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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

April, 2012

30Apr 12

Chicken Kievs

Chicken Kiev

A favourite for the whole family, Chicken Kievs made at home taste great!

Ingredients:

For the Herb butter

  • 75g butter, softened
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • A couple of twists of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to season

To make the Kievs

  • 6 chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 150g plain flour
  • 300g breadcrumbs, fine and dry
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Fresh lemon, cut into wedges to serve

Steps:

  1. Make the sauce.  Mix the butter, garlic, lemon, parsley and tarragon in a bowl.   Season well with salt and pepper.  Lay a length of clingfilm on a clean work surface and spread the softened butter mixture thickly over it in a fat log shape.  Roll the film up to create a more defined log shape and cool in the fridge until the butter hardens.
  2. Next prepare the chicken.  Lay the breasts smooth-side down and cut off the mini fillet.  Create a pocket for the sauce:  Slit into the middle of each fillet with a sharp knife.  Take the incision to half-way deep into the breast and to within 4 cm of each side – go carefully here.  On a board, lay a small piece of clingfilm over each breast, and flatten them out a little by batting with a rolling pin.  Do the same with the mini fillets.  Put in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Remove the hardened butter from the fridge, and cut it into 6 round discs.  Place a disc inside each chicken pocket.  Seal the pocket by tucking the mini fillet just inside the slit and pulling the tops of the fillet just over it.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  5. Lay 3 shallow bowls out on your work surface.  Put the flour in one, the eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in the third. Roll and coat each breast in the contents of each bowl, in this order: flour, egg, breadcrumbs, egg again, breadcrumbs again.
  6. Heat a good amount of oil on high in a large frying pan.  Once hot, reduce the heat to medium, cooking the kievs for a few minutes until golden on both sides.  Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper before placing in a roasting tray and cooking in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the chicken is firm to the touch at its widest part.  When cooked throughout, serve the kievs hot with mashed potatoes or these Minty Jersey Royals with Chives and Lemon Butter.

Duration: 25 minutes to prepare, 25 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 8 servings

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26Apr 12

Basic Roast Chicken

Basic Roast ChickenThe smell of roast chicken wafting through the house on a Sunday when everyone is together but beetling away on their own thing, is one of my true pleasures.  Perhaps it’s because it throws me back to comforting childhood memories or perhaps it’s just the new memories we are creating. Either way, it’s a good feeling.  I can begin to smell that delicious scent now, as I’m doing a basic roast chicken whilst I write this blog.  Once you have roasted your chicken, and if you don’t eat it all in one go, there are so many yummy dishes you can create with the leftovers, such as chicken wraps or sandwiches.  Keep any leftovers wrapped up in the fridge for a couple of days.

There are so many different recipes for a roasting chicken: different herbs, spices, stuffings, and preparation methods.  I want to share the way I do a basic roast chicken with you.  When I know that I am not going to have lots of time to prepare my roast, I buy one ready-made from the butchers or the supermarket, so that I can simply pop it on the tray, cover it with my choice of spices and roast away.  If you can find an organic chicken, that’s even better.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, bought ready to roast
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A few pinches of salt flakes
  • A couple of pinches of ground paprika
  • A few pinches of ground cumin

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Lay the chicken on a roasting tray.  Rub over with the salt flakes; drizzle over with the olive oil; and sprinkle over with the cumin and the paprika.  Then wash your hands really well.
  3. Loosely cover the chicken with aluminium foil and roast it in the oven for 30 minutes before removing the foil and roasting at a lower temperature of 160-180ºC for another 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of the bird.  Always check the label for weights and cooking times and ensure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked before serving.  To check that the chicken is cooked throughout, you can pierce the thigh meat with a sharp knife or skewer.  The juices will run clear when the chicken is cooked.
  4. Once done, turn the oven off and leave the bird in to rest in the cooling heat for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven, carve and serve.

Duration: 10 minutes preparation time, 1-2 hours cooking time.

Recipe for: 4 servings

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24Apr 12

Grilled Chicken Wings with a Honey and Lime Butter Sauce

Grilled Chicken WingsGrilled chicken wings with a honey and lime butter sauce makes for a crispy and zesty taste experience! (For a spicy variation, try buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce.) What a treat for a spring or summer evening for just the two of you, when you’ve got a few friends round, or for a bigger party.

If you can cook your chicken outside, that’s great!  If not, grill it like me, and it will still be super tasty.  When it comes to this kind of meal, I want to keep things as quick and simple as possible so that I can drink a cold beer, and enjoy the company I’m with, whether that’s my special other, or a whole group of friends.

Ingredients:

  • 6-12 chicken wings, skins on
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh coriander finely chopped (optional)

Steps:

  1. Scatter the chicken wings onto a baking tray and season really well with salt and pepper.  I don’t use any oil.  Grill on a relatively high heat for about 20 minutes, turning the chicken at least once during the process.  If you are cooking outside, you’ll need to turn the chicken regularly.  Grill until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the skins are crispy and golden brown.
  2. Whilst the chicken is grilling, prepare the sauce.  Melt the butter slowly in a pan, squeeze in the juice of the lime and stir in the honey.
  3. Serve the chicken on plates drizzled over with the honey & lime butter sauce. You could also top it with roughly chopped fresh coriander and a sprinkling of lime zest.  Alternatively, if you’re serving this up at a party, place the chicken wings on a large serving plate on the table along with a decorative bowl of the sauce, for dipping or spooning.  And don’t forget a few serviettes for those sticky fingers later.

Also try serving as a meal with steamed asparagus sprinkled with fresh coriander.

Duration: 10 minutes to prepare, 20 minutes to cook.  Ready in half an hour

Recipe for:  2-3 people

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20Apr 12

Easy Coq Au Vin

Coq au vinI haven’t cooked this French inspired dish for a while, and now I’m wondering why.  I want to share this easy coq au vin recipe with you. I’m ashamed to admit that it has been nestled away in my recipe drawer for some time, gathering a little dust.  I’ve just come across it, looking for a little new inspiration, and so here it is.  And I’m certainly going to get cooking it again as soon as possible now that I’ve rediscovered it. 

Chicken, mushrooms, white wine and garlic are always a winning combination, wouldn’t you say?  That reminds me – I must go looking for my chicken and mushroom pie recipe, which has also been tucked away for a while.  I think it’s time to go hunting for it, and once found, I’ll share it with all of you.

Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs, with skin and bone removed
  • 112g bacon cubes
  • 6 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 220g oyster mushrooms, roughly torn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ bottle of a decent white wine
  • Small pot of double cream or crème fraiche
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped to garnish

Steps:

  1. Using a large and high-sided pan, fry the bacon pieces in the olive oil for 5-8 minutes until they are crispy and golden brown.  Add the chopped shallots to the pan and continue to fry until they are soft, perhaps another 3-5 minutes.
  2. Chop the chicken thighs into thirds before adding them to the pan, along with the mushrooms, the wine and the bay leaves, and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring the contents of the pan up to the boil, before turning down the heat, and simmering, covered, for between 30 and 40 minutes, until the chicken and carrots are thoroughly cooked.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cream or crème fraiche.  Sprinkle over with the chopped dill.

Serve with a side of potatoes, a hunk of buttered granary bread or these grilled toast with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes.

Duration: 20 minutes to prepare, 1 hour to cook

Recipe for: 4 people

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19Apr 12

Simple Chicken Satay

Simple Chicken SatayI want to share a simple chicken satay recipe with you – one you can whizz up indoors all year round.  The sauce is rich and spicy, and we’ll fry the chicken for simplicity.  Of course you can always barbecue the chicken outside in the summer if you wish, or grill it in the oven.  You can also vary the amount of chilli to your taste.

There are many variations on this classic Malaysian dish, which is often served with rice.  One such variation is this chicken satay with sun-dried tomatoes. My version works to bring out the elemental flavours of the dish, combining the juicy meat with the tangy sauce.

The peanut is actually part of the bean family and is thought to have originated in Peru.  This humble legume which we all think of as a nut is both energy-giving and rich in nutrients.  A good source of niacin, fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and protein, peanuts may also help to reduce levels of bad cholesterol.

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh chicken breasts, skinless
  • 1 tbsp olive oil to fry the chicken
  • 8 tbsp peanut butter
  • 8 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1-2 red chillies, very finely chopped

You will also need 8 short wooden skewers

Steps:

For the sauce:

  1. Blend the peanut butter, chilli, water, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and the soy sauce in a food processer.
  2. Transfer to a serving dish or individual dishes.

For the chicken:

  1. Cut each chicken breast into 4 strips length-wise and concertina fold them onto the wooden skewers.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a shallow-based pan and fry the chicken on the skewers until golden brown and thoroughly cooked, usually 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the chicken.
  3. Serve on one communal plate alongside the satay sauce.

Duration:  15 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to cook

Recipe for:  8 skewers to serve 4 people as a starter

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16Apr 12

Maple Roasted Chicken

Maple Roasted ChickenRoast chicken is always delicious, even when you do nothing else with it but bung it in the oven.  This maple roasted chicken with all of its sweetness and stickiness is a true delight.  One of the best things about it is that you can throw it all together the night before, let it sit in the fridge overnight soaking up all of the flavours, and then simply bung it in the oven when you are ready to prepare it.

It’s quite rewarding to eat and a great idea for entertaining on a warm spring Sunday afternoon when your friends come round.  Share it with them, along with a few glasses of your favourite white wine.  I always serve mine up with a big mixed salad, but you could also steam up some fresh spring vegetables if you fancy an entirely warm meal.

Ingredients:

  • 18 chicken wings or thighs, with bone and skin
  • 200ml apple juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 7 garlic cloves, in their skins
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon powder

Steps:

  1. Place the chicken thighs into a large dish.  Drizzle over the maple syrup, pour over the apple juice, the oil, the soy sauce, garlic and cinnamon powder and stir until all of the chicken pieces are covered.  Cover the dish and put it into the fridge to marinate overnight.
  2. When you are ready to cook the chicken, take the dish out of the oven and let sit at room temperature whilst you preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  3. If you have not used an oven-proof dish to marinate the chicken, you will need to transfer the chicken, along with the marinade into one now, or into a roasting tray.  Turn the chicken pieces so that the skin is at the top.
  4. Roast the chicken in the oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and has turned a deep sticky brown.

Serve alongside a big bowl of mixed salad and with fresh buttered bread. You could also wash it down with this kirsch and lemoncello Tanqueray presse that has a hint of maple that would complement the meal.

Duration: 15 minutes to prepare, overnight to marinate, up to 1 ½ hours to cook

Recipe for: Serves 6

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11Apr 12

Basic Chicken Stock

Basic Chicken StockIt feels very satisfying to cook with your own home-made chicken stock, instead of crumbling in a stock cube.  Yes, it does take time and effort, so make enough to freeze it in portions; then you can store it for several weeks in the freezer, or keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.  You could make this basic chicken stock once a month to tide you through until you make it up again. (For one of many recipes with chicken stock, try this chicken and corn chowder.)

Ingredients:

  • 2.5kg chicken backs, wings and necks
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 3cm pieces
  • 3 celery sticks, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 medium onions, peeled, cut in half, then each half into 4 pieces
  • 1 bay leaf, dried
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, whole
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Steps:

  1. You will need an 8 litre capacity pan or stock pot.  Start by frying the onions in the olive oil on a medium heat in the pot until they are beautifully soft and golden.  Between 5 and 10 minutes should be enough.
  2. Add all of the chicken pieces and fill the pan with water until the chicken is over-covered by about 3cm.  Add the salt, and then bring the water up to the boil, keeping the heat at medium. Using a ladle, regularly skim off the fat and any scum that rise to the surface.
  3. Once the water reaches the boil, add the celery, carrots, bay leaf and peppercorns, and reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer.  Cook like this for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, skimming the surface of the stock regularly.
  4. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place these over a large bowl.  Strain the stock through the sieve lining and discard the solids that gather in the cloth.
  5. Separate off the stock that you wish to use immediately, skim the fat off the surface and incorporate it into the recipe of your choice.  To store any stock that you will not be using straight away, let it cool completely.  You can speed up this process by setting the bowl of stock in an ice water bath.  Once completely cooled, separate and store the stock in freezer-proof containers, or in an airtight container in the fridge.  Let the stock set in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours to allow the fat to accumulate at the top.  Skim the fat off before use.  Do the same for frozen stock: allow it to defrost in the fridge until the fat rises to the surface, and then skim it off.

Duration: 15 minutes to prepare.  Up to 2 ½ hours to cook.

Recipe for: About 2.5 litres of stock

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08Apr 12

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Thai Green Chicken CurryThere are so many wonderful variations on this classic Thai dish.  Mine is put together on the basis of ease and simplicity. Kaffir lime leaves characterise this curry and give it a delicate fragrance.  I’ve chosen to use a fairly short list of ingredients to keep the flavours simple and the preparation straight forward.  Enjoy Thai Green Chicken Curry with a very chilled crisp dry white wine.  If you want to add to the vegetable content of this recipe you could experiment with adding diced aubergine once the chicken has browned for 5 minutes.

Ingredients:

For the chicken marinade

  • 900g chicken breast, fresh, skinned and diced into 3cm cubes
  • 4 tsp Barts Thai green curry paste

To make the sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 6-10tsp Barts Thai green curry paste
  • 1L (2 ½ 400ml tins) coconut milk
  • 3 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 fresh lemon grass stalks, slightly crushed
  • 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 300g mangetout, washed and with ends trimmed off

To garnish

  • 1 pack of fresh coriander, washed and roughly chopped

Steps:

First marinade the chicken

  1. Put the chicken cubes into a bowl and mix in 4 tbsp of the Thai green paste.  Cover and pop in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill.

Then make the curry sauce

  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil, add the onion and soften for 3-5 minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Add the Thai curry paste to taste and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the chicken cubes and cook again for 5 minutes, moving the contents of the pan frequently.
  3. Add the coconut milk, the Kaffir lime leaves and the slightly crushed lemon grass.  Slowly bring the sauce up in temperature until it is simmering (be careful it doesn’t boil as this will make the chicken tough).
  4. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked, then add the fish sauce and cook on for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the mangetout and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the lemon grass stalks from the curry and serve with a portion of fragrant Thai rice, sprinkling the fresh coriander over the entire dish.

Duration: 55 minutes to prepare and cook (plus the 15 minutes chilling time)

Recipe for: 6 people

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04Apr 12

Chicken Salad with Roast Tomatoes, Almonds and Balsamic Dressing

 

Chicken Salad

This is a really tasty and healthy way to use up chicken leg meat the day after you’ve eaten a spiced roast chicken.  Chicken and avocado are always a good combination, and the softness and subtlety of the lamb’s lettuce contrasts beautifully with the peppery bite of the rocket.  Add the sweetness and spice of my roasted cherry tomatoes, along with good balsamic vinegar and a good extra virgin olive oil, and you’ll round off the dish with extra intensity and flavour.

Ingredients:

  • The meat of 2 chicken legs (from a previously roasted chicken), skin removed and pieces torn from the bones
  • 1 bag of pre-washed and ready-to-eat lamb’s lettuce mixed with rocket
  • 1 avocado, skin and stone removed, halved, then cut into thin wedges lengthwise
  • Handful of blanched whole almonds
  • 8 roasted and cooled sliced cherry tomatoes, or uncooked cherry tomatoes, each sliced into 3 rounds.  Needs oil, salt, and cumin seeds
  • A generous drizzle of good viscous balsamic vinegar
  • A generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Mayonnaise to serve

Steps:

  1. If you are going to oven roast the tomatoes (which does make them very tasty), preheat the oven to 200ºC, slice the tomatoes and place them in a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil, dusted with salt and sprinkled with cumin.  Roast them for 10 minutes, and remove from the tray to a plate for cooling.
  2. Divide the lamb’s lettuce and rocket leaves onto 2 plates, spreading them out across the whole of each plate.
  3. Arrange the torn chicken, avocado, and cherry tomatoes on top of the salad leaves.
  4. Sprinkle over the almonds, then drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil in generous spirals across the whole plate.
  5. Season with a little salt and pepper and serve with a pretty bowl of mayonnaise laid on the table.

Duration: 20 minutes preparation time.  15 minutes cooking and cooling time if you are going to roast the cherry tomatoes.

Recipe for: A light lunch or supper for 2 people

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03Apr 12

Chicken Thighs with a Chilli Chocolate Sauce

Chicken with a Chilli Chocolate SauceHave you ever tried eating chicken with a chocolate sauce? I was looking for a sauce that really used chocolate as a main ingredient, rather than one where a token piece of chocolate was thrown in, and this chicken thighs with a chilli chocolate sauce dish is what I ended up creating.  I’m sure there’s much room for improvement as I experiment with the idea of using chocolate with chicken, but I’ll share this one with you for now, so that you can try it and see what you think.  The combination of flavours is certainly unusual and could well be an acquired taste, but I enjoyed it! Not sure you will? You could also give this versatile sauce for both meats and fish a go.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken thighs, skin on
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 small red chillies, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 wine glasses of white wine
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 3-4 shallots, or 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate powder
  • 2-4 tsp good balsamic vinegar, according to your taste
  • 1 tbsp soft dark sugar
  • 1 tbsp sweet natural yoghurt

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC and roast the chicken thighs for around 40-45 minutes or until they are cooked throughout.  As always, check this using a skewer to the thigh to ensure that the juices run clear.
  2. Halfway through the chicken’s roasting time, begin to make the sauce.  Heat the oil and fry the shallots with the cloves and cinnamon in a shallow-based pan on a medium heat until the onions are really soft.
  3. Add the minced garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the white wine, the chocolate powder, the brown sugar and the balsamic vinegar and bring up the heat until the sauce is very close to the boiling point.  Reduce the heat immediately and simmer the mixture to a viscous reduction over about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the yoghurt and stir it in.  Scoop out a little of the sauce onto a teaspoon, let it cool a little and taste it.  Add more yoghurt or sugar to taste if necessary.
  6. Remove the skin from the roast chicken, and drizzle the chocolate sauce over the hot chicken to serve.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Duration: 15 minutes to prepare, 45 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 2 servings

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