Noel McMeel is executive head chef at the Lough Erne Resort in beautiful County Fermanagh, one of Northern Ireland’s top golf resorts. A true ambassador for local produce, Noel has dedicated his entire career to one simple goal: finding, preparing, and serving fresh food in season. For Noel, what we eat has to delight the taste buds, ensnare the senses and nourish body and soul. So, if you are spending extra time at home, what better way to enjoy your spare time than by trying some of Noel’s most excellent recipes.
Steak & Guinness Pie
3 White Onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 Sticks of celery
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 kg quality brisket or stewing beef cut into 2cm cubes
440 ml Guinness stout
2 tablespoons heaped plain flour
200 ml Beef Stock
170 g All-butter puff pastry
1 large free-range egg
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.
Peel and chop the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery, slice the mushrooms and pick and finely chop the fresh rosemary.
Add the onions and fry gently for about 10 minutes in a heated saucepan with 1 tsp of oil until softened, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat up, add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, then mix everything together before stirring in the beef, rosemary, and a pinch of sea salt and 1 level teaspoon of black pepper.
Fry fast for 3 or 4 minutes, stir in the flour when mixed, pour in the Guinness, and add just enough beef stock to cover.
Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the oven for 2½ hours, or until the meat is very tender and the stew is rich, dark and thick, stirring halfway. Meanwhile, roll the pastry out to the thickness of a pound coin.
Place the pastry over the top of the pie dish pinching or folding and tucking in the edges to seal, then lightly score the surface with a criss-cross pattern.
Beat the egg, then brush over the top of the pie and bake directly on the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes at 160 until the pastry is puffed and golden.
Fresh Salmon with Traditional Colcannon and Basel Cream Sauce
1 slice lemon
1 tbsp salt
750-900g salmon fillet (skin on)
75 g unsalted butter
15 g flour
570 ml of milk
25 g fresh basil (stalks removed and hand-picked)
450 g potatoes (washed)
70 g butter
150 g curly kale (finely chopped)
1 egg (beaten)
3 tbsp plain flour
1 pinch salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp water
Cook the potatoes for about 25 minutes in boiling salted water, until soft. Peel while they are still warm Mash and add 20g butter.
Bring the saucepan to medium heat, add the kale with 3 tablespoons of water and 50g of butter, cook until tender. The reason for so little water is to keep vitamins contained and because cabbage is 90% water.
Fold the cabbage through the potatoes; bind the mixture together with a beaten egg and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Put the water, lemon, and salt in a large pan. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the salmon and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to finish cooking gently in the cooking liquid.
Melt 25g butter in a heavy-based pan and sprinkle over the flour.
Stir continuously with a wooden spoon to mix and cook for 5 minutes.
Gradually pour in the milk, stirring all the time, to make a smooth sauce.
Add 290ml/0.5 pint of the fish cooking liquid and leave it to simmer for 12 minutes.
Drain the salmon and cut it into 4 portions. Place on four warmed plates.
Stir the picked basil and the rest of the butter into the sauce.
Place Colcannon in the center of the plate with the fish on top.
Pour the sauce over half the fish. Chef tip: I think dishes like this look more attractive if the fish is only partly covered.
Noel’s Perfect Lemon Curd
6 tbsp / 85 g unsalted butter
1 cup / 200 g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup / 160 milliliters freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the whole eggs and yolks with a fork until fully blended.
Then, a little at a time, add the beaten eggs to the creamed butter mixture, until smooth. Once smooth, mix in the lemon juice and beat for 1 minute on high speed.
The mixture will look curdled in the mixing bowl because of the flecks of butter. It will turn satiny as it cooks.
Pour the mixture into a medium, heavy, nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes; stirring constantly, until the curd thickens, never letting it boil. Test for set by coating the back of a wooden spoon and dragging your finger through it. If a distinct track remains, it’s done. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, and salt.
Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.