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Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’

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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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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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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Paella Mixta

This is not an authentic paella recipe but we guarantee it will remind you of days in the sun. It’s made in the oven from start to finish and all you have to do is add the ingredients in the correct order.

Wine Suggestion: Spanish influenced wine it has to be. If it’s baking hot try a dry, Garnacha Rosé, though for us tonight it had to be red as it was cool and wet. The choice was a little left-field as it was from Teruel, an old, abandoned wine region (caused by the de-population of country areas during their civil war) being rehabilitated by a couple of young winemakers making their own way. The Bodegas Jesus Romero Quercus is garnacha, tempranillo, syrah and a little cabernet franc planted in poor, stony soils with excellent drainage and elevation near Valencia. We are really impressed each time we taste this, and a good match for the dish too!

Paella Mixta – serves 4

  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 pinches of saffron
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g paella rice
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and cut in half
  • 200g chorizo, sliced
  • 85g frozen peas
  • 150g raw king prawns
  • 250g mussels, cleaned and throw away those that won’t close when tapped
  • lemon wedges, to serve
  • a small handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Put the onion and garlic into the base of a large, shallow, ovenproof pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, then toss to coat. Put into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the onion has started to brown. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overdo.

Meanwhile, put the tin of tomatoes, the chicken stock, the smoked paprika and saffron into a saucepan and heat until piping hot.

Remove the onions from the oven and stir in the rice, chicken, chorizo and hot stock mixture. Season and return to the oven for 20 minutes (uncovered).

Gently stir through the peas and arrange the mussels and prawns on the top. The mussel hinges should be facing downwards. Arrange the lemon wedges around the edge and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the mussels have opened and everything else is cooked. Throw away any mussels that haven’t opened. Scatter over the parsley and serve. Finger bowls and napkins essential!

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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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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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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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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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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Chicken Sours

We’re forever looking for things to do with chicken drumsticks. This spicy and zesty recipe from Claire Thompson’s New Kitchen Basics doesn’t disappoint. Serve with some rice if you like.

Wine Suggestion: a zesty, dry Riesling is our choice. Something like the Pikes Riesling from the Clare Valley, or alternately the Dönnhoff QbA Dry Riesling (or even better one of their Grosses Gewächs (great growth) dry wines) from the Nahe in Germany.

Chicken sours – serves 4

  • 1kg chicken drumsticks and/or chicken wings
  • 2 small unwaxed oranges
  • 1-2 jalapeños or other green chillies, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • juice of 1 lime

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

Season the chicken with 1 tsp of salt and lots of coarsely ground pepper. Place on baking tray.

Grate the zest and squeeze the juice from 1½ of the oranges; finely slice the remaining half.

Combine the chilli, garlic, honey, oil, lime & orange zest and juice in a bowl, then brush over the chicken pieces.

Arrange the orange slices on the tray with the chicken and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through and glazed. Baste occasionally with the pan juices as it cooks.

(Original recipe from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thompson, Quadrille, 2019.)

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Fesenjoon

We love this Persian dish, so rich and full of unusual but intriguing flavours. We’ve tried to make it before with limited success but this version by Yasmin Khan was much more like the dish we remembered. Serve with steamed basmati rice and salad.

Chicken with Walnuts & Pomegranates – Fesenjoon – serves 4

  • 250g walnuts (fresh is best)
  • 1.2 litres of cold water
  • 100ml pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 800g skinless chicken thighs, on the bone
  • a handful of pomegranate seeds to garnish

Grind the walnuts in a food processor until extremely fine – they will eventually turn into a smooth paste. Transfer the ground nuts into a large casserole pot with a litre of water and mix well. Bring to the boil and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, partially covered. Stir occasionally to make sure the walnuts don’t stick.

Stir in the remaining 200ml of water and simmer for another hour with the lid on. Add more cold water if the sauce starts to look dry – in the end it should have a thick, porridge-like consistency.

By the end of the time the sauce should have thickened and darkened in colour. Add the pomegranate molasses, tomato purée, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper and stir well. Add the chicken, put the lid back on the pot and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is dark and glossy.

Taste the sauce and season, you might like to add more sugar or pomegranate molasses to adjust the sweet/sour balance. Cook for a final 10 minutes with the lid off so the sauce thickens around the meat. Serve over rice and sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

 

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Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin

Coq au vin was on every restaurant menu when we were kids. Not so much now, but still a much-loved French classic.  You can also still find it on many set menus in France – La Formule – and rightly so.

Wine Suggestion: As this is a classic French dish we would suggest going French with the wine too. For something decadent, a good red Burgundy, our choice would be Gevrey-Chambertin; for the thoughtful choice a really good Beaujolais, like Domaine Rochette’s Morgon Côte du Py; or something a little rustic and country: Côtes du Rhône. This last was our choice tonight with the excellent Coste-Chaude Madrigal CdR Villages Visan.

Coq au Vin – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pancetta cubes
  • 150g small button mushrooms
  • 12 small pickling onions or small shallots
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 8 chicken pieces (a mixture of thighs & drumsticks), bone-in but skin removed
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • 300ml red wine
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1 bouquet garni

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil over a medium heat in a large, deep, frying pan. Fry the pancetta, mushrooms and onions for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in the same pan. Season 1 tbsp of the flour and put onto a plate. Dust the chicken pieces with the flour and shake of any excess. Fry the chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Add the brandy, take off the heat, and light with a match to cook off the alcohol.

Remove the chicken from the pan and add to the vegetables and pancetta. Add the remaining 3tbsp of flour to the pan and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine, stock, redcurrant jelly and bouquet garni. If it seems too thick you can add a little more water.

Return the chicken, pancetta and veg to the pan, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook for 40-45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with potatoes and seasonal veg.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

 

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Chicken with tomatoes, mozzarella & basilWe love easy ideas like this for adding extra interest to some chicken fillets mid-week. Serve with warm crusty bread and green salad.

Wine Suggestion: your choice of youthful, lighter Italian red; our choice tonight was the refined and under-rated Poggio ai Ginepri Bolgheri Rosso, but almost chose a Chianti. Both would be good.

Chicken breasts with tomatoes, mozzarella & basil – serves 4

  • 4 chicken skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 10 basil leaves, plus a few extra to garnish
  • 3 x 125 mozzarella balls, drained and sliced (don’t use buffalo mozzarella for this)

Slash each of the the chicken breasts four times with a sharp knife, cutting to the middle.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the garlic and chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until golden all over.

Tip in the cherry tomatoes with the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 12 minutes, turning the chicken breasts over halfway through.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Take the pan off the heat and put the mozzarella slices on top of the chicken breasts. Grind over some black pepper and put the pan under the grill for a minute or until the cheese starts to melt.

Pour some sauce onto each plate, top with a piece of chicken and garnish with the extra basil.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

 

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Lemon & Pistachio Chicken

Diana Henry is one of our favourite food writers and we can’t recommend her book of chicken recipes, A Bird in the Hand, highly enough. This lemon & pistachio chicken from that book is nothing short of delicious. She cooks this every year, and we think we may too.

Wine Suggestion: There’s a richness to this dish that demands an equal wine like Zind Humbrecht’s Pinot Gris Calcaire from Alsace that had an excellent balance of depth, fruit, freshness and texture.

Lemon & Pistachio Chicken – serves 6

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 120g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 40g white breadcrumbs, plus extra if needed
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • good pinch of caster sugar
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 6 large skin-on boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 300ml chicken stock

Put the shallots, garlic & half the thyme into a pan with 50g of the butter and a pinch of salt. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, then tip into a large bowl.

Chop the pistachio nuts or blend in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the breadcrumbs and nuts to the shallot mixture. Add the lemon zest and juice, oil, sugar and parsley. Season well and stir to make a stiff, coarse paste. If the mixture is too dry add a little more oil and it too wet a few extra breadcrumbs.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Put the point of a sharp knife into the thicker end of each chicken breast and cut a cavity that runs along the length. Season the chicken inside the pocket, then use a teaspoon to fill the hole with the stuffing. Squeeze the sides together to close the incision as much as possible. Season the chicken on the outside, drizzle with a little olive oil and put into a roasting tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked remove the chicken from the tin and skim off the fat from the juices. Put the roasting tin over a medium heat and splash in the white balsamic vinegar and stock. Bring to a rolling boil and reduced until slightly thickened. Add the rest of the butter and thyme and serve poured over the chicken.

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

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Crispy southern-baked chicken

A take on southern-fried chicken but without the grease. These spicy drumsticks really taste good and would be perfect to serve a crowd of kids or adults. Serve with chips and salad (and maybe some cold beers).

Crispy southern-baked chicken – serves 4

  • 50g flour
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 100g panko breadcrumbs or day-old breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp celery salt (we used ordinary salt)
  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Put the flour, 1 tsp of the the paprika and salt and pepper in a large freezer bag. Put the egg in a shallow bowl. Put the breadcrumbs, the other tsp of paprika, the cayenne pepper, celery salt and plenty of black pepper into a separate bowl and mix well.

Put the chicken in the freezer bag and toss to coat in the flour. Tip out into a sieve and shake to remove any excess.

Dip each drumstick in the egg, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to help the breadcrumbs stick.

Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy tray in the the oven for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken to the tray spacing well apart. Cook in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning once the underside is golden brown and crusty. Drain on kitchen paper before serving with chips and salad.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

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Kung Pao Chicken

The last time we had this famous Szechwan dish we’d just arrived on a stop-over in Abu Dhabi on our way to visit family in Melbourne. We arrived late and ordered room service and this truly hit the spot. A great combination of velvety chicken, roasted peanuts and a bit of spice. This recipe is from Yan-Kit’s fabulous Classic Chinese Cookbook. Serve with rice.

Wine Suggestion: our choice in Abu Dhabi was a Kirin beer, which was perfect that night. Similarly, choosing a wine this time we looked for a savoury dry texture and chose an Emilio Hidalgo La Panesa Fino Sherry which is kept under flor for 15 years and is outstanding; smooth and velvety even though completely dry and with a salty, nutty texture. A good match, but you needn’t find this exact example as any good Manzanilla or Fino works.

Kung Pao Chicken – serves 3

  • 350g chicken breasts, cut into thin strips and then cubes about 1cm square
  • 4 tbsp groundnut oil or corn oil
  • 2-3 long dried red chillies or 4-5 smaller dried chillies, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 4 to 6 thin slices ginger
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or medium dry sherry
  • 3 scallions, cut into small rounds
  • 50g roasted peanuts

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • third of tsp salt
  • 2 tsp thin soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaohsing wine or medium dry sherry
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp egg white, lightly beaten

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 tsp rice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp cornflour
  • 6 tbsp clear stock or water

Put the diced chicken into a bowl.

To prepare the marinade; add the salt, soy sauce, wine/sherry, cornflour and egg to the chicken. Mix well and leave to marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Prepare the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornflour and water together.

Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking, then add the oil and swirl it around the pan.

Add the dried chilli, stir, then add the garlic and ginger and stir until aromatic. Add the chicken. Turn and toss for about 1 minute.

Splash in the wine or sherry, stirring and tossing continuously.

Add the scallions and cook for another 30-45 seconds by which time the chicken should be cooked.

Add the well-stirred sauce to the wok and keep stirring while it thickens.

Finally stir in the peanuts, then remove to a warm serving plate. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

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