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Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’

This chicken dish is from OTK Shelf Love and is absolutely delicous; your kitchen will smell amazing. We had to try a few shops before we found the berbere spice, but it’s easily found online and worth the hunt. Out of interest this spice is integral to Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking and has a fiery, warm character that we now love. We served with roast Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts but any greens would be good.

Berbere spiced chicken, carrots & chickpeas – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 45g fresh coriander, separate the stocks and leaves and roughtly chop both
  • 2½ tbsp berbere spice
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2½ tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g carrots, peeled and cut into 4-5cm lengths
  • 2 tins of chickpeas, drained
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2-3 oranges, leave one whole and juice the rest to get 100ml

Heat the oven to 200C fan.

Put the onion, garlic, coriander stalks, berbere spice, tomato purée, honey, 1 tbsp of vinegar, 4 tbsp of oil, 1¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Put the mixture into a large roasting tin with the carrots, chickpeas, chicken thighs, orange juice and 150ml of water, then toss to combine.

Arrange the thighs so they are on the surface and skin-side up, then cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another 40 minutes, turning the dish around half way through. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, peel and segement the whole orange and roughly chop the flesh. Put the orange into a bowl with the coriander leaves, 2 tbsp of vinegar and 2 tbsp of oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix together.

When ready to serve, spoon the dressing over the baking dish and serve.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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This is a mildly spiced curry and quick to prepare. We had it on Friday with some naan breads from the take-away, but it’s easy enough for a weeknight too. An easy, tasty treat.

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs a lighter red wine with lower tannins and little to no oak. We enjoyed Domaine de Boede’s Pavillon rouge with this. An easy, Cinsault-Syrah blend which has such purity and precision of fruit that we love; a good accompaniment for the food.

Chicken & spinach curry – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 750g chicken thigh fillets, cubed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 90g baby spinach, chopped
  • a large handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based pan, then gently cook the onions for about 5 minutes or until softened.

Stir in the spices, garlic and ginger, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring.

Turn the heat up to medium-high, then add the chicken and cook for about 5 minute until browned all over.

Add the tomatoes and salt, bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

Stir in the sugar and lime juice, then add the spinach and stir until wilted. Take the pan off the heat, scatter the coriander over the top and serve.

(Original recipe from Every Day by Bill Granger, Murdoch Books, 2006.)

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We made this a few weeks ago for a small group of friends (before omicron took hold) and it was devoured with gusto. Despite the list of ingredients it’s all quite straight forward and a recipe to keep up your sleeve for any occasion … for friends, or just for yourself.

Wine Suggestion: the wine opened at the time was determined by the event, the Altosur Malbec made by Finca Sophenia in Tuppangato, Mendoza and what a triumph it was. Body and depth with seemless and juicy tannins; it just made it taste the dish a bit richer and more sophisticated.

Chicken kari – serves 4 to 6

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 cassia bark stick (not a cinnamon stick)
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped
  • thumb-size piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 4 big cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 small green chillies or 1-2 long red chillies, split but leave the stalks intact
  • 8 large chicken thighs, skin removed but bone-in
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 large tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Steamed rice, to serve

Warm the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the mustard, fenugreek, cumin and coriander seeds, the cassia bark and cardamom pods and fry until the mustard seeds start to pop. Keep giving the pan a shake.

Stir in the onion and cook for a few minutes until it starts to brown and caramelise.

Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and stir-fry for a minute, then add the chicken thighs, turmeric and lots of salt and pepper and stir well. Add the fresh and tinned tomatoes, then add enough cold water to cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2 hours, stirring now and then. Top up with more water if needed.

Remove the cassia bark and cardamom pods, then season again to test if needed and serve.

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

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This all cooks in one pot and the sauce is lovely. We’ve been informed by our daughter, Orlaith, that we can definitely do this dish again as it is almost as nice as noodles. The recipe is by Diana Henry, the queen of chicken recipes.

Wine Suggestion: Earthy reds are what are called for here and tonight it was the turn of Herdade do Peso “Trinca Bolotas” kindly shared by our friends T&M who joined us for dinner. An Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional & Aragonez blend from the Alentejo, Portugal; rich, earthy and complex.

Chicken with chorizo and peppers – serves 4

  • 8 chicken thighs (we used a mix of thighs and drumsticks)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 225g chorizo, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 200ml rioja
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, plus the leaves of an extra sprig, to garnish

Trim the skin on the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Heat the oil in a large shallow casserole over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook for a few minutes, then scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 10 minutes, until softening. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, then tip everything into the dish with the chorizo.

Brown the chicken in the chorizo oil until browned on all sides. This is easier in batches. Set the chicken aside, then tip off all but 1 tbsp of oil from the pan.

Add the rioja and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then add the stock, bay and thyme, Add the chorizo and veg and bring to a simmer. Nestle the chicken into the sauce with the skin-side up. Transfer to the oven, uncovered, and cook for 35-40 minutes. Add some water if the sauce reduces too quickly.

When the chicken is cooked through, season, and sprinkle with the thyme leaves.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We don’t often cook classic French dishes at home, preferring to sit in a bistro in blissful ignorance (or denial) of the copious amounts of butter we’re consuming … there’s a reason why those dishes are so tasty. However we’ve been revisiting “Roast Chicken and Other Stories” by Simon Hopkinson and decided to give this simple dish a go. Yes, lots of butter, but so very worth it for the tender chicken and delicious sauce. Serve with potatoes and some green beans.

Wine Suggestion: This particular dish works really well with red Burgundy or Beaujolais.

Poulet sauté au vinaigre – serves 4

  • 8 chicken pieces (we used thighs but you could also joint a whole chicken)
  • 100g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (cut a little cross in the bottom of each and cover with boiling water, leave for 1 minute, then drain and the skins will peel off easily)
  • 250ml top-quality red wine vinegar
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 2 heaped tbsp chopped parsley

Season the chicken pieces well with salt and black pepper.

Heat 4 tbsp of the butter and the olive oil in a shallow casserole or deep frying pan until just turning brown.

Add the chicken pieces and fry gently, turning, until golden brown all over.

Add the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking until the tomato has lost its moisture and turned dark red and sticky. This will take a while so don’t be tempted to rush it.

Add the vinegar and simmer until almost evaporated, then add the stock and simmer again to reduce by half.

Remove the chicken pieces to a warm serving dish and keep warm. Whisk the rest of the butter into the sauce to make it nice and glossy. Add half the parsley, then pour over the chicken and sprinkle with the rest of the parsley.

(Original recipe from Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson, Ebury Press, 1994.)

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We’re trying to get the most out of our barbecue while the evenings are still bright. This is based on Greek gyro chicken kebabs and it tastes great with some salad and flatbreads. We added some tzatziki too but plain yoghurt would also be good. You need to get started with the marinade the day before.

We cooked these on a charcoal barbecue with a lid, using the indirect heat method which we’ve explained below. If that’s not your thing you can cook in a hot oven (200C/180C fan/gas 6) on a wire rack over a roasting tin for 45-55 minutes.

Wine Suggestion: We recommend a white with a bit of phenolic texture and body or a mid-weight red with a fresh crispness. Thymiopoulos’ Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes is a current favourite that falls into the latter camp. From north-eastern Greece we think this grape needs to be better known.

Greek Chicken Kebabs – serves 6

  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • flat breads, salad and yoghurt or tzatziki to serve.

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and season. Add the chicken thighs and mix together well, then cover and chill overnight.

Light a lidded barbecue and let the flames die down. When the coals have turned ashen, mound them up on side.

Thread the chicken thighs onto 2 metal skewers – both skewers need to go through every piece of meat. Push the thighs down well to make sure the meat is well compacted.

Put the chicen kebab onto the side of the barbecue without any coals underneath. Cover with the lid and cook for 45-55 minutes, turning regularly, or until cooked through. You can pull apart a few chicken pieces in the centre to check or much easier is to check with a meat probe – a barbecue essential in our opinion.

Remove the chicken from the barbecue, cover with foil and leave to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Slice strips of chicken from the kebab and stuff into pittas or flatbreads, that have been warmed on the barbecue, with some salad and yoghurt or tzatziki.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is pretty much a meal in a brioche bun, don’t skip anything as it all comes together perfectly.

Wine Suggestion: Given the weather and the dish we cracked open a Domaine of the Bee, Bee Pink Rosé from Roussillon. A blend of Grenache and Syrah this had the obligatory red fruit flavours we expected but the thing that made it work so well with the food was the wonderful texture and hints of thyme. An accidental but fortuitous match.

Barbecued Chicken with Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado – serves 4

  • 8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

FOR THE MAYONNAISE:

  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes of hot sauce
  • 2 tsp mild American mustard
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

TO SERVE:

  • 4 large brioche buns
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 little gem lettuces, leaves separated

Bash the chicken thighs between sheets of baking paper or cling film until about 1cm thick.

Put the chicken into a shallow dish with the garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss the chicken until coated in the herbs and oil.

Mix all of the mayonnaise ingredients together and sesason to taste.

Cook the chicken on a hot barbecue for a few minutes on each side. Add the bacon to the barbecue and cook until crispy, it will only take a couple of minutes. Once cooked, leave the chicken and bacon aside to rest.

Add the brioche buns to the barbecue and char briefly.

Peel and slice the avocados (don’t do this in advance or they will discolour).

Spread some mayo on the bottom half of each brioche bun and top with 2 chicken thighs. Add layers of tomato, bacon, avocado and lettuce, then spread the top half of the buns with the rest of the mayonnaise, sandwich together and serve.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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This isn’t a whole lot different from the chicken soup you get in a tin, though definitely not as salty. It also makes heaps and you can freeze it. 

Creamy chicken soup – serves 8

  • 1kg chicken thighs with skin removed but bones in
  • 300ml dry white wine
  • 2 large onions, cut into large wedges
  • 4 celery sticks, quartered into short lengths
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, plus some extra to sprinkle over at the end if you like
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper (or black if you prefer)
  • 40g plain flour
  • 300ml double cream

Put the chicken thighs into a very large, heavy-based pan and fry until coloured on all sides. If you keep the heat low they should cook in their own fat but we find it easier to add a little bit of oil to get them started.

Add the wine, then turn up the heat and boil rapidly to evaporate the alcohol. When it has bubbled for a few minutes, add the veg, herbs, 1 tsp salt and the white pepper. Pour in 2 litres of boiling water, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken and veg are tender. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and discard them, then leave to cool for about 30 minutes. 

Take the chicken out of the soup with a slotted spoon, then strip the meat from the bones. Reserve 140g of the chicken but add the rest back into the soup pot. Blitz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until very smooth, then return to the pan. 

Blend the flour and cream together with a couple of ladles of the soup, then stir this mixture into the rest of the soup and heat, stirring all the time, until thickened and hot. You shouldn’t get any lumps if you keep stirring but if you do just give it another blitz. Chop the reserved chicken and stir into the soup. Check the seasoning, you might need more salt, then serve with some thyme leaves over the top if you like. 

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is the ultimate weekday dinner as it cooks in one roasting tray, and with excellent results. We made it as we had left-over chorizo and potatoes from the previous weekend and some chipotle paste in the fridge.

Wine Suggestion: The robust flavours of smoky chipotle and the chorizo beg for a Spanish red like the Cantos de Valpiedra from Rioja. Smooth and elegant, but with a deep aromatic core of dark fruits and layered spices, and a long, refined finish.

Chipotle chicken with leeks & chorizo – serves 2 (easily doubled)

  • 4 skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste
  • 1 large leek, cut into thick slices
  • 250g baby new potatoes
  • olive oil
  • 100g diced chorizo

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

Put the chicken thighs into a large baking tray, then brush with the chipotle paste and season with some salt and pepper.

Spread the leeks and potatoes between the chicken. Drizzle the veg with a little bit of oil and toss but don’t be tempted to add too much as there will be plenty of fat released from the chicken and chorizo as they cook.

Roast for 30 minutes, tossing the veg halfway through.

Add the chorizo, then season the veg and roast for another 20 minutes until the potatoes are browned and the chicken cooked through.

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These curried noodles have a sourness that we particularly like and the whole dish is power-charged with flavour.

Leave the chicken thighs whole, or cut them in half if they’re big, they’ll stay nice and tender. The curry paste also makes much more that you need but will keep in the fridge for a month, or longer in the freezer. You can of course just buy a paste either.

Wine Suggestion: Despite all the powerful flavours in this dish there is a wine match that works superbly – Dry Tokaji, particularly if the wine is a blend of Furmint and Hárslevelu. Ch. Dereszla Tokaij Dry was at hand, and despite the title is actually off-dry. The Furmint being crisp and creamy with hints of mango and the Hárslevelu, which translates as lime-leaf, bringing a complimentary aromatic lime and peach character. These grapes on their own also work really well with the food so don’t worry if you find a wine with just one of these varietals.

Chiang Mai curried noodles – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 75g red curry paste (you can use a bought one, or make the recipe below)
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 50ml tamarind purée (we make this up using a block of tamarind – put 30g in a small bowl then pour over a little boiling water. Mash with a fork then push through a sieve. You will be left with the seeds which you can discard)
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 700g boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut them in half if they’re huge but otherwise leave whole)
  • 300g egg noodles
  • coriander leaves, shredded scallions and chopped red chillies to garnish

FOR THE PASTE:

  • 2 Mexican dried chillies e.g. ancho/pasilla/gaujilo
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, inner part only, finely chopped
  • 75g small shallots
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 20g ginger, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Thai red chillies, seeded
  • 1 tbsp coriander root or stems
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

TO MAKE THE PASTE:

Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chillies, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 15 minutes until very soft, then drain.

Put the soaked chillies into the small bowl of a food processor with all the remaining ingredients and 90ml water. Blend for a few minutes until very fine – you can add a little more water if needed. Scrape into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge for up to a month or freeze.

TO MAKE THE CURRY:

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the curry paste and fry for 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, tamarind and sugar. When the sugar has melted, add the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, soy and lime juice. Bring to a gentle simmer and add the chicken pieces. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Meanwhile, boil the noodles for about 4 minutes or until al dente. Drain the noodles and divide between deep bowls. Ladle the curry over the noodles and top with the coriander, scallions and some chopped red chilli.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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We served this with sticky rice and some quick cucumber kimchi but it would also work perfectly as a starter.  If you want to serve to start a meal, just slice the chicken thighs when they’re cooked and serve in lettuce leaves with some kimchi.

Wine Suggestion: this goes great with lighter red wines with high acidity but lower tannins. A youthful Chianti with lower extraction, like the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo which was our choice tonight. Made for youthful consumption as opposed to some of their more serious Chianti Classico’s this was a delight.

Korean Spice-Rubbed Chicken for the BBQ – serves 4

  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets (if they are tiny just get some extra)
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp gochugaru (Korean chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Make the marinade by whisking the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Add the chicken to the marinade and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Combine the brown sugar, gochugaru, salt, pepper and sesame seeds in a bowl. Drain the chicken well and pat dry with paper towels, then rub the dry spice mix evenly over the chicken.

Heat a barbecue and cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. If you don’t want to barbecue you can heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and cook them on the hob.

Rest in a warm place for 5 minutes before serving.

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

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The flavours in this little Middle Eastern pie are stunning. You can make the filling up to a couple of days ahead and keep it in the fridge, the problem with this is trying to resist eating it. If your filo pastry is frozen you should defrost it in the fridge overnight, defrosting in haste causes the sheets to stick together. You can also re-freeze any sheets that you don’t use. Sarit and Itamar suggest serving with a rocket and orange salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. We had a green salad which worked fine too.

Wine Suggestion: we chose the Manciat-Poncet Pouilly Vinzelles which is a classic Chardonnay with good weight and a delightful balance of perfectly ripe fruit, vibrant freshness and judiciously handled oak. Aromatically broad and rich to counter the rich chicken flavours and natural minerality giving it all lift and vitality.

Chicken pastilla – serves 4-6

  • 6 chicken thighs (about 800g)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 100g pitted dates
  • 3 onions (about 300g), sliced thinly
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 dried chilli
  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 240ml water
  • 1 packet of filo pastry (250g-270g)
  • 60g melted butter

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

Put a large frying pan over a medium heat. Put the chicken thighs into the pan, skin-side down, then season with 1 tsp of the salt and the pepper. After about 10-15 minutes the skin should be crisp and nicely coloured. Turn the thighs over and cook on the other side for about 5 minutes, then transfer to an oven-proof pan that can fit them all in one layer. Add the dates.

Add the sliced onions to the fat in the frying pan and add another tsp of salt. Cook until soft and starting to turn golden, then add the cinnamon stick, dried chilli and ras el hanout. Mix well together and cook for 30 seconds, then add the water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, pour over the chicken thighs, then cover the pan and put in the centre of the oven for 1 hour.

Check that the chicken is cooked, it should just fall off the bone. If not, return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Set the chicken aside until cool enough to handle.

Pour the contents of the pan into a sieve over a bowl, keep the cooking liquid. Pull the chicken from the bones and discard the skin, bones and any gristly bits. Remove the chilli and cinnamon stick. Mix the chicken with the cooked dates and onions, then add just enough of the liquid to bind it all together. You can prepare this part up to 2 days in advance and keep in the fridge until needed. Keep the extra liquid too and serve as a sauce on the side.

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

Open the filo pastry packet and lay it out on a surface.

Carefully peel off the first sheet and brush with the melted butter, then fold into four and set aside (this will form the base of the pastilla).

Peel of the next sheet and butter it, then cover with another sheet and set aside. Repeat with two more sheets, so you have two sheets of double thickness.

Place one doubled sheet lengthways on the table, put the folded square in the centre of it, then lay the other doubled sheet on top at 90° to the first sheet, so you have a cross shape that is thickest in the middle.

Carefully lift the pastry and place in a 22-24cm ovenproof frying pan letting the sides hang over the edge. Fill with the chicken mixture and fold the corners over to cover it. It looks nice if its a bit crumpled so no need to be to neat about it. Brush the top of the pie with the rest of the melted butter and put into the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the pan around so it all crisps evenly, then cook for another 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden.

Meanwhile, heat the cooking liquid in a small pan.

Serve immediately with a jug of the sauce to pour over and a salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014.)

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This is a Romanian dish called Pilaf cu pui ciuperci. We haven’t knowingly cooked any Romanian dishes until now, but we recently purchased Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu. This is a beautiful book and we’re looking forward to cooking many more dishes. While Irina suggests blitzing the veg in the food processor, we chopped them by hand. Either way you want them nice and fine but not blitzed to a pulp. Serve with salad.

Wine Suggestion: Unfortunately we didn’t have a Romanian wine to hand but we can attest it works well with one of our favourite wines: the Ch du Hureau Saumur-Champigny “Tuffe”. Elegance, style and grace, but also very grounded and earthy and what we love about Cabernet Franc from the Loire.

Oven-baked pearl barley pilaf with chicken and mushrooms – serves 4-6

  • 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1.5kg chicken pieces, we used thighs and drumsticks but you can joint a whole chicken
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 300g pearl barley
  • ¼ celeriac, finely diced
  • 2-3 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5g black pepper
  • 25g butter, roughly chopped
  • a bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

We found it easier to fry the chicken in a large, heavy frying pan and then to transfer to a large roasting tin. Irina suggests frying and baking in a large deep casserole dish, but we didn’t have one big enough. A roasting tin covered with two layers of foil worked well.

Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan or casserole dish, over a medium heat. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides – it’s easiest to do this in batches. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, then add the pearl barley and stir to coat the grains in the oil, cook for another few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Add the chopped vegetables to the pan with the tomatoes, mushrooms, stock and seasoning and gently combine. You might need to transfer to a large roasting tin at this point. You need to be generous with the salt. Arrange the chicken pieces on top and cover the dish with a layer of foil and a lid or if using a roasting tin you can cover with a double layer of foil.

Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the lid and foil and cook for another 10 minutes. Check the vegetables are tender and that the chicken is cooked through, then remove from the oven. Dot the top of the dish with the butter and sprinkle with parsley.

(Original recipe from Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu, Frances Lincoln Publishing, 2020.)

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This handy Italian chicken dish is great for a Friday night and kids love it! Serve with a green salad, lemon wedges and mayonnaise. If you have eggs leftover you can pop them in the fridge to scramble the next morning.

Wine Suggestion: keep it simple with an easy, dry white of your choice: Chardonnay, Verdicchio, Chenin … or tonights choice the Flying Solo Grenache Blanc – Viognier blend from Domaine Gayda. Easy, friendly citrus and apple flavours with hints of heather and a slight nuttiness, finishing clean and dry.

Chicken Cotoletta – serves 4

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced lengthways with your knife parallel to the board to give 4 thin fillets (your butcher will do this for you if you ask)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 handful of Italian 00 flour
  • 3 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • about 300g panko breadcrumbs

Put each piece of chicken between sheets of clingfilm, then beat them gently with a rolling pin until nice and thin. Season and sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Get 3 plates out and put the flour on one, the eggs on the next, and finally the breadcrumbs. Dip the chicken into the flour, shaking off any excess, then gently into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.

Heat a large frying pan with plenty of olive oil and fry the chicken until golden and crispy, a couple of minutes on each side. You can do this in batches if easier.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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This is so simple and definitely better than a take away. While we’re not massive fans of baby corn it provides a crunch and texture that would be missing from the dish if not there. Made for Jono’s birthday on a Monday after a weekend of extensive birthday cooking; great flavours and quick for a work day celebration.

Wine Suggestion: We’d opened a Dermot Sugrue Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan, a profound, complex and rewarding English Sparkling for Jono’s birthday and had a leftover glass with this dish. We discovered Dermot’s wines a few years ago and have loved them ever since and it was a super match, standing up to the Asian flavours exceptionally well. We know this particlar wine may be hard to find but look for a good crisp sparkling that has been left on lees for a while or a good Champagne – sparkling should be so much more than a celebratory glass and they make great food matches.

Thai Chicken Stir-fry with Cashews & Chilli Sauce – serves 4

  • 100g baby corn
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, thickly sliced
  • 2 red peppers, cut into thick pieces
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 50g roasted cashews
  • Thai basil or regular basil and steamed rice, to serve

FOR THE CHILLI SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp Thai chilli paste/jam (nam prik)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce

Make the chilli sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, then set aside.

Blanch the baby corn in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water and drain again.

Heat a large wok until hot and add ½ tbsp vegetable oil. Brown the chicken in batches. If you leave them for 2-3 minutes on one side initially they will get a nice colour, then stir-fry for another minute or until golden on all sides. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat another ½ tbsp oil of oil in the wok over a medium heat, then add the garlic and chilli and stir-fry for a minute. Add the peppers, onions, cashews and baby corn and heat for 1 minute. Pour in the chilli sauce and add the chicken. Stir-fry until heated through and the sauce has thickened.

Serve with steamed rice and basil sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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These are flavour-packed and great to serve with drinks … cannot wait to have someone over for drinks!

Wine Suggestion: despite the spice in this dish we think these go great with a good sparkling, particularly one made using the Champagne method of double fermentation in the bottle. A touch of dosage, creamy mousse and the lift of naturally acidic grapes both lift the flavours and the mood.

Gochujang Chicken Skewers – serves 4 or more as a bite-sized canapé

  • 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • sesame seeds, to serve
  • scallions, finely sliced to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp clear honey, plus a bit extra
  • 1 heaped tsp gochujang paste

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and leave to marinate for no more than 30 minutes. 

Heat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.

Put pieces of chicken onto cocktail sticks or small skewers and put onto an oiled baking tray (keep the marinade). Cook for 10-12 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put the marinade into a small pan over a low-medium heat and reduce for a few minutes, you can add a bit of extra honey if you like.

Take the chicken out of the oven and brush with the reduced marinade, then sprinkle the scallions and sesame seeds over the top. 

(Original recipe by Milli Taylor in Olive Magazine, Christmas 2014)

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We made this a little while ago because we had some spare ricotta in the fridge. It was a really tasty mid-week meal with great flavours; lovely with some greens on the side.

Wine Suggestion: Keep it simple and go for a lightly oaked Chardonnay, Domaine Ventenac’s Cuvée Carole is a old favourite that has a lovely light touch.

Stuffed chicken with lemon, capers & chilli – serves 2

  • 2 large chicken breasts, with skin on
  • 4 tbsp ricotta
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • small handful of parsley
  • greens to serve or potatoes if you like

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

Cut a slit in the side of each chicken breast, then use your fingers to make a pocket.

Mix the ricotta, half the lemon zest, Parmesan, capers, chilli flakes and seasoning in a bowl. Push this mixture into the chicken breasts, then secure with a cocktail stick.

Place the stuffed chicken into an ovenproof dish, drizzle over 1 tbsp of the olive oil and season. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the other tbsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, season well, then simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened.

Spoon the tomato sauce onto plates, top with the chicken and sprinkle over the parsley and the rest of the lemon zest.

(Original recipe by Jennifer Joyce in BBC Good Food Magazine, October 2012.)

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This is a recipe by a Ballymaloe graduate now based in Chicago, Jared Baston. The chicken ends up really tender with super crispy skin. Serve with some plain steamed rice. We tried this because Jono couldn’t resist the black garlic that they’ve started to stock in our local veg shop. It’s staring at us every time we open the fridge so you can expect more black garlic recipes in the coming weeks!

Wine Suggestion: From our friend Amy came a bottle of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau, the Chasselay ‘la Marduette’. A little unusual as it spents 7 days resting in a barrel before bottling unfiltered, unfined and unsulphered and it was pure joy. You get the fresh, bright fruit of just fermented wine and it is what Nouveau is all about. An added benefit it was great with the chicken. We know this is a moment in time, but for every other moment choose a medium bodied, fresh fruited Gamay or Grenache.

Jared’s Black Garlic Chicken – serves 6

  • 1 chicken, cut into 12 pieces, we just used chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 black garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper (pul biber)
  • 3-4 scallions, cut at an angle, to serve
  • steamed rice, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper, then transfer to a large casserole or roasting tray, skin side down – you want it to fit on one layer.

Whisk the sunflower oil, garlic, black garlic, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, honey, hoisin sauce, and Aleppo pepper together, then drizzle over the chicken pieces and toss to coat.

Cook the chicken for 20 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 230C/gas 8 and cook for a further 10 minutes. Baste the chicken with pan juices, turn over so the skin-side is facing up and cook for another 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven heat to 180C/gas 4 and cook until the chicken is cooked through, another 10-20 minutes, basting occasionally.

Remove the chicken pieces to a warm serving dish. Deglaze the pan juices with a little water and reduce until syrupy. Season to taste, then pour over the chicken pieces. Garnish with the scallions and serve with steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Grow Cook Nourish by Darina Allen, Kyle Books, 2017.)

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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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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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