2 minutes for the chocolate to melt. Stir until smooth. Scrape the mixture into the pastry shell and chill for at least 3 hours to allow it to set.

Roughly chop the remaining pecans and season with sea salt. Use to top the tart just before serving with crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt.

Food preparation: Marina Filippelli; Props merchandising: Rachel Jukes

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