A Countryman for all seasons
The Countryman pub in West Sussex attracted the attention of the judges by it’s commitment to local sourcing and higher welfare. This traditional rural hostelry boasts open log fires, a cosy bar and a large restaurant that has been run by the Vaughan family since 1986.
The Countryman is set in open countryside close to the small village of Shipley, surrounded by 3,500 acres of farmland owned by the Knepp Castle Estate. The area is in the process of being turned back into a more natural state, with the introduction of fallow deer, free roaming Tamworth pigs, Exmoor ponies and longhorn cattle
Inside this welcoming pub, you’ll find warming log fires and cask conditioned Harvey’s and Organic Horsham ales in the cosy bar, along with over 30 wines from around the world. Free-range meat and vegetables from local farms make their appearance on the menu alongside fresh fish from Shoreham and Newhaven and local game in season.
Countryman Seafood Chowder
1 tbsp of olive oil
110g/4oz of RSPCA Freedom Food or outdoor-reared streaky bacon, rind removed - cut into 5mm/¼ inch dice (optional)
175-225g/6-8oz of onions - chopped
25g/1oz of flour
850ml/1½ pints of fish stock.
425ml/¾ pint of milk
Bouquet garni made up of parsley stalks, sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf
6 medium sized potatoes, cut into 5mm/¼ inch dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
700g/1½ lb of mixed local white fish, free of bones and skin (you can use fresh salmon for additional flavour and colour)
150ml/¼ pint of single cream
450g/1lb of mixed cooked shellfish – Any local shellfish available such as mussels, scallops and prawns.
Heat the oil in a stainless-steel saucepan and brown the bacon until it is crisp and golden. Add the onion, cover and sweat for a few minutes over a low heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes and then add the fish stock or water gradually. Next, add the milk, bouquet garni and potatoes. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked - around 5 or 6 minutes.
Cut the fish into 2.5cm/1 inch cubes. Add to the pot as soon as the tip of a knife will go through a potato. Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes, stir in the cream and add the shellfish. Taste and correct the seasoning if required and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and chives. Serve in a deep dish with plenty of warm crusty rustic bread and butter.
Top tip: Remember that the fish will continue to cook in the heat of the chowder, so be careful not to overcook it.
What they say...
Did you know?
Shipley village’s historic eight-sided smock mill is just a walk along a woodland bridle path from The Countryman – made famous as the fictional home of the sleuth hero of BBC TV series Jonathan Creek.
Find out more
Click on image to visit The Countryman website