Norfolk chef Andy Parle’s festive favourite

PUBLISHED: 13:28 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:29 03 December 2019

Andy Parle

Andy Parle

©2012 Sam Barker

As well as being one of Norfolk’s leading private chefs, cooking for weddings and private parties at some of the county’s most prestigious and popular venues, Andy is also a published author of the acclaimed The Hunters’ Cookbook with three follow-on titles to his name. His experience stems from cooking in a number of top British restaurants, including Norfolk’s Michelin starred Adlard’s.

Andy Parle's Pheasant BrothAndy Parle's Pheasant Broth

What are your first memories of being a professional chef over Christmas?

"My first job fresh from school was in a hotel, the Christmas parties started in mid-November and we cooked turkey after turkey, by Christmas Day we were exhausted."

When their children were young and he was only home for Christmas Day itself, Andy and his wife Clare decided to let their two children decide what they wanted for the festive meal, to which they exclaimed "baked potatoes with all the trimmings!" Andy adds, 'by trimmings, they didn't mean stuffing, pigs in blankets and so on, but grated cheese or tuna mayonnaise! It's not about what's on the table but being around the table itself, interacting, joking and enjoying time together."

What memories do you have of your own favourite childhood Christmas meal?

"A few days after the excitement, once the turkey had been stripped of its tastiest bits, cold cuts and obligatory curry my Mum would get the pressure cooker out of the cupboard. In went the carcass, vegetables and any gravy left over and on went the tightly sealed lid. The whistling would punctuate the air and windows would steam up, as the alchemy happened. Turkey broth! A more warming, soothing, winter liqueur you couldn't hope for. This recipe will give you that tasty, wholesome broth but you don't have to wait until after Christmas to savour it."

Norfolk Pheasant and Pearl Barley Broth
Approximately 10 servings Andy's mother created this wonderfully hearty turkey broth, a recipe which Andy has now adapted to create his famous Norfolk Pheasant & Peal Barley Broth.

Ingredients -

1 dressed pheasant. Rinse inside and out, cover with water in cooking pot

1 medium sized English onion. Peel and cut into quarters

2 medium carrots. Peel, top and tail and cut in half length ways

1 stick of celery. Wash and cut in half

3 cloves garlic, in their skins

1 leek top. Halved and thoroughly washed, reserve the rest for the main soup

2 bay leaves

6 sprigs fresh thyme

10 peppercorns or a good few rasps of the pepper mill

1 level teaspoon of sea salt

Method -

1. Place the pan on the heat and bring gently to a simmer. As the water is about to come to the boil a thick scum will appear, skim this off with a ladle and reduce the heat

2. Add all the other ingredients, push them into the water and place a lid on the pan. When the water has resumed simmering make sure it is doing so gently

3. After 1 hour the bird should be well cooked. Check that the meat is falling from the carcass and if so remove from the heat and leave covered for 30 minutes to cool a little. If you are unsure it's cooked leave the pot simmering for 15 minutes more

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4. While the pheasant is cooking and cooling begin preparing the ingredients to complete the dish

5. After 30 minutes strain the contents of the pot. Place a colander over a sizable pan, lift the pheasant and vegetables out of the pan with a couple of kitchen spoons into the colander then ladle the stock through the colander

6. Roughly strip the meat from the carcass. Once done then go through and strip or chop the meat finely taking care to feel for bone fragments or shot as you go. Cover and reserve

To complete -

200g pearl barley. Rinse in cold water and drain. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, skim off any scum and cook gently for 25 minutes or until tender. Leave to cool in the pan covered with a lid. Once cool drain through a sieve and reserve

2 tbsp vegetable oil

250g rindless smoked streaky bacon rashers cut into fine strips. Try and get some good quality bacon from your butcher, preferably smoked on site as this will give a real depth of flavour

300g English onion. Peeled and finely diced

300g carrot. Peeled and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice

100g celery. Washed and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice

30g garlic. Peeled and sliced

200g leek. Washed and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice

500g potato. Washed and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice

400g swede peeled and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice

A good slug of medium sherry (Optional)

150g greens. Savoy cabbage or curly kale would be my pick, stalk removed, cut into fine 2.5cm/1inch strips, washed and drained

Small handful of parsley, chopped

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Method -

1. Warm a large pan with a lid over a medium heat. Add the oil, allow it to warm for 1 minute and then add the bacon. Allow to cook gently, stirring occasionally until the bacon has rendered and beginning to get crispy

2. Add the onion and carrot, give the contents of the pan a good stir and place a lid on the pan. Allow to cook gently for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables have softened to the touch

3. Add the celery and garlic, stir in, replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes

4. Now add the leek, potato and swede. Season with a little salt and pepper remembering the stock has already got some seasoning. Continue to cook without a lid for 5 minutes or so stirring occasionally

5. Add the sherry if using and cook for 2 minutes. Now add the stock using a sieve to strain any little bits of debris. Bring to a simmer, replace the lid and turn down the heat so the contents of the pan are cooking gently

6. After approximately 15 minutes the swede and potatoes should be soft to the touch. Add the cabbage, parsley and barley. Cook for a further 5 minutes, taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. The soup is now ready to serve.

Contact Andy at

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