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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Recipes with peppercorns

08May 12

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee 

Chicken fricassee is a bright and colourful dish which combines the meat with a mix of vegetables which are roasted together in a stock.

You can thicken the sauce into a white gravy at the end of the roasting time with cream if you wish, but here is the light version for you.  It’s a great meal for a Sunday to share with family or friends.  Enjoy it with a light and fruity red wine, or a crisp dry, herby white. (For a vegetarian version, try this lentil fricassee.)

Ingredients:

  • 4kg chicken pieces; breasts and legs, skins on, boned
  • 6 cloves garlic whole and with skins left on
  • 90ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 225g shallots, with skins left on and cut into halves
  • 300g courgettes, cut in half lengthwise and then into chunky strips
  • 200g cauliflower, cubed
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into medium-size rounds
  • 900ml chicken stock
  • 10 whole mixed colour peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Salt flakes and fresh ground pepper to season

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. In a large heavy-based frying pan, heat half of the oil on a medium to high heat, and brown the chicken pieces all over as you seal in the juices.  This only takes a few minutes on each side, until the chicken is golden brown.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and put the chicken in a large roasting tray, along with the rosemary, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves.
  4. Now return the frying pan to the heat, add the remaining oil and sauté the chopped vegetables until golden brown on all sides.  Mix them in with the chicken on the roasting tray.
  5. Back to the frying pan now!  Give it a little wipe with a piece of kitchen paper to remove any browned pieces of meat and vegetables, and then pour in the chicken stock.  Bring the liquid up to the boil, season it with salt and pepper and pour it over the chicken and vegetables in the roasting tray.
  6. Roast the fricassee in the oven for between 40 minutes and an hour, or until all of the chicken pieces are cooked throughout.

Duration: 25 minutes to prepare, 40 – 60 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 6 people

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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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23Mar 12

Hearty Chicken Soup

Hearty chicken soup

Maybe you roasted a chicken the day before and now you fancy a hearty soup?  This recipe makes perfect use of those roast chicken left-overs.  It’s simple to make and is a true winter warmer.  Winter celery adds a distinctive flavour to the dish.  Once you’ve cooked it a couple of times, you could create a variation if you fancy it by swapping the carrot for parsnip or butternut squash, or by swapping the fresh parsley for fresh coriander.  A chicken and corn chowder is also a tasty option. You don’t need to use a blender for this recipe either, just remember to chop the vegetables nice and fine and enjoy the texture of the torn chicken pieces. I often enjoy a glass of Guinness with my Hearty chicken soup for richness of flavour and relaxation.  Chicken is packed full of protein, and did you know that it’s also a good source of selenium?  Ladies and Gents, this is a simple chicken soup for the soul!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, washed and chopped into little cubes
  • 3 medium celery sticks, washed and finely sliced
  • 60g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1.2 litres chicken stock
  • 500g cooked, skinless chicken, hand torn into fairly fine shreds
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to taste

Steps:

  1. Take a large heavy-based saucepan and place on medium heat, adding the butter, onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add the flour to the pan, stir it in, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock and stirring the contents constantly, bring the liquid to the boil.  Reduce the heat, season with salt and black pepper and simmer the soup mixture for 10-12 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Place the cooked chicken into the soup and continue to cook until the chicken is piping hot throughout.
  5. Sprinkle and stir in the parsley, and serve in bowls with baguette or hunks of granary bread on the side.

Recipe for: 4 people

Duration: 1 hour

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