Tag Archives: Chicken

Restorative Chicken and Vegetable Broth

chicken-and-veggie-broth-0573Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a good break over the past few weeks, and that you enjoyed the holidays. It was a very busy time here of course, and my kitchen worked overtime this year. I’m so happy that it did though. I also had the time for some baking for family and friends. There was no better time for switching on the oven and turning on the heat. It wasn’t that cold in December, but let me assure you that January has started off with a kick. We’re feeling it here in Malta this week. It’s going to be a cold weekend. Some are loving it, relishing it even, others are fuming excuse the pun because they’d rather be sweating it out in August.

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Minty Chicken

Minty Lime Chicken (9915)This is definitely a Throwback Thursday recipe. I promise I didn’t plan it on purpose. What’s true is that I’ve been thinking about writing about it for ages. I never did until now because the photo isn’t good at all. It almost went in my not-to-publish file, but I’ve changed my mind. This recipe turned out well so why not?

It goes back to the first month or so in my kitchen here in Malta, when I was barely doing any serious cooking. We moved back in the middle of the summer months, when being in the kitchen, I think, is totally unbearable. The heat is just too much for me, so I either cook late in the evening or very early in the morning, although those two options don’t always work for me either. We end up eating loads of salads and the likes instead, and there’s no need to say that baking stops almost to a complete halt.

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Grilled Garlic Chicken Breasts

Grilled Garlic Chicken Breasts (9858)One of the easiest things for me to cook when I feel as if I’m racing against time is chicken. I know I’m not alone on this; when people ask me for recipes, 99 percent of the time it’s all about cakes or chicken. My favourite chocolate cake recipe? Done. An easy chicken recipe? You’re sorted. And here’s another one.

I don’t normally go for chicken breasts, because I feel edgy cooking them. I prefer something on the bone, like chicken legs. The meat nearest the bones is always more tender and juicier, and almost never goes dry, no matter how long you cook it for. It also reminds me of my mum’s Sunday lunches, and my obsession with drumsticks. They would fall off the bone, and at the end of the meal I would declare that they were the best thing I’ve ever had. (Excluding chocolate and marshmallows, of course.)

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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.)

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

Chicken marinade.

Marinated-Roast-Chicken-Pieces-(5419)

I cannot say enough how much I love chicken. It’s relatively cheap and so easy to cook. I think I got a fondness for it from my mum. She always made a great chicken at home, tender, juicy and never ever stringy. So naturally the first thing I wanted to learn was how to replicate my mum’s dish. I had so many problems feeding this to J when we got married! For him it was either pasta or nothing. In my family pasta was something quick – something to prepare when you’re pressed for time, i.e. like homemade fast food (which is nonetheless good for you in moderation). Ironically I consider almost anything that goes in the oven as quick; it does take it’s time to cook, yes, but you don’t need to do anything else with it once it’s in there. Perhaps that’s why I prefer baking to cooking. And no wonder there are many many variations of the following recipe in almost every book I own: it’s quick and so easy that anyone can do it.

It’s also ideal for feeding a big group – all you have to do is to scale it up and prepare some greens and couscous, and you’re ready to go. You could also start cooking the chicken pieces in the oven for 15 minutes in their oven dish, then chuck them individually on the grill for the rest of the cooking time. The amount of marinade I am giving you will be enough for around 6 to 8 chicken pieces. I’m not talking about chicken wings here – legs, thighs or drumsticks are the business here. But be my guest if you like wings, especially for an informal drinks party with friends. I would never tell you what to do! You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons (15ml each) dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons chilli flakes (or 1 fresh chilli, chopped)
  • 2 cubes or crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 star anise
  1. Place your chicken pieces in a dish, preferably using one with a glass lid like those old fashioned Pyrex ones. (If you don’t have one of those, use anyone that you like and use some kitchen foil as a cover.) Gracefully (or not) pour the above ingredients all over the chicken. Mix everything together using the cleanest hands or a spoon, making sure every bit of meat is covered.
  2. Cover the dish with its lid or cling film and put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/392 F/Gas mark 6 and bake for around 45 minutes. Chicken wings need no more than 20 minutes, so always keep an eye on them.

Enjoy!

Rob x