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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Recipes with chicken recipes

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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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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30Mar 12

Roast Chicken and Cherry Tomato Sandwich

Roast Chicken and Cherry Tomato BaguetteThis very same sandwich reminds me of the time that we trogged down to the river by the old church with our little girl, a picnic hamper, a chequered blanket, and about 8 teddy bears all with rumbling tummies.  We packed the juice, the cava, and the cubes of home-made Spanish omelette which our daughter loves. In our pack we also carried little empty plastic pots, but in our daughter’s eyes, they were all full of honey for the bears.  We spread out the blanket under the shade of an old weeping willow, propped up the teddies and laid out the food.  It was right by the spot where we had walked a few years before on a Winter’s day, thinking about whether to buy the cottage.  It had snowed that day as we walked by the river, and no doubt the romance of the moment was part of our decision to move there.  But on this sunny Summer’s day, we filled the teddies’ tummies full of invisible honey, and we munched on roast chicken and cherry tomato sandwiches made just like this…

Ingredients:

  • A generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cumin seeds
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, each cut into 3 slices
  • 2/3 white baguette
  • 2 roast chicken legs, skin removed and pieces torn from the bone (saved from a previously roasted chicken)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Rocket leaves (Arugula)

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Lay the cherry tomato slices on a small baking tray (I use a loaf tin), sprinkle on a pinch of salt, drizzle all over with olive oil and shake over the cumin seeds.  Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Whilst the tomatoes are cooking, cut the baguette into thirds, and then cut two of these pieces in half for the sandwiches. You can store the remaining third for a different occasion.
  4. Fill the baguettes with the mayonnaise, the torn chicken leg meat, the oven roasted tomatoes, and top off with rocket.
  5. Enjoy straight away, or if you’re going to take them on your picnic, allow the tomatoes to cool before putting them in the baguette. Once the sandwiches are made, wrap them in tin foil and pop them in your hamper.  If it’s going to be a while before you eat them, and it’s a hot day, be sure to pack them in a cool bag.

Duration:10 minutes preparation time and 10 minutes cooking time (plus cooling time when appropriate)

Recipe for: 2 generously-filled baguette sandwiches

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29Mar 12

Yellow Thai Chicken Curry

Yellow Thai Chicken CurryThere are such good authentic curry pastes now that my original desire to create them from scratch has rather ebbed away over the years.  Yellow Thai chicken curry works really well with potatoes, and I use chicken thighs because they tend to be more succulent than chicken breast.  The result of all of the combined ingredients is colourful and aromatic.

Thai curriesred, green and yellow were traditionally made from similar ingredients but with each featuring its colour-corresponding chilli, and with each chilli providing different tastes and properties.  Over time the ingredients have evolved to further accentuate the colour aspect of the dishes.  The Indian spice turmeric helps to give yellow curry its beautiful golden colour.

Although coriander is more characteristic of Thai green chicken curry, I like to add it to my yellow curry too because quite simply, it adds colour, and is totally delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 10 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless and cut into chunks
  • 6 shallots (or 1 large onion) peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced lengthwise into fairly thin strips
  • 100g (1/4 tub) Cock Brand Yellow Thai curry paste
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 235ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into smallish chunks
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Steps:

  1. Heat the oil and fry the chicken in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat for 7-8 minutes, until the surface is golden brown all over.
  2. Add the shallots and the yellow pepper and continue to fry for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat, until softened.
  3. Add the curry powder and the yellow curry paste, stirring in well so that the chicken is coated in the paste.  Cook like this for a few minutes.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, the chicken stock and the fish sauce, stir, and bring the mixture up to a very gentle boil.
  5. Add the potatoes, turn down the heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the chicken and potatoes are thoroughly cooked and tender.  Stir the curry occasionally during cooking.
  6. Squeeze in the lime juice, stir in the sugar and the coriander, and serve with fragrant rice.

Duration: 45 minutes

Recipe for 5-6 people

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