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Sticky lemon chicken with champ February 2, 2010

Posted by Helen in chicken, Uncategorized.
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As much as I hate to admit it, Gordon Ramsay is pretty good. This was a perfect weeknight supper. Not too heavy (unless, of course, you eat as much champ as my husband does), and lovely served with steamed green beans. The recipe below serves 4, so I halved it. Rather than using a whole chicken, I used a breast and two thighs (something that seems to work well for us since I prefer white meat).











Lemon chicken:
1 large chicken, jointed into 8-10 pieces
Salt and pepper
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
A few thyme sprigs
A splash of sherry vinegar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
1 lemon, finely sliced
Bunch of flatleaf parsley, chopped

1 kg floury potatoes (e.g., King Edward), peeled
Salt and pepper
30g butter
Bunch of spring onions (8-10), trimmed and chopped
100ml double cream
100ml whole milk

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Brown the chicken pieces (in batches if necessary) over a high heat with the garlic and thyme for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Return all the chicken to the pan, add the sherry vinegar and bubble until reduced by half. Drizzle over the soy sauce and honey and shake the pan to mix.

Pour in a good splash of hot water and add the lemon slices. Let the liquid bubble and reduce down until syrupy, which will take about 10 minutes or so. By now the chicken should be cooked through.

Cut the potatoes into similar-sized chunks and boil in salted water for about 10 minutes, until tender when pierced with a small sharp knife. Drain well.

Mash the potatoes while still hot, using a potato ricer if you have one, then stir through the butter and spring onions.

Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Take off the heat and gradually pour on to the potatoes, mixing well. If the mash is too thick, add a little extra milk. Season generously.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and sprinkle over the chopped parsley, serve with the champ and green beans.


Moroccan baked chicken with chickpeas and rice January 23, 2010

Posted by Helen in chicken.
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Another delicious dish, courtesy of Delia, which I loved but which didn’t impress my husband. Ah, well. All the more for me! I also love this recipe because everything cooks in one dish, making my life much easier. The recipe, as written, serves 4, so I halved it. Also, rather than using a whole chicken, I used a breast for me and a couple of thighs for the husband. I also substituted tinned chickpeas for dried since I had them on hand.











1 x 1½-2 kg chicken, jointed into 8 pieces; or use a pack of 8 drumsticks and thighs
11og dried chickpeas
175g brown basmati rice
1 level tsp cumin seeds
1 level tbsp coriander seeds
½ level tsp saffron stamens
2 small lemons
2 yellow peppers
2 onions
2 tbsp olive oil
15g fresh coriander
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 fresh chillies,  halved, de-seeded and finely chopped
275ml chicken stock
150ml dry white wine
50g pitted black olives
50g pitted green olives
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).

If you’re using dried (rather than tinned) chickpeas, there are two ways to deal with them. The easiest is to pop them into a bowl, cover them with cold water and leave them overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours. But, if it slips your mind, what you can do is place them in a saucepan, cover them with cold water and bring them up to the boil for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let them soak for 3 hours. Either way, when you want to start making this recipe, the chickpeas need to be simmered for 20 minutes or until tender. Honestly, I found it much easier using tinned chickpeas, and the dish still tasted lovely.

Place a small frying pan over direct medium heat, add the cumin and coriander seeds and toss them around in a hot pan for about 2-3 minutes or until they start to dance and change colour. Then remove the seeds to a pestle and mortar and crush them coarsely and transfer them to a plate. Next, crush the saffron stamens to a powder with the pestle and mortar, then squeeze out the juice of one of the lemons and add it to the saffron, stirring well.

Then season your chicken pieces well with salt and pepper. Slice the peppers in half, remove the seeds and pith and cut each half into 4 large pieces. The onions should be sliced roughly the same size as the peppers. Now heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the flameproof casserole and, when it’s really hot, brown the chicken pieces on all sides – don’t overcrowd the pan; it’s best to do it in 2 batches, 4 pieces at a time.

After that, remove the chicken pieces to a plate, then add the second tablespoon of oil and turn the heat to its highest setting. When the oil is really hot, add the peppers and onions and cook them in the hot oil, moving them around until their edges are slightly blackened – this should take about 5 minutes – then turn the heat down. Strip the coriander leaves from the stalks, wrap them in a piece of clingfilm and keep them in the fridge. Then chop the coriander stalks finely and add these to the peppers and onions, along with the garlic, chillies, crushed spices, the chickpeas and rice, then give everything a good stir to distribute all the ingredients.

Season well with salt and pepper, then combine the lemon and saffron mixture with the stock and wine, pour it all in to the casserole and stir well. Cut the remaining lemon into thin slices and push these well into the liquid. Now scatter the olives in and, finally, place the pieces of chicken on top of everything. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour or until the rice and chickpeas are tender. Then, just before serving, scatter the coriander leaves on top and serve straight away.

Chicken pot pie November 26, 2009

Posted by Helen in chicken, pie.
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This dish is the ultimate in comfort food. I got the recipe some years ago from Epicurious, and it’s become a real favourite ever since. It’s not your typical creamy chicken pot pie filling; rather the filling has a lighter more broth-like consistency, which I prefer. The use of a bouquet garni in making the sauce also gives it a real depth of flavour which you don’t often get in chicken pies.

This usually gives us another day of leftovers, but we had a hungry supper guest so, sadly, the pie was all gone by the end of the evening.

1 block of frozen puff pastry, thawed
Bouquet garni: 6 parsley sprigs, 6 thyme sprigs, a handful of celery leaves and 2 bay leaves – tied up in muslin
Knob butter
1 shallot, chopped finely
120g diced celery
700ml chicken stock
680g boneless skinless chicken breast
236ml whipping cream
1-285g potato, peeled and cut into cubes
Handful of sliced mushrooms
140g frozen peas

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Place parsley, thyme, celery leaves and bay leaves on a piece of dampened muslin, gather and tie securely.

Melt a knob of butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and celery and sauté for five minutes. Add the chicken stock and the bouquet garni and bring to the boil. Add the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 15 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and put on a dish.

Bring the liquid back to the boil and reduce by about a third – for about 15 minutes. Add the cream and return to the boil. Add the potato and mushrooms and simmer for 10 minutes, until the potato is tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Carefully spoon out the bouquet garni, squeezing any juices from it back into the saucepan.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan, along with the peas. Season to taste.

Pour the mixture into a deep pie dish or a baking dish.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and place it on top of the baking dish – press the overhand to the sides of the dish. Brush the pastry top with a beaten egg. I use any remaining scraps of pastry to roll out some decorations for the top of the pie – I made three little leaves in the picture above. Place them on the pastry and brush with the beaten egg.

Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. I usually put a baking tray underneath to catch any drips as the filling tends to bubble up and over.

I served it with carrots tossed in a bit of butter with fresh chopped parsley.

Chicken salad November 24, 2009

Posted by Helen in chicken, salad.
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Yet another way to use up a bit of the inevitable leftover roast chicken – this is what happens when your husband insists on a roast every Sunday.

Shred bits of chicken with mayonnaise, chopped fresh tarragon, green seedless grapes cut in halves, a good handful of sunflower seeds and salt and pepper to taste. I served it over baby gem lettuce.

Pan-fried chicken breast with goat’s cheese November 20, 2009

Posted by Helen in chicken, pasta.
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This Gordon Ramsay recipe was a bit of a risk, given that I have a husband who doesn’t like either pasta or cooked cheese. But I took the chance and it was delicious! The husband’s verdict was, “It wasn’t horrible,” which is high praise indeed for a pasta dish. I’ll definitely be making this again.

The photo here is a cheat. I forgot to take a picture, so this one is from the Channel 4 website. Mine actually looked exactly like this, which is pretty rare!:








2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed in their skins
4 skinless chicken breasts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g butter, plus a few knobs of butter for the chicken
300g dried penne (or other pasta)
1-2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
A few rosemary sprigs, needles picked and finely chopped
250g runner beans, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
Extra virgin olive oil
150g firm goat’s cheese log
50g pine nuts (Gordon Ramsay didn’t mention toasting his, but I’d never use pine nuts untoasted!)

Infuse the oil with the garlic in an ovenproof pan over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Pat the chicken breasts dry with kitchen paper then season with sea salt and black pepper. Fry the chicken for 5-6 minutes then turn over and continue to cook the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Add a few knobs of butter towards the end of cooking and baste the chicken with the pan juices and oils, until cooked through and golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water according to pack timings or until al dente.

Meanwhile, melt 75g butter in a large pan, add the chilli and rosemary and warm over a low heat for 1-2 minutes to let the flavours infuse. Turn up the heat, add the runner beans and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. (I cooked them longer than this, and they still had a nice bite to them. The timings recommended here weren’t enough to cook the beans through at all.)

Drain the pasta and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil, then tip into the pan with the beans. Toss together then remove from the heat. Slice the chicken and add to the pan. Crumble the cheese over and mix well, adding a splash of boiling water if the sauce is too thick. Finally, season to taste and scatter with the pine nuts. Serve in warm pasta bowls.

Chicken stoup November 17, 2009

Posted by Helen in chicken, soups.
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I call this Chicken Stoup because it can’t seem to decide whether it’s soup or stew. Soup + stew = stoup. In any case, it’s a really good way to use up leftover chicken from the Sunday roast. It does take quite a long time, but it’s not at all labour-intensive. Plus, it makes your kitchen smell fantastic.

Put your chicken carcass in a large pot, cover with cold water and add salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour.

Meanwhile, chop up whatever vegetables you want to use. I used a couple of cloves of garlic, an onion, a few carrots, a couple of parsnips and some celery stalks. Sauté them all in a bit of butter over low heat for a few minutes.

When your chicken has finished simmering, pull it out of the pot and strain the liquid through a sieve. Then tear all the bits of chicken off the carcass – at this point, they should come off very easily.

Put the liquid back in the pot along with the vegetables and chicken bits. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Add some chopped potato and simmer for a further 30 minutes, until the potato and all the other vegetables are done. Add a generous handful of chopped parsley and season to taste.

Serve with lots of good crusty bread.