It’s the second week of December and it’s about time I posted a festive recipe, don’t you think?! Having said that I’d better take the decorations out of their storage boxes before the end of the year. I have been busier than usual for the past few months, to the point where I have neglected C&T. I’m proud though that I have managed to be quite consistent and post something for you at least once twice a week. My dream is to post three days a week but planning good content isn’t easy. The philosophy behind this blog has always been quality over quantity and that has been my game plan for the past five years. It will continue to be that way I promise.
Christmas is around the corner and the preparations have begun. I haven’t really been in the swing of things this week, although my trees are up and so are the rest of the decorations. My beautiful mum has been over to help me, although I suspect she came over to keep me company first, helping me out second – something which I always relish. To me, she is truly one of a kind. I love her to bits. I’m having people over this year for the day and although I still feel the pressure (even though I know I don’t need to) she somewhat managed to ease my nerves. I hope to offer a little bit of that by the some of the recipes here on C&T.
One evening I just wanted a simple side, prepared without too much faff for a weeknight supper. I must have had some leftover roast from the weekend before; can’t recall much because it has been a while. Proof? Look at the date. Yikes. J was still the one taking the photos for C&T. What I do remember though was that I had around an hour to spare for the prep and the cooking, and in a panic I just couldn’t think properly. Luckily in the nick of time I assembled an adaptation of an easy recipe by Gennaro Contaldo. I read it a few days before in Two Greedy Italians but with no time to find it from the book I tried to make a rough version of it. I have checked his recipe since then and he obviously gives measurement for every ingredient.
I feel lucky this week. I got to go to London twice – for one day, then for a whole weekend. I relish my quiet days and sometimes I wouldn’t have it any other way, but that contributes more to those times when only the hustle and bustle of London will do. And so it was for the past few days.
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.