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Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

We recently bought Skye McAlpine’s book, A Table for Friends, which has lovely menus for each season. We’re well and truly into Autumn now and the farm shop is full of potatoes, pumpkins and beetroots. Tonight we made Skye’s suggested autumn menu of buttery lemon roast chicken, beetroot & mint salad, butter & sage roast pumpkin and roast potatoes. A perfect combination of dishes and all can be prepped in advance. Unfortunately we were minus the friends but hopefully those days will be back again before too long. 

We ignore all timings for roast chicken these days and stick to Diana Henry’s failsafe instructions to roast for 20 minutes at 190C for each 500g plus an extra 10 minutes. 

Wine Suggestion: Quite often with roast chicken we lean towards oaked Chardonnay as it’s such a classic match but tonight we remembered that another great match is good red Bordeaux from the Left Bank, so Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, and also with a little age, but not too much. We continued our lockdown habit of dipping into the cellar once a week and pulled out a Domaine de Chevalier red from 2010. It still has years, if not a couple of decades of life ahead of it but at 10 years old it still has a spriteliness of youth while all components have come together harmoniously into a smooth, elegant wine.

Buttery Lemon Roast Chicken – serves 4

  • a large bunch of sage
  • 1 lemon, finely zested
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 free-range chicken

You can prep the chicken early in the day and keep in the fridge but make sure you take it out an hour or two before you want to put it into the oven so it’s at room temperature.

Heat the oven to 190C.

Finely chop half the sage and mash in a bowl with the butter, lemon zest and salt.

Put the chicken into a roasting tray. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze some of the juice into the cavity, then stuff the halves into the chicken with the remaining sage.

Gently lift the skin over the breast and smear a quarter of the butter mixture under the skin over each breast. You should be able to push the butter quite far down with your fingers, but careful not tear the skin. Rub the rest of the butter over the chicken and sprinkle with some extra salt.

Roast the chicken according to the timings given above. When cooked the legs should feel loose and the juice should run clear when you pierce a thick bit with a sharp knife.

Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving and served with some of the juices spooned over.

(Original recipe from A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty by Skye McAlpine, Bloomsbury, 2020.)

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Turmeric Chicken KebabsWe’re total suckers for a new cookbook and therefore just couldn’t live without Simply by Sabrina Ghayour. We cooked a few dishes last weekend and they were all great. It’s an Indian summer in Ireland too, so it was great to do barbecue and drinks in the sunshine. We’re now on the hunt for more recipes using fresh turmeric.

Wine Suggestion: This works perfectly with a goood Rioja Reserva, especially if it has a few extra years in the bottle. There is something about how Tempranillo becomes all velvety and aromatic with a few years aged in oak, plus a few extra in the bottle that really works for warm spices and smoky barbecue flavours. Our treat was the Muga Reserva from 2001 which was excellent but it doesn’t need as much age as this, just nice fruit so choose what is at hand.

Turmeric Chicken Kebabs – serves 4 to 6

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • sweet chilli sauce, to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 5cm piece of fresh turmeric, scrubbed and grated (wear gloves!)
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 generous tbsp clear honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Put all the of the ingredients for the marinade in a container and mix together. Do be careful as the turmeric is bright yellow and will stain anything it comes in contact with.

Cut the chicken breasts lengthways into 3 long strips. Stir into the marinade, then cover the container with a lid and put into the fridge. We did this in the morning and the chicken was really delicious by the time we cooked it that evening. Sabrina suggests 30 minutes to an hour or overnight, so no panic if you’re short on time or want to get ahead.

Get your barbecue going and get it nice and hot.

Thread the chicken onto kebab skewers, we prefer to use metal ones but wooden ones are fine, just make sure you soak them for 20 minutes before using. You can thread individual pieces onto short skewers or put a few onto a longer skewer.

Cook the chicken over a high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through (alternatively you can cook these in the oven on a tray lined with baking paper at the highest setting for 10-12 minutes or until cooked). Serve with the sweet chilli sauce on the side.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

 

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Chicken Fricassée with Morels

It’s bean a while since we’ve been in France, but when we were there we stocked up on dried morels (and ceps) at the Saint-Cyprien market, and bought as much wine as they would let us have at Domaine Labet in the Jura. Creamy mushroom sauce and chardonnay from the Jura is a magic combination! We served this with roast potatoes made with a variety called carolus from McNally Family Farm – they make amazing roasties!

Wine Suggestion: We were fortunate to find a couple of different vintages of Labet’s En Chalasse Chardonnay which comes from very old vineyard plots. Tonight we opened the 2015 which showed the effect of a warm vintage with a broad and lifted ripe apple character and hints of nuts and spices. More gentle acidity than usual but well in balance with hints of skin contact and phenolic textures on the palate.

Chicken fricassée with morels – serves 4

  • 20g dried morels
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts with the skin on
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 90g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 100ml Noilly Prat or dry sherry
  • 130ml chicken stock
  • 300g full-fat crème fraîche

Soak the morels in 200ml of tepid water for about 15 minutes, then drain through a sieve over a bowl to catch the liquid.  Strain the liquid and keep 75ml for the sauce. Rinse the morels under cold water to remove any grit, then dry with kitchen paper and cut in half lengthways.

Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan and fry the chicken, skin-side down, for about 3 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn the chicken pieces over and continue to brown for a few minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the butter to the pan, then fry the shallot until softened. Add the morels and chestnut mushrooms and fry for a few minutes. Add the Noilly Prat or sherry, the reserved soaking liquid and the stock, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the crème fraîche and stir until melted into the sauce, then put the chicken back in, along with any juices on the plate. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over a medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and lots of black pepper.

(Original recipe from Secret France by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2019)

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Paella with Runner Beans, Chicken & Prawns

We just can’t resist runner beans when we see them and were so glad to find this recipe which puts them to good use. Healthy enough for a weeknight too.

Wine Suggestion: for a dish with both chicken and shellfish we prefer textural white wines. With an extra umami-savoury element we find that Grüner Veltliner also complements the paprika and saffron here. Tonight a wine from a friend in the business, the Schloss Gobelsburg Langenlois Kamptal GV. Quite a ripe style but with backbone and finesse too.

Paella with runner beans, chicken & prawns – serves 4 (we halved successfully)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs
  • 225g paella rice
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 850ml hot chicken stock, with 2 large pinches of saffron added
  • 350g runner beans, peel down the sides with a vegetable peeler to remove any strings, then thickly slice into chunks
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 200g raw large king prawns

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and garlic, and fry for 5 minutes. Push the onions to one side, then add the chicken thighs and cook for 10 minutes or until browned.

Stir in the rice and paprika, then pour in the wine and let is sizzle for a minute or two. Add the saffron stock, then stir in the beans and pepper, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the stock absorbed. You can add a bit more stock if needed.

Add the prawns for the last few minutes, they will turn pink when cooked. Season generously and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Sticky Korean Chicken Drumsticks

We always take the drumsticks too when we buy chicken thighs in the butchers. They make for economical mid-week dinners. This recipe by Tom Kerridge is straightforward but you do need to get marinating the night before.

Sticky Korean Chicken Drumsticks – serves 8 (we very easily scaled down to feed 2)

  • 16 chicken drumsticks
  • sliced red chilli, to garnish
  • sliced scallions, to garnish

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • large piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp mirin

Put the ingredients for the marinade into a large bowl with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and whisk together.

Score the chicken drumsticks with a sharp knife and toss in the marinade, then cover and chill overnight.

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 4.

Put the drumsticks onto a shallow roasting tray and drizzle over the marinade left in the bowl.

Roast for 40 minutes, then baste with the juices in the tray.

Turn the oven up to 220C/200C fan/gas 8 and cook for another 20 minutes or until caramelised and a starting to char.

Serve with some fresh red chilli and scallions scattered over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chicken Tikka Masala

A take-away classic. We barbecued the chicken to give it a charred flavour to replicate the tandoor. We used our charcoal barbecue for maximum flavour, but even on a gas one the barbecue flavour is a nice bonus. Serve with rice, naan breads and raita.

Wine Suggestion: this dish isn’t spicy hot, rather richly flavoured. A medium-weight oaked Chardonnay is our choice, with automatically a lot of new world options immediately sprung to mind. We opened a Chateau Beauregard Pouilly-Fuissé instead to see if a classic southern Burgundy worked and were very happy we did.

Chicken tikka masala – serves 4

FOR THE SPICE MIX:

  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (we don’t have this but you can use 2 tbsp of sweet paprika mixed with 1 tsp of medium chilli powder instead)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground fenugreek
  • pinch of cloves

CHICKEN TIKKA:

  • 1 tbsp of the spice mix (see above)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 20g fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned and diced
  • fresh coriander, to serve

SAUCE:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 25g fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of the spice mix (see above)
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt

Make the spice mix by mixing all of the spices together. You will have more than you need for this recipe and can use this in any recipe calling for tandoori masala.

Make the marinade for the chicken by combining the spice mix with the garlic, ginger and yoghurt. Put the chicken into a bowl and season well with salt. Add the lemon juice and toss to coat, then pour over the spice and yoghurt mixture. Mix well, then cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours, or ideally overnight.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cover and cook over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Remove the lid, increase the heat slightly, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the onions take on some colour.

Add the spices and stir for a minute or so , then add the tomato purée and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, then stir for a few minutes. Add 400ml of water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Blend the sauce with a stick blender until completely smooth, then stir in the yoghurt. You can make the sauce up to a couple of days in advance or if using straightaway, keep warm while you cook the chicken.

Preheat your barbecue until very hot. Place a griddle pan on the barbecue grill and heat until searing hot. Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe off any excess. Cook for a few minutes or until charring and easy to lift off the griddle. Turn and cook on the other side, until just cooked through. You will need to do this in batches.

If you don’t have a barbecue use a griddle pan on the stove, and likewise wait until searing hot before griddling.

Reheat your sauce if necessary, then add the cooked chicken. Simmer until everything is piping hot, then serve sprinkled with coriander and with some lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ British Classics by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2018.)

 

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Roast chicken with garlic & thyme croutons

The croutons here are pieces of slightly stale sourdough that make a trivet for the chicken and soak up all the juices, such a clever idea. They are delicious and so is the salsa verde on the side.

Wine suggestion: We think a Jura Chardonnay with a little bit of Voile (kept in large oak barrels and not topped up for a number of years with a sherry-like flor yeast keeping them fresh) is the perfect match. The full-bodied Chardonnay matched with the freshness of the alpine foothills and the salty, yeasty Voile complements the croutons. Tonight it was our last bottle of the Jacques Puffeney Cuvée Sacha which is a non-vintage blend of Chardonnay with a small amount of much older Savignin; very compelling and complex.

Roast chicken with garlic & thyme croutons – serves 4

  • 1 whole chicken
  • ½ a loaf of day-old sourdough, cut into large chunks
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • a whole bulb of garlic, halved
  • 1 lemon, halved

FOR THE SALSA VERDE:

  • ½ tbsp Dijon
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely diced gherkins or cornichons
  • 2 tbsp small capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • ½ a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ½ a small bunch of mint, chopped
  • a small bunch of basil, chopped

Heat the oven to 190C. Rub the chicken all over with olive oil and season well.

Toss the bread with the thyme, 2 tbsp of olive oil and some seasoning. Spread the bread over the bottom of a large roasting tin with the garlic and lemon, then sit the chicken on the top. Make sure there is plenty of bread underneath the chicken. Roast for 20 minutes per 500g plus an extra 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

Make the salsa verde by whisking the mustard, vinegar and oil together, season well, then add all the chopped ingredients.

Leave the chicken to rest for 10 minutes or so before carving. Toss the croutons in the sticky juices in the roasting tin and serve alongside the chicken and the salsa.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, May 2015.)

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Spicy Barbecued Chicken Wings

These have to be some of the best chicken wings we’ve tasted. They’re cooked twice so the meat is fabulously tender and there’s no need to worry about them not cooking through on the barbecue. We’ll be making more of these, especially as our daughter has now tasted them and keeps demanding we go to the butchers!

Wine Suggestion: This went really well with a dry German Riesling from the Nahe, the Weingut Korrell Paradies Riesling. A young producer doing some delicious things. Also great with lighter, spicy reds like a gently handled Grenache or Syrah.

Spicy barbecued chicken wings – serves 4

  • 16 chicken wings
  • mint leaves, coriander leaves and lemon wedges, to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3cm piece of ginger, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 115g honey
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 80ml groundnut oil
  • juice of 1 lemon

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the chicken wings and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the chicken wings cool in the water for 1 hour, then drain and pat dry.

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, then toss in the chicken wings and leave to marinate for 1 hour. You can leave them for longer but you need to put them into the fridge, make sure you remove them from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook them.

Preheat the barbecue.

Remove the chicken from marinade and put into another bowl. Pour the marinade into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced to a sauce.

Cook the chicken wings on the barbecue for a couple of minutes on each side or until charred, then brush with the reduced marinade.

Pile onto a platter and serve with the coriander and mint scatter over and some lemon wedges on the side.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016.)

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Chicken & new potato traybake

This really couldn’t be easier, everything in the one pan and shoved in the oven. New potatoes haven’t quite landed in Ireland yet but we chopped up some waxy ones which worked pretty well. Lemon, olives, bay, chicken & garlic – made for each other! Serve with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion: a joyously inexpensive southern French white, the Les Terrasses de la Negly, a Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Petit Grains and Muscat d’Alexandria blend. One highly popular grape with two that are deeply out of fashion. The wine: easy, fruity, fresh and with texture to work with the food.

Chicken & new potato traybake – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g new potatoes
  • 140g large pitted green olives
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 8 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 4 large chicken thighs

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.

Pour the olive oil into a large roasting tray, then add the potatoes, olives, lemon, bay leaves, and garlic. Toss to coat everything in the oil, then nestle in the chicken thighs, skin-side up of course, and season well.

Put the dish in the oven and cook for an hour, basting half-way through. Check the chicken and potatoes are cooked, then return to the oven for a final 15 minutes to crispy up the chicken skin.

Remove the tin from the oven and squash the roasted garlic, discard the papery skin and stir the garlic into juices. Serve with a green salad, we had peppery watercress.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chicken Cacciatore

We were missing all the family and friends we were supposed to be with on Easter Sunday but had fun with an Easter egg hunt, Quiche Lorraine for lunch and this for dinner, which was truly delicious. Served with Italian-style roast potatoes, plus we pulled the rest of the chicken off the bones and stirred into the sauce for pasta another day. Our little bunny has already claimed the leftovers for her dinner for the rest of the week.

Wine Suggestion: As it was Easter and we wanted to have something special with dinner … off to the small cellar of hoarded wines we went. The first Italian we came across was chosen, and though we knew it wasn’t cheap, we’d purchased it many years ago at a very good price. We very much enjoyed the Sassicaia 2008. A classic wine of the world, made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and drinking truly fabulously now. Interestingly it was the vintage that had no “signature” head winemaker at the winery; well done those cellar hands and winery workers who just made the wine as it should be! Ignore the price if you have one and just enjoy this wine as a special event like we did. Lucky us, and pity we only had a single bottle.

Chicken cacciatore – serves 4

  • 1 large chicken jointed into 8, we used 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 70g pancetta cubes – didn’t have these so cut some thick-cut back bacon into strips
  • a glass of red wine, about 200ml
  • 2 x 400g tins of cherry tomatoes or tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 10 black olives, pitted and halved
  • a handful of basil leaves

When you get your chicken home, remove all the packaging and season it generously with salt, then put back into the fridge until ready to cook. If, like us, you had the chicken in the freezer and forgot to season, take it out of the fridge and season with salt, then leave out of the fridge for 30 minutes before you start cooking.

Before you start to cook, season the chicken all over with some black pepper.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken until golden all over. You will probably need to do this in two batches. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions and garlic and cook gently until soft. Add the pancetta (or bacon substitute) and continue to cook for another few minutes.

Add the glass of wine to the pan and simmer until almost evaporated, then add the tomatoes and plenty of seasoning. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Stir in the capers and olives.

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Tip the sauce into an ovenproof dish that can fit the chicken in a single layer. Lay the chicken pieces into the sauce, leaving the skin exposed. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in the basil and serve.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes & Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, April 2012)

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Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon Pie

Our chicken pies usually have some kind of cream in them but we really liked this gravy version. Try and use chicken thighs instead of breasts if you can get them, but no matter. I think we can all be forgiven for using dried herbs rather than fresh at the minute too. Though our local grocer surprisingly had some tarragon. We divided this into two dishes and baked each one fresh over two nights – reheated pastry never works out so well.

Wine Suggestion: Pinot Noir makes a nice match for this dish, be it classic Burgundy or New World. As always with this grape, make sure it is fresh and vibrant – the rich, juicy and high alcohol versions with lower acidity just don’t cut it with food. Tonight we had a cheaper “Little Yering” from the Yarra Valley found in the bargain bin of a local. While it didn’t blow us away it was delightful with the food

Chicken, mushroom & tarragon pie – serves 4

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 400g diced chicken (we used thighs but breasts fine too)
  • 100g mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 330ml white beer
  • 300ml chicken stock or veg stock
  • 4 tbsp of chopped tarragon leaves
  • a ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry sheet (all-butter not essential)

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken. Remove it from the pan and add the onions and mushrooms. Cook these for about 5 minutes or until softened and browned.

Add 3 tbsp of flour to the mushroom mixture and keep cooking for about 5 minutes, then add the beer and stock. Bring to the boil while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the sticky bits.

Lower the heat, then add the tarragon, some seasoning, and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, then tip into a baking dish and leave to cool.

Cut the pastry sheet to fit the dish and lay gently onto the sauce. Cut a few slits in the top and make a decoration with the pastry cuttings.

Bake for 30 minutes or until browned.

(Original recipe from Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon Pie 2

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Roast chicken with a Breton sauce

We made this on the first weekend of social distancing as our dinner date was cancelled. We were all in a bit of shock but reassured ourselves by planning all of the things that we could cook while spending time at home. We loved this recipe by Diana Henry and the sauce is absolutely delicious. We served with some purple sprouting broccoli and roast potatoes. Diana suggests green beans or Savoy cabbage and waxy potatoes.

Wine suggestion: Our inspiration tonight was the Loire, being the closest wine region to Brittany, which specialises in apples (cider & Calvados). We chose a bottle of Chateau du Hureau’s Foudre, a Chenin Blanc that is fermented and aged in large oak barrels; full of appley flavours alongside a refined texture and enough body and a freshness to match the rich, creamy dish.

Roast chicken with a Breton onion sauce – serves 6

  • 1.8kg chicken
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 4 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped

FOR THE ONIONS:

  • 30g unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 450g onions, finely chopped

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 300ml full cream milk
  • a slice of onion
  • a few parsley stalks
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • a bay leaf
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • nutmeg, for grating
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Calvados

Preheat your oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

Prep the chicken first by mashing the butter and thyme leaves together with some salt and pepper. Loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken with your hands. This is easy to do but be gentle so you don’t tear the skin. Spread half of the butter under the skin with your hands, then spread the rest over the outside. Season all over with salt and pepper and put into a roasting tin. Cook for 20 minutes per 500g plus an extra 10 minutes.

Melt the butter for the onions in a heavy-based pan, then add the onions. Stir to coat them in the butter, add 2 tbsp of water, then cover and cook over a very low heat until completely soft. Check them now and then and add a bit more water if needed. Set aside until needed.

Remove the chicken from the oven, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

To make the sauce put the milk, onion, parsley and peppercorns and bay leaf in a saucepan and slowly bring to just under the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes, then strain into a jug.

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add the flour and stir over a medium-low heat for a minute. Remove the pan from the heat, then start adding the strained milk, a little at a time, stirring until smooth. Season and add a little grated nutmeg. Return the pan to the heat and stir until boiling. Turn the heat down and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the onions and their juices, the crème fraîche, mustard and Calvados and taste for seasoning. Serve the chicken with the sauce and veg on the side.

(Original recipe from A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

 

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Chicken with young ginger

We made this on Chinese New Year when the Chinese were unable to celebrate due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. Over a month later and we’re still not sure what the implications of the Covid-19 outbreak will be. In the meantime we’ll keep calm and carry on cooking.

This is a recipe by Fuchsia Dunlop who recommends using tender ginger that’s not too fibrous – it should be easy to snap off a piece with no fibres showing from the cut. We’re not sure our ginger quite met that criteria but the dish was very tasty nonetheless.

Wine Suggestion: white, aromatic and with a fresh acidity. Pikes “The Merle” Riesling from Clare Valley made a great aperitif while cooking and then stepped up and paired wonderfully.

Chicken with Young Ginger – nen jiang chao zi ji – serves 2 with rice

  • 75g plump fresh ginger (see note above), peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 1 scallion, white part only (save the green part), smacked with a cleaver or rolling pin
  • 350g boned chicken thighs, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • ¼ tsp potato starch mixed with ½ tsp cold water
  • a few 5cm pieces of scallion, green parts only
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ground white pepper

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp potato starch
  • 2 tsp cold water

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp stock or water

Put the chicken into a bowl with the marinade ingredients and stir.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame. Add the ginger and scallion white and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the chicken and continue to stir-fry over a high heat, until cooked through and beginning to colour.

Add the Shaoxing wine to the chicken, then stir the sauce and add to the wok. Bring to a fast boil and season with white pepper.

Stir the starch mixture and this to the wok, stirring. The sauce should thicken and become glossy.

Add the scallion greens and toss briefly, before removing the wok from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil and serve.

(Original recipe from Land of Fish & Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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We’re all about creamy sauces, gratins and roasts at this time of the year. This is a great Friday night pasta dish by Nigel Slater with all the roast chicken flavour but quick to put together.

Wine suggestion: this really needs a full bodied white wine with texture. We naturally fall towards Chardonnay when thinking this, but the Languedoc one we had in the fridge we knew was easy drinking but not able to stand up to the food despite it being fuller bodied. Luckily we also had Vouvray made by Vincent and Tania Carême from our holidays earlier this year, and despite it being “tendre” or off-dry, it was a delight and an excellent match. The key was the texture even with the residual sugars left in the wine.

Roast chicken pasta – serves 4 generously

  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg chicken thighs
  • 300g fusilli or trofie pasta
  • 7g tarragon, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 10g parsley, leaves stripped and chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 75g pine nuts, toasted
  • 500ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

Bash the rosemary, peppercorns and a tsp of sea salt in a pestle and mortar until you have a coarse powder, then blend in the olive oil.

Put the chicken thighs in a roasting tin, then pour over the rosemary mixture and rub to coat all over. Put into the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta in plenty of salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Remove the chicken from the bones, keeping it in large chunks if you can and catching any meaty juices.

Mix the tarragon, parsley, lemon and toasted pine nuts together.

Put the roasting tin over a medium heat, add the cream to the tin and stir to scrape all the crusty bits off the tin. When the cream starts to bubble, add the cooked pasta and chicken. Season with black pepper.

Serve the pasta in bowls with the pine nut and herb mixture scattered over the top.

(Original recipe by Nigel Slater in The Guardian, Sunday 1st December 2019)

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Chicken & Ham Lasagne

This is a good crowd pleaser and you can also freeze it so if you are fewer in number make two lasagnes in smaller dishes and save one for later.

Wine Suggestion: Rich and savoury; this goes really well with southern Rhône whites and our favourite, value option is the Chateau Pesquié Terrasses Blanc, a blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette & Grenache Blanc. With floral hints, layers of citrus and a backbone of stonefruit flavours this is round, rich and fresh in equal measures; just what this dish needs.

Chicken & Ham Lasagne – serves 8

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ a medium onion, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200ml white wine
  • 100g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 500ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 140g sliced smoked ham, cut into strips
  • 200g young spinach leaves
  • no pre-cook dried lasagne sheets
  • 200g ready-grated mozzarella
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated

Put the chicken in a medium saucepan with the onion, bay leaves and wine. Pour over just enough water to cover, about 200ml. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a gentle simmer, then poach gently for 15 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked. Lift the chicken out onto a board and strain the liquid into a jug.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for a minute. Gradually add the milk, a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to keep the sauce smooth. When all the milk has been added, continue with the chicken cooking liquid. When all the liquid is added, continue to cook and stir for a few minutes or until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Cut the chicken into small chunks and stir into the sauce. Add the ham and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted. Spoon a third of the mixture into the bottom of a 3-litre lasagne dish. Top with lasagne sheets, then repeat the layers twice more, ending with lasagne. Scatter over the mozzarella and Parmesan and season with black pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the lasagne is soft and the topping well browned.

TO FREEZE: Assemble the dish but don’t bake it. Leave to cool and cover with a double layer of foil, then freeze for up to 2 months.

TO COOK AFTER FREEZING: Remove the foil and cover with cling film. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Remove the cling film, cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 or until browned and bubbling.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Honey glazed chicken wings

We love a good chicken wing and the only way to eat them is with your fingers – like we need an excuse. Cheap as chips too. What’s not to love?

Wine Suggestion: keeping it simple we pulled out a bottle of the Petit Mazuret Viognier from southern France. Not complex, but rich and able to stand up to the flavours of the chicken; a very satisfying accompaniment

Honey-glazed Chicken Wings – serves 6 as a starter

  • 1kg chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 100ml sour cream
  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 100g mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • celery sticks, to serve (optional)

Heat the oven to 200C/200C fan/gas 6.

Put the wings in a large roasting tin. Mix the honey, soy and ½ tbsp sesame seeds in a bowl, then pour over the wings. Mix well with your hands to coat, then roast for 20 minutes or so until browned, sticky and cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, buttermilk, mayonnaise, lemon juice and paprika. Season well, then chill until ready to serve.

When cooked, sprinkle over the rest of the sesame seeds and the chilli. Serve with the dip and some celery sticks if you like.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a great one-pan dish for mid-week. Tasty, economical and good for you too. We’re all into healthy stuff now that we have a kitchen and no longer need to eat out so much. We served with buttery mash (not so healthy) but a salad or extra greens would also be appropriate.

Wine Suggestion: Given it’s mid-week, we’d suggest the Domaine Ventenac Cuvée Carole which is mostly Chardonnay, but has a touch of Gros Manseng to brilliant effect. Fresh and easy, and yet textured, savoury as well as full of joyful fruit.

Chicken with Mushrooms – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • flour, for dusting
  • 50g pancetta cubes
  • 300g small button mushrooms
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 50g frozen peas
  • small handful of parsley, finely chopped

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan. Season and dust the chicken with flour, then brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Fry the pancetta and mushrooms in the same pan until softened, then remove.

Add another tbsp of olive oil and cook the shallots for a few minutes until soft. Add the stock and vinegar then bubble for a couple of minutes before returning the chicken, pancetta and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the peas and parsley and cook for 2 minutes more before serving with mash, salad or veg.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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We’re back from our holidays and sadly no longer living on a diet of bread, cheese & wine (bread, cheese & ice cream for Orlaith – age 5). This is a nice simple pasta dish for a Friday night.

Wine Suggestion: our choice is a fresh Chenin blanc, the Chateau Hureau Argile which has a crisp freshness as well as great depth matching the creamy chicken.

Chicken, Rocket & Pine Nut Pasta – serves 4 to 6

  • 450g penne pasta
  • 6 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 large chicken breast fillets, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 100g rocket or watercress, remove any tough stalks
  • Parmesan shavings, to serve

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salty water until al dente.

Heat a frying pan and lightly toast the pine nuts, then set aside.

Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and sauté the onion, garlic & thyme for a few minutes, then tip into a bowl and set aside.

Add another tbsp of oil to the pan and cook the chicken strips for 2-3 minutes and season lightly, then turn and cook for another few minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Return the onion mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the crème fraíche and mustard, then bring to a gentle simmer but don’t let it boil.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan, then pour in the creamy chicken and add the rocket or watercress. Toss lightly to combine and season.

Divide between warm bowls and garnish with the toasted pine nuts and some Parmesan shavings.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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Devilled BBQ Chicken

Spatchcocking chicken is a great way to cook chicken on the barbecue. This works best over indirect heat – using a charcoal barbecue you need to push the hot coals to the sides rather than directly underneath the chicken. It’s all too easy to undercook chicken on a barbecue so we recommend using a meat thermometer if you have one – the chicken should get to at least 57-60C in the centre of the breasts.  Serve with salad and chips or jacket potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest a juicy, lighter bodied red for this dish and a youthful Beaujolais cru came to hand, the Rochette Morgon Cote du Py which had both depth and joyfully youthful freshness; a good balance to the peppery warmth and BBQ charring.

Devilled Grilled Chicken – serves 4

  • 1 x 1.5kg free-range chicken
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp crushed dried chillies
  • 175ml olive oil
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Ask your butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you or alternatively put it onto a chopping board, bread-side down, and cut along either side of the backbone with kitchen scissors. Open the chicken, turn it over and press down hard on the breastbone so it lies flat.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Add the chilli flakes and crush a little more.

For the marinade, mix the olive oil with the lemon juice, garlic and ½ tsp of salt. Put the chicken into a shallow dish or tray and pour over half the marinade. Turn the chicken over a couple of times to coat it and finish with the skin-side up. Sprinkle with three-quarters fo the pepper and chilli mixture, then cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Light your barbecue about 40 minutes before you want to start cooking and rearrange the coals for indirect cooking (see introduction).

Mix the remaining pepper and chilli mixture into the reserved marinade and use this to baste the chicken as it cooks.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and season on both sides with sea salt. Discard the marinade left in the dish.

Put the chicken carcass-side down onto the barbecue and cook for 15-20 minutes, basting with a little of the leftover marinade occasionally. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 15-20 minutes and continue to baste. Keep working like this until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy (ideally use a meat thermometer and test the breast until it reaches 57-60C). It will. probably take 15 minutes per 450g plus 20 minutes, but this is really dependant on the BBQ on the day

Heat through the remaining basting mixture and pour off the excess oil.

Carve the chicken into pieces and serve with the basting mixture and lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

 

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Roast Chicken with Morels

We’ve never managed to find fresh morels but they’re such a reminder of Spring that we like to cook with the dried ones at this time of year. The sauce with this simple roast chicken is delicious. Some steamed asparagus is good on the side.

Wine Suggestion: with the classic French flavours of morels, brandy and crème fraîche we had to go with a classic white Burgundy. Tonight a favourite, Patrick Javillier’s Bourgogne Cuvée des Forgets … our mini Meursault.

Roast chicken with morels – serves 4

  • 20g dried porcini
  • a whole chicken, about 1.5kg (if you have a different sized chicken cook for 15 minutes per 450g plus an extra 20 minutes)
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 small shallots, finely diced
  • a handful of dried morels, soaked (or fresh if you can get them)
  • a splash of brandy
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves stripped and roughly chopped
  • a small bunch of tarragon, leaves stripped and roughly chopped

Soak half the porcini in a small bowl of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Put the butter into a small bowl. Drain the porcini, pat dry, then roughly chop and mix with the butter and some seasoning. Put the porcini butter inside the chicken and lift into a roasting tin. Pour 100ml of water inside the chicken too. Rub the chicken all over with vegetable oil and season. Roast in the hot oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Grind the rest of the dried porcini to a powder.

Check the chicken is cooked and cook for longer if needed. Lift the chicken out of the roasting tin carefully and try not to let the butter inside escape. Keep warm.

Remove half the fat from the roasting tin. Put the tin over a low heat and gently cook the shallots. Add the dried porcini powder and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the brandy and flambé carefully. When the flames die down, add the soaked morels, then add the juices, butter and porcini from the chicken and bring to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes, then add the crème fraîche and mix well. Stir in the herbs and serve the chicken with the sauce.

(Original recipe by John Torode in Olive Magazine, April 2011.)

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