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A Diana Henry recipe inspired by but not quite the same as the Dominican dish. This is perfect for a weeknight despite the long list of ingredients. Most will be in your cupboard and it’s really easy to put together. Lovely bright colours and flavours. This works on it’s own or with some crusty bread or rice.

Wine Suggestion: despite the inclination to go for a richer white, we felt in the mood for a red instead so chose Domaine Gayda’s Cepage Grenache. A brambly, dark red fruited wine with a juicy core and gentle, ripe tannins. We served it slightly cool to great effect and it made a delightful counterpoint to the chipotles (ours were very hot!).

Guisado de Pollo – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 75g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2.5cm chunks
  • 400g waxy potatoes, cut into 1cm chunks – you can peel them if you like, we didn’t bother
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • a small tin of pineapple in natural juice, drained and cut into small chunks
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tinned chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped, or 3 tbsp chipotle paste (reduce if your chipotles are very hot)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 jalapeño chilli, halved lengthways and deseeded
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a small bunch of coriander, chopped, to serve

Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large casserole and fry the chicken in batches until browned on both sides. It doesn’t need to be cooked through at this stage. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the chopped pumpkin and potato to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until starting to colour. Remove and set aside.

Add the onion and pepper to the pan and cook until soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic cand cumin and cook for another 2 minutes.

Stir in the pineapple, tomatoes, sugar, chipotles, thyme, chicken stock. Season and bring slowly to a simmer.

Cut the chicken into thick strips, then add to the casserole along with any juices from the plate. Add the potatoes, pumpkin and the jalapeño. Stir gently then leave to simmer for 25 minutes without a lid. Give it a stir now and again. It’s ready when the vegetables are soft and the sauce thickened.

Add the capers and lime juice and season to taste. Stir in the coriander and serve.

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

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This is a nice soupy-stew sort of thing. Perfect for cold nights but still with nice fresh flavours.

Wine Suggestion: We went a bit left-field for this dish and look for an aged white Rioja where you get the roundness and poise of an oaked chardonnay but with a slightly softer acidity. Graceful in age the Urbina Rioja Bianco Crianza 2014 was both youthful with melon and citrus fruits, and with a layer of aged, tertiary fennel, aniseed and peach. A joy to know this is the current release from an under the radar winery.

Chicken with leeks & orzo – serves 3

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large chicken thighs
  • 250g leeks, cut into short lengths, wash well to get rid of any grit and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • half a lemon, cut into 2 fat wedges
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 200g orzo
  • 150g frozen peas
  • a small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • a small handful of tarragon, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Heat the oil in a large, deep casserole dish. Fry the chicken thighs until well-browned on both sides, then remove and set aside.

Add the leeks to the chicken fat in the pan and cook over a medium-low heat, with the lid on, for 5 minutes, you want them softened but not browned.

Add the stock and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes to the boil, then add half the lemon, peppercorns and 1 tsp of salt. Scatter in the orzo and boil for 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, then cover and bake for 35 minutes.

Add the peas, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Add the tarragon and parsley and serve in warm bowls.

(Original recipe from A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2021)

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It’s courgettes from now on in our house as we have them growing in our little garden and can hardly eat them fast enough. This dish is simple but really delicious – highly recommended. Serve with rice or potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: we’re quite fond of the wines of Hungary and think they’re unfairly overlooked, especially the reds which combine an earthy spice, quite often with a real sophistication and elegance. A new find is Csaba and Csilla Sebestyén’s Sekszárd Cuvée, a blend of Kékfrankos, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The latter two grapes have found a new spiritual home in the south of Hungary and the first a local grape with bags of character.

Chicken and courgettes with creamy mushroom and tarragon sauce – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 small chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium courgettes, cut into thick batons
  • 350g button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 200ml double cream
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 heaped tbsp freshly chopped tarragon

Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan, then fry the chicken in batches until well-browned on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside. You may need to add a bit more oil.

Add the onion and cook over a high heat for a few minutes until nicely coloured, then cover the pan with a lid and leave the onions to cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes or until soft. Turn the heat up again and add the courgettes, mushrooms and garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened. Scoop the veg out of the pan and set aside with the chicken.

Add the wine to the pan and boil over a high heat until reduced to about 4 tbsp. Stir in the cream and simmer again for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pan for a couple of minutes to heat through. Stir through the chopped tarragon and serve.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks Up a Feast with Lucy Young, DK: Penguin Random House, 2019.)

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It hasn’t been the best of summers in Ireland so far but we’re barbecuing at every opportunity nonetheless. This marinated chicken is very tasty. We’ve given instructions for cooking on a charcoal barbecue but it will of course work just as well on a gas barbecue too.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a Mediterranean inspired, fruity, medium bodied red or white to pair with this. For a red something like a youthful Montepulciano would be great, but for tonight we chose the Edetana via Edetaria Grenacha Blanca from Terra Alta in Spain. A spot truly blessed with an amazing terroir for Grenache of both colours, and this version is bursting with flowers and fruit aromas and a core of citrus on the palate. It really complimented the char from the barbecue and the subtle spicing on the marinade.

Chicken kebabs – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • ½ cinnamon steak
  • 4 cloves
  • 35g cashews
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 800g chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 150g Greek yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g butter
  • a small handful of mint leaves, chopped, to serve

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • a small handful of coriander, chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon

Warm a small frying pan over a medium heat, then add the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom, crumbled cinnamon stick and cloves. Toast for a minute until fragrant, then tip them into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.

Tip the cashews into the frying pan and roast for a couple of minutes, then add these to the freshly ground spices along with the turmeric and the nutmeg. Grind again, then transfer to a large bowl.

Add the chicken, yoghurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, chillies and salt to the bowl and mix well. Cover and put in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook get your charcoal barbecue going with charcoal on one side only.

Thread the chicken, not too tightly, onto metal skewers.

Put the skewers onto the barbecue, on the opposite side to the coals so the heat isn’t too high. Cook with the lid on, turning regularly, until the temperature inside reaches 74C or for about 20 minutes.

Put the butter into a small frying pan on the hob to melt. When the chicken is almost cooked, move them over the heat to crisp them up and start brushing all over with the melted butter. Keep an eye on them as they’ll start to flare up a bit.

Toss the salad ingredients together and serve the kebabs with the salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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Tender chicken in tasty sauce, healthy stuff for mid-week. We served with brown rice.

Paprika chicken goulash – serves 4

  • 500g skinless and boneless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 tbsp plain flour, seasoned well
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped into chunks
  • 1½ tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 400g tin cherry tomatoes
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • sour cream, to serve
  • rice, to serve

Toss the chicken with the seasoned flour. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large deep frying pan and cook in batches until browned all over, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot to the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes or until soft and browned at the edges. Add the pepper and cook for another 8 minutes or so or until soft.

Put the chicken back into the pan and add the spices, tomatoes and stock. Cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes until the sauce is thickened and the chicken tender. Stir in the parsley and serve with sour cream and rice.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2018.)

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This is absolutely lovely for lunch and you can make it up a few hours in advance and chill it in the fridge. It’s also easily doubled if your serving a crowd. Like everything it tastes better outside in the sun. Serve with some crusty bread and green salad leaves if you like.

Lemon & herb chicken salad – serves 6

  • 750g cooked skinless chicken, cut into thin strips (we cook our chicken on a barbecue for extra flavour)
  • 150g pitted green olives, halved
  • 290g jar chargrilled red peppers, drained and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into small pieces

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl and seasoning with salt and black pepper.

Add the chicken to the dressing and toss well, then addd the olives, half the peppers, the basil, parsley, and two-thirds of the feta. Season again.

Arrange the chicken on a large platter and top with the rest of the peppers and feta. Chill in the fridge for a bit before serving.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, Penguin Random House, 2019.)

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In our house almost anything will be eaten if it’s mixed with noodles (though not mushrooms sadly … but we’re working on it). Any leftovers of this will make a popular lunchbox too.

Chicken & soba noodle stiry-fry – serves 4

  • 800ml chicken stock
  • 400g chicken breasts
  • 200g dried soba noodles
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • half a red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely shredded
  • 150g green beans, trimmed
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a pot, then add the chicken breasts and cook for 20 minutes. Make sure they are completely submerged in the stock. Remove the chicken breasts, shred with two forks and set aside.

Add the noodles to the chicken stock and cook according to the pack instructions. Remove the noodles from the stock with tongs and set aside, reserve the stock.

Heat the oil in a wok, then stir-fry the ginger, chilli and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the onion, carrot, green beans and mushrooms and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken, the noodles, 50ml of the reserved stock, the soy sauce and the sesame oil. Toss to combine and heat through. You can add a little more stock for moisture if you need.

Divide between warm bowls and scatter the coriander over the top.

(Original recipe by Nadine Brown in Olive Magazine, May 2021.)

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We recently bought Ammu by Asma Khan, a book full of Indian home-cooking recipes interlaced with lovely stories about Asma’s family life. Today was its first outing and we cooked these kebabs on the barbecue because the sun was shining, and our friend Michael keeps gifting us huge jars of pickled onions that he got for a bargain price in M&S (true). Asma recommends serving with a black-eyed bean salad called Lobia – and we agree.

Wine Suggestion: Find an easy, juicy barbecue red that isn’t too heavy and you’ll be happy here.

Murgh Seekh Kabab – serves 6

  • 900g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 5cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 300g well-drained pickled onions or shallots
  • 6 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • juice of 2 lemons
  • ¾ tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp chilli powder

Ideally you should marinade the chicken and leave in the fridge for about 4 hours. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together, then add the chicken and toss to coat, then cover and put into the fridge.

Get your barbecue going, we prefer charcoal but whatever you’ve got will do.

Thread the chicken pieces, thinly sliced ginger and pickled onions onto metal kebab sticks (you can use the wooden ones but you need to soak them in cold water for about 20 minutes first to stop them burning). Grill the kebabs for about 5 minutes on each side, basting with the ghee or vegetable oil.

(Original recipe from Ammu by Asma Khan, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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This takes a long time so the trick is to poach the chicken the day beforehand and store the torn chicken and stock separately in the fridge. Everything else is fairly easy to put together on the day. A feast!

Celebration Rice – serves 8

  • 1 small chicken, about 1.4kg
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 bulb of garlic, skin on and halved widthways
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 5g parsley leaves, roughly chopped

FOR THE RICE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 300g lamb mince
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 400g basmati rice, washed, soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour and then drained

FOR THE GARLIC YOGHURT:

  • 500g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 clove of garlic, crushed

FOR THE GARNISH:

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 30g blanched almonds
  • 30g pine nuts
  • ¾ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes or ½ tsp regular chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds

Put the chicken into a large saucepan with the cinnamon sticks, onion, garlic, 2 litres of water and 2 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 70 minutes, or until cooked through. Lift the chicken out and tear into large bite-size chunks when cool enough to handle. Put the chicken into a bowl with the ground cumin and cinnamon and set aside. Strain the stock through a sieve and discard the solids. Measure out 850ml of the stock and keep warm (keep the rest for something else). If you are doing this part a day ahead you will need to reheat the stock and put the spices on the chicken when ready to cook.

For the rice, put the oil and half the butter into a large saucepan, and place on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes, stirring, until lightly golden. Add the lamb, garlic and spices and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the lamb has lost its pinkness. Add the rice, 700ml of the warm stock, 1 ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to sit, covered, for another 15 minutes. Add the remaining butter and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the yoghurt sauce by whisking the yoghurt, garlic, ¾ tsp of salt and the remaining 150ml of warm stock in a medium bowl.

Put 2 tbsp of oil in to a large sauté pan on a medim-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minute, to warm through. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley, then set aside.

Make the garnish by putting the butter into a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the almonds and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until lightly coloured. Add the pine nuts and cook for another 2 minutes, until golden. Remove from the heat and add the chilli flakes.

Spread the rice over a large serving platter. Top with the chicken, then pour over half the garlic yoghurt. Finish with the nuts and butter, followed by the parsley leaves and pomegranate seeds. Serve the rest of the yoghurt alongside.

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

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A healthy version of chicken tikka masala with salad and saffron rice. You will be eating the rainbow for dinner with this one.

Wine Suggestion: A new find matched this well: Umani Ronchi’s Centovie, a rosé made from Montepulciano in Abruzzo. The cherry fruit flavours and savoury, dry finish were a good compliment to the food. If you can’t find a rosé made from this grape find a nice red and chill it a little instead.

Chicken tikka masala – serves 4

  • 1 large skinless chicken crown (about 1kg), get your butcher to do this for you

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp medium Madras curry powder
  • 2 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • a large pinch of salt
  • 100g Greek yoghurt (you can use 0% if you wish)

FOR THE CURRY SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml water
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • half a cucumber, diced
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp chaat masala

TO SERVE:

  • coriander leaves, roughly torn
  • basmati rice, cooked with salt and a pinch of saffron strands (only if you have them)

Put the chicken into a large dish and slash the breasts with a sharp knife. Mix all of the ingredients together for the marinade, then spread over the chicken. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 120C fan.

Put the chicken into a roasting dish and spoon over any remaining marinade. Cook for 2 hours (this won’t cook it through).

Meanwhile, make the curry sauce. Heat the oil in a deep frying or sauté pan. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown, add a splash of water if they stick. Add the garlic and ginger with a splash of water, stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add the spices with some salt and pepper and cook for another minute.

Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a minute, then add the tinned tomatoes and the 300ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduced the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped peppers and cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Remove the chicken from the oven and use a blowtorch over the surface to slightly blacken the marinade in places. If you don’t have a blowtorch just pop it under a hot grill. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Mix the salad ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Remove the chicken breasts from the bone and cut into bite-size chunks. Reheat the curry sauce, then add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the yoghurt and chopped coriander, then season to taste.

Serve with some coriander leaves, saffron rice and the salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, ABSOLUTE PRESS, 2017.)

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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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