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Donal Skehan

Szechuan Pork & Green Bean Stir-Fry. Photo: Donal Skehan Gallery

Rhubarb & White Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding. Pictures: Donal Skehan Gallery

Sofie and Donal Skehan Gallery

Thyme & Gruyère French Onion Soup. Photo: Donal Skehan Gallery

Sticky Soy Pork Sliders with Chilli & Coriander. Pictures: Donal Skehan Gallery

Saffron Lucia Buns. Pictures: Donal Skehan Gallery

Lamb & Pearl Barley Stew. Pictures: Donal Skehan Gallery

Donal Skehan's Christmas recipes are full of flavour. Picture: Paul Kehoe Gallery

Bangers & Mash Pie. Photograph: Donal Skehan Gallery

Pork Banh Mi Burger with Garlic & Chilli Skinny Fries. Photograph: Donal Skehan Gallery

Chorizo Chicken Burger. Photograph: Donal Skehan Gallery

Beef Ragu Pasta Bake Gallery


Beef Ragu, Piri-Piri Chicken and Porchetta Pork Loin — get top marks with Donal Skehan’s back-to-school dinners

I am always torn around this time of year, lamenting the end of summer. It’s the long evenings and al-fresco eating and the feeling that it’s actually nice to find a new pace of life as the season changes. For our crew, that means getting back to a little meal prepping and putting our kitchen routine back on track with some meal planning. I rely on recipes that I know are sure-fire winners for the whole family, and here, I share three great ones to kick start the back-to-school season. Porchetta is a slow-roasted shoulder or belly of pork which is commonly sold wrapped up in paper parcels with crispy crackling from roadside vendors throughout northern Italy. Irresistible as it is, slow roasting a joint for a speedy weeknight dinner is just not an option in our house. Instead, this quick version borrows the recipe for porchetta’s aromatic stuffing and is rubbed into a butterflied pork loin wrapped up in salty prosciutto. Serve it with thinly sliced roast potatoes liberally sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, and a fresh watercress salad. Dinner is served! I was brought up on spaghetti bolognese, my mum’s go-to dinner option. I now understand the ease and comfort of simmering a rewarding ragu as the house is torn apart by two children, so this Beef Ragu Pasta Bake always serves us well. You can add whatever vegetables you have to hand to the ragu, once they are chopped finely enough. Baked with three cheeses, it’s serious comfort food for cold nights when only pasta will do! Another winner is my Piri-Piri Chicken — thanks to Nando’s, this is now seriously popular, although I’ve loved this Portuguese marinade for a long time! It’s well worth making extra because you’ll want to cover everything with it, and it keeps well in a jar in the fridge — great on meat, fish and veg! The recipe here will give you great grilled chicken and I serve it with a chopped salad, but you can add roast sweet potatoes to make it more of a meal. Simply toss sweet potato chips in a little oil, season well, maybe throw in some chilli flakes for heat and cook in a hot oven at 200C for about 45 minutes or until they are crisp. Three great back-to-school dinners, the whole family will enjoy!

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