Category Archives: Chicken

Country Captain Chicken with Rice

Country Captain Chicken with Basmati Rice (9964)

I’m sure that summer’s officially here, one, because it’s almost unbearably hot, and two, because I buy chicken by the bucket, or whatever expression you might choose to put instead. There are tonnes of reasons for which this happens. The first one that comes to mind is that it makes a perfect meal for when I have people over for supper. So I keep various chicken pieces in the freezer at once. This past week I went to the butcher twice; they were on my list for both trips, simply because I had guests last Saturday and I ran out of chicken breasts. As I must have mentioned somewhere before on C&T but I must do so again I would rather have the dark meat bits. The meat next to the bones is generally more tender and juicy. However lately, since the turn in the weather, I much prefer grilling or pan-frying a marinated chicken breast. The marinade bit is most important. It’s amazing what some extra virgin olive oil together with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper does to a piece of meat, and to vegetables! Place the meat in a dish, marinate, cover with cling film in the fridge for a couple of hours. Grill, serve with a simple salad and voila, you have a meal. Right there.

This recipe is a little different, in that you don’t even need a grill pan and there’s no marinade prep but it’s easy. I like it because it resembles a curry without the extra spice. It comes in handy when you know you will feed a group of people who undoubtedly have various likes and dislikes, or even allergies and/or intolerances. As months go by I am often finding myself in this predicament, which can be a headache on one hand, but a positive thing for me, meaning I’m reconnecting with people. It’s been almost a year now since I moved back from Surrey. Unbelievable.

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Recipe: Chicken and Chorizo Casserole

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8724)

My idea of a rainy afternoon is having loads of good books to read, sipping a hot chocolate on the couch with a thick throw, or two. No radio, no movies, no nothing. Just some peace and quiet. That’s how I spent yesterday afternoon, and by the looks of it that’s how it will be today. I am one lucky lady I know. My idea of a comforting meal after such an afternoon is something like this recipe. It’s a breeze to make and full of flavour.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8717)

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8716)

This is actually my take on two recipes from Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris and Mireille Guiliano’s The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook. I read Lunch in Paris in two days; you could say I devoured it, but that would sound silly. On the other hand, the latter was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t think I was going to like such a book, but honestly, I really enjoyed it. The recipes are simple, delicious, fresh and flavourful and it’s not about low-fat this and low-fat that, and margerine and saccharine. Yuck. You use butter and there’s chocolate in their too. Lovely. Hold on, I hear you say. Are you on a diet? Are you now into low-fat fad? Eh? The answer is simply: nope. I *do* need to lose some weight, yes, but what I’m really into is variety.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8723)

Fact is I get bored very easily. I’m also not into any trend, because trends come and go, and quiet frankly I find it hard to keep up. I’m not running a restaurant. I cook at home, like most of you do, so I don’t need to constantly come up with new stuff. I eat everything and I’m willing to try anything, as long as it’s good edible. Please also note that I’m not into palpitating cobra hearts or bird nests. Those things are for Mr. Bourdain; definitely not for me.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8720)

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8722)

So give me a hearty but light meal any day and you’ll make me very happy. Fish or chicken are easier on me than red meat, especially in the evening. As much as I like grilling steak I don’t sleep well if I have that for dinner. When I’m not baking this is the kind of food I like to cook. By the time the pan is simmering on the hob or baking in the oven, all by itself, I can do the washing up without stressing myself to death, lay the table, light a candle perhaps and relax.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8718)

Please don’t let the not-so-short list of ingredients intimidate you. I promise you, this is painless and cheap. Serves 4.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 8 large chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 100g chorizo, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped or crushed
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • half a large lemon, cut in half
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 75ml chicken stock
  • 800g polpa di pomodoro (plus some water to get to the bits of tomato on the sides and bottom of the can)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato concentrate
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

In a large pan heat the oil and butter over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken, salt and pepper and brown the chicken on both sides. Brown in batches if your pan is not big enough to fit all the thighs at once. Remove from the pan, set aside in a warm bowl.

In the same pan add the chorizo, onions, paprika and garlic cloves. There is no need to add more oil here as the chorizo will release its own. Give everything a stir, scraping the bottom of the pan and allow the onions to turn opaque. Now add the celery, leek, lemon and its juice and yellow pepper.* Cook for around 5 minutes, making sure to coat the vegetables well with the juices from the pan. Add the chicken thighs back in.

Pour in the chicken stock, polpa, tomato concentrate, salt, pepper, sugar and thyme. Give the contents of the pan a good stir again. Cover and let it simmer for around an hour over medium-low heat.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8726)

Serve with basmati rice.

*Alternatively you could add around 4 large potatoes, cut into chunks or quarters with the vegetables, and serve it with some crusty bread, omitting the rice.

Enjoy! What is your favourite one-pot meal?

Rob x

(Adapted from Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris, Summersdale, 2011 and Mireille Guiliano’s The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook, Simon & Schuster, 2011.)

Lunch…

Chicken-Sandwich-(6289)

It’s so easy for me to skip lunch altogether. That’s very bad I know, but it happens sometimes, especially when I have a full day (when it’s even worse). There’s absolutely almost no excuse for this vile behaviour so this is an easy sandwich which I put together in minutes. There no method in the madness and it’s only a guide. You can use whatever you like of course; this is just what I do with any leftover roast chicken I might have in the fridge. I wouldn’t even call this a recipe.

  • Cooked chicken pieces (approximately 150g but who’s really measuring?!)
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 2 chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped (you can also use spring onions if you prefer)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed

I put these in a shallow pan, with a little drizzle of olive oil and cook them with a pinch of paprika, chinese 5 spice and chilli flakes. Let them sizzle up and add a dash of white vermouth or honey, or both! Let it bubble up till the liquid is reduced. Serve in between some tasty polenta bread or a crusty baguette, with plenty of greens and slices of tomatoes. It’s simple but ideal when you don’t have much time to eat, but still need to! Enjoy.

Rob x

Lemon Chicken

Roast-Lemon-Chicken-(6029)

I love it when after a day’s work I can make dinner in one-pot, in the oven. This is just the thing I need when I’m stressed but still want something hearty to eat without resorting to the emergency takeaway stuff. The following recipe is one I have adapted and changed a lot throughout the last few months from Nigella’s Forever Summer. Also, since Nigellissima has hit the shelves earlier this month (my review will follow this post later on this week), I thought this was an appropriate way of celebrating the occasion.

I used chicken pieces for this, mainly because I didn’t want to faff around with a whole chicken. Also smaller pieces make serving easier. But if you want you can use a chicken (or two) and have them butterflied by yourself or your butcher. It’s totally up to you. This recipe also spells convenience. You can scale it up (or down – but this is rare in my house) as you please, or adapt the herbs to your taste. But here’s how I do it.

You will need any number of chickens or chicken pieces as you want. You will be ok with around 2kg worth. Place these in a glass dish. (I use my large Pyrex one – safe for marinating and then into the oven it goes.) On top of the meat, scatter 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon course salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 red onions, quartered or roughly chopped, juice and zest of 1 lemon. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for a few hours when you lack the time, but you can prepare it even a day or two ahead (always keeping it in the fridge) if you want to. The more time, the better. Around an hour or so before you want to cook it (and depending on how long it was in the fridge for), remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220ºC and cook for 1 hour uncovered, skin side up. Remember: chicken needs to be cooked properly so check it by cutting near to the bone (eg. between a thigh and a breast). If the juices run clear it’s ready. Serve with rice or some roast potatoes, with some bread to mop up the lemony gravy. You are in for a treat.

Enjoy!

Rob x

Crispy chicken

Crispy-Chicken-(5972)I love to call this Oh-So-Crispy chicken. It really is! This is somewhat messy to make but oh-so-worth-it. Serve it with jasmine rice and you’re ready to go. I tried this recipe, with variations, from the sweet Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy and it has become one of my favourites. I think if I had to plot out some kind of best-of chart, this would easily be in my top 5. What I like most about it is that you don’t need to go out of your way to get special ingredients you will use only a couple of times. Come to think of it, perhaps this is the reason I tried it in the first place. I always have soy sauce and toasted sesame oil in my pantry, and instead of groundnut oil (which I happen to have) you can easily use vegetable oil. Cornflour is always a staple anyway to thicken sauces.This recipe serves 4 to 6 people but you can scale it up or down as you wish. You need to marinade the chicken first so give yourself a little bit of preparation time for this. Apart from that, it’s all pretty manageable. You will need:

  • 700g chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, chopped into large bite-sized pieces
  • 14 tablespoons cornflour (This is best as it is tasteless. Avoid plain flour.)
  • Groundnut oil
  • ground pepper
  • Jasmine rice, to serve (cooking method: absorption, infused with one star anise in the water)

For the marinade you will need:

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
  1. Cook the rice. Remember to put the star anise in the water. (And keep it for presentation later.)
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl or glass dish and put all the marinade ingredients all over the meat. Mix well  (I use my hands and then wash them). Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight. But if you don’t have that much time, 4 hours give or take will also work well.
  3. When you are ready to serve, prepare another clean bowl with the cornflour. Remove the chicken from it’s marinade and place it in the flour. Coat evenly and flick gently to remove any access flour.
  4. Heat a wok or a pan. When it’s really hot (and not before) pour in a good glug of oil in the pan and slowly drop in a small piece of bread. If this turns golden brown then you are ready to fry the chicken, until it turns golden brown on the outside. The meat will need around 8 to 10 minutes to cook. Remember that chicken has to cook really well.
  5. Cook the chicken in batches not all at once. This will keep the oil at a constant temperature to create the crispness of the meat. It will take a bit of time but that’s the way to do it. You wouldn’t want all this to go to waste after all the work!

Serve with the jasmine rice and a simple green salad as a side. Enjoy!

Rob x