How to make: Steve Smith of the Freemasons' chicken, mushroom and asparagus

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Rising star: Freemasons at Wiswell came fourth in this years Top 50 Gastropubs
Rising star: Freemasons at Wiswell came fourth in this years Top 50 Gastropubs

Related tags: Garlic

Steve Smith’s Lancashire pub the Freemasons at Wiswell, rose from sixth to fourth place in this year’s Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs. This dish fuses fresh, seasonal flavours with a lavish foie gras sauce.


2 chicken breasts, good quality, skin on

4 black garlic cloves

Foie gras sauce

  • 250g of foie gras, deveined, roughly chopped
  • 400ml of Gewürztraminer wine
  • 585ml of whole milk
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Seasoning

Charred leek purée

  • 4 white leeks
  • 1 tbsp of squid ink
  • 1 tbsp of miso paste
  • 1 dash of soy sauce

To serve

  • 4 chestnut mushrooms
  • knob of butter
  • 4 asparagus spears
  • 100g of broad beans
  • 100g of fresh peas
  • A handful of pea shoots
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Salt


For the foie gras sauce, place 375ml of the wine in a saucepan and reduce to 100ml. In a separate pan, bring the milk (585ml) to the boil slowly.

Remove from the heat and, using a stick blender, blend the foie gras into the milk, followed by the reduced wine and the juice of a lemon. Season to taste and set aside in a warm place until ready to serve.

Preheat the oven to 130˚C/gas mark ½.

For the charred leek purée, cut the leeks in half lengthways and wash thoroughly. Use a very hot char-grill pan to blacken the leeks on both sides then remove from the heat, trim down slightly and scatter evenly on the base of a saucepan.

Add enough water just to cover (200-300ml), bring to the boil and simmer until the liquid has reduced and the pan is almost dry. Transfer to a high-speed blender and blitz with the squid ink, a dash of soy sauce and the miso paste.

Once the purée is very smooth, press through a fine strainer, transfer to a squeezy bottle and set aside until required.

Preheat the oven to 150˚C/gas mark 2.

Make a couple of incisions along the side of each chicken breast and stuff with the black garlic. Bake in the oven for 18 minutes, then remove and rest for five minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the chestnut mushrooms in half and cook the cut-side down in a hot pan with a dash of rapeseed oil. To finish, add a small knob of butter, toss to coat and season with salt.

Trim the asparagus and peel up to the tip. Blanch in boiling salted water with the peas and broad beans for 1½ minutes. Strain, peel the broad beans, season all the greens and keep warm.

Before serving, reheat the foie gras sauce, adding the remaining 25ml of wine to refresh the flavour.

To serve, pipe the charred leek purée in swirls on the base of each plate. Slice each breast in half and place on top of the purée.

Scatter the asparagus, broad beans, peas and mushrooms onto each plate. Drizzle with the foie gras sauce and garnish with pea shoots before serving.

And to drink?

Drinks educator and writer Jane Peyton recommends pairing Cwtch, Tiny Rebel’s red ale, with Smith’s dish.

She says: “This former Champion Beer of Britain has a juicy caramel flavour that complements the succulence of the chicken. It has an incisive hop character that cuts through the texture of this dish.”

Alternatively, the dish could be paired with Redstreak from Thatchers’ Cider Barn range.

Peyton explains: “The Redstreak apple gives this cider a spicy and peppery finish that harmonises well with the garlic in this dish, and plenty of tannins to cut through the texture.”

Related topics: Menu Ideas

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