Category Archives: Chicken

Chicken Tagine with Spinach, Olives & Preserved Lemons

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Whale received multiple Moroccan themed ingredients and a tagine for her birthday so naturally this is the result. On a side note we’re also going to Marrakech in the summer. I’m sure you could do this without using a tagine – a large casserole dish would probably suffice. Recipe modified from a gorgeous book – The Food of Morocco.

Ingredients

Marinade

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp garlic paste or 1 clove crushed
good pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp of lemon juice

Tagine

4 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
3 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 pickled lemons, quartered
few strands of saffron
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
good handful spinach
200ml chicken stock
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
handful pitted olives
large handful fresh coriander, chopped

Method

Make up marinade in a large sandwich bag (or a plastic bowl). Add the chicken, give a good squidge around and stick in the fridge for a few hours.

When ready to cook, put the saffron in 2 tbsp warm water. In a large frying pan sweat the onions over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the garlic for and sweat for a further 2-3 minutes. Tip half the onions into the tagine (put the other half to one side) add the chicken stock and saffron water, then layer over with lentils and spinach.

In the frying pan fry the chicken with the cinnamon and turmeric then once sealed add on top of the spinach, with the preserved lemon quarters. Stick the tagine in a cold oven and put on 160oC/320oC/gas mark 3 for 45-60 minutes. 5 minutes before serving take the tagine out, top with the remaining onions, olives and chopped coriander and stick back in the oven. Serve with a side order of tagine bread (recipe to come).

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Summer Chicken Tray Bake

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Inspired from a recipe in the Hairy Bikers “Hairy Dieters” book. Their recipe included chorizo (75g, thinly sliced) which would have been a fabulous addition, alas none was to be found in my house. This is a really pretty and straight-forward dish and would make a great centre-piece for people to help themselves, on its own or accompanied by a leafy salad.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

4-5 chicken breasts (approx 600-700g) deeply slashed every inch or so
2 red onions, cut into 8 wedges
500g new potatoes, cut into inch cubes if large/left whole if small
8 whole garlic cloves, in their skins
4 large tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges
10 or so sundried tomatoes, halved
handful asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano/mixed herbs
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 peppers (colour of your choosing!) cut into 1cm thick strips
salt and pepper
lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Stick onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin. Season with plenty of pepper and a little salt, drizzle with a little oil (I used the oil from the sundried tomatoes) turn everything over with a spoon or similar implement. Roast for 20 minutes. Mix the paprika, turmeric and oregano and set aside.

Put the chicken breasts on a board, season all over with ground pepper. Remove the vegetables from the oven, sprinkle over half of the spice mix, shake/turn to coat. Add the sundried tomatoes (and chorizo if you’re lucky enough to have some!). Lay the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the rest of the spice mix – open up the slices and try to get some in if possible. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove the tin from the oven. Holding one corner (use oven gloves, obviously) tip the tray ever so slightly so the juices run down to the opposite corner. I recommend tipping it slightly away from you as if there are any spillages at least it will go toward the relative safety of the top of the oven and not all over you and the floor! Spoon the juice back over everything – concentrate more on the chicken. Add the pepper strips around the chicken.

Return the tray to the oven and turn up to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7 for ten minutes. Remove and lay the asparagus spears over the top of everything. Return to the oven one final time for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Stab a couple of the potatoes to ensure they’re cooked through and serve.

J

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Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Chicken Stir Fry

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As I’m currently on Easter break I am home for a while which means I have access to many more (free) ingredients than I would do normally. Hence this stir fry has got everything I could get my hands on in! It could easily work with a lot fewer ingredients.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

400g chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
½ broccoli, cut into small florets
handful red chard, leaves stripped from stems, stems sliced
½ karela*, cut horizontally into strips
1 red pepper cut into strips
1 cup of peas
handful peanuts
handful cashew nuts

*also known as bitter melon apparently, I picked one up in the supermarket because it looked interesting. This really is pretty bitter, though grated in the marinade it gets cooked through nicely and loses its edge much more than when left in chunks. If I use it again I think I will probably grate it all.

Marinade

6 spring onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated
½ bitter melon, grated
thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp chilli powder
3 tsp coriander
1 piece galangal, broken into a few pieces
zest and juice of ½ a lemon
zest and juice of ½ a lime
1 kafir lime leaf
handful fresh basil, torn up
handful fresh coriander, torn up
1 stick lemongrass, slightly crushed
glug sesame oil

Serve with noodles

Method

Usually I would advice cutting everything up first but seeing as your chicken is going to want to marinade for a while it makes sense to do the marinade first. Stick all the marinade ingredients into a large bowl. Give a good mix then add the chicken and smush around until everything is relatively evenly coated. Cover with clingfilm and stick in the fridge. I left mine for an hour or so. Go get cutting!

If possible get a wok, preferably one with a lid. (You could use a frying pan but it would have to be pretty mega). Toast the nuts for a few minutes then set aside. Fetch your marinaded chicken from the fridge. Heat a fairly large glug of oil (sesame if you have it, but this is by no means essential) over a high heat. Add the chicken and fry off for a few minutes, until cooked through. Remove and put to one side.

Put a saucepan onto boil for your noodles. Fry up the onions for 7-8 minutes then add a little water to the wok and throw in the broccoli. Stick the lid on and steam for 5 minutes or so. Remove lid, stir, add carrots and chard stalks, replace lid. After a further five minutes add the peas, chard leaves and re-add the chicken and nuts. Heat everything through while you cook your noodles. Depending on personal preference either add the noodles to the wok or just put them on a plate and add the stir fry on top.

J

what, no kitchen sink?

 

‘Don’t-Ignore-Me’ Chicken Korma

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I get the impression Chicken Korma is somewhat of an unloved second-cousin to what springs to most people’s minds when they think of curry. This reputation is no doubt bolstered by the fairly weedy offerings from supermarkets and take-aways and in my opinion is completely undeserved.

Korma can be delicious. Creamy, nutty, spicy, it’s a wonderful taste experience. This recipe is taken almost verbatim from John Gregory-Smith’s Mighty Spice cookbook, a Christmas present from my sister. It’s extremely quick – although you will need some kind of processor/blender – so if you’re after curry-in-a-hurry you could probably knock this up quicker than you could order and receive a take-away.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

2 medium chicken breasts, cut into bitesize pieces
1 tin coconut milk
50g cashew nuts (or almonds)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot chopped into thin strips
2.5cm piece fresh ginger
1 small chilli
1 heaped tsp coriander
1 heaped tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
good few twists of pepper
1 heaped tsp hot curry powder
juice of 1 lime

Method

Add the coconut milk, nuts, ginger, chilli, coriander, cumin and salt to the food processor and whizz until smooth.

Heat a little oil in a decent-sized frying pan/saucepan over a medium heat and add the onions. Sweat for 5 minutes then add the curry powder, stirring to coat the onions. Add a little water if it starts to stick to the pan. After a couple more minutes add the chicken and cook, stirring every so often. After a further five minutes throw in the coconut paste and stir to cover everything. Squeeze in the lime juice, bring to the boil then add a lid and reduce to a simmer.

Cook for approx. 15 minutes, stirring every now and again. With 10 mins to go throw in the carrots and for the last 5 minutes, remove the lid and increase the heat to thicken up the sauce – if it gets too thick just add water.

Serve with:

– rice
– naan
– bhaji
– raita
– mango chutney
– all of the above

Sorry, again no photo. Really need to get back into taking pictures of things before I scoff them! You could totally throw in some spinach or kale into this to up the veg content too.

J

Chicken Fajita Bake

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This is what you get when you want to eat chicken fajitas, but realise you don’t have any tortillas – and being lazy, I wasn’t gonna make any. Still this is quite possibly the easiest and most fuss-free dinner I have made in a long time and it tastes pretty damn good too. Sadly I don’t have a photo, because I was actually starving by the time I got round to making dinner, so just imagine…

Insert photo of casserole dish + rice + chicken + golden cheesy topping mmmmye.

Serves two, or one plus a couple of lunches.

Ingredients

1 cup rice (and by that I mean, a standard mug-ish size)
1 large chicken breast (diced)
1 red onion (chopped)
1 orange pepper (chopped)
1 cup of peas (use your imagination)
1 chicken stock cube
2 tsp (plus more if you fancy) fajita spice mix – I made mine a while ago, so I’m not entirely sure what’s in it, but as a rough guide for what is in it if you fancy making your own, see note
decent chunk of extra mature cheese (roughly 8 x 2 x 2 cm)
1 tbsp soured cream or mild cream cheese
glug of sunflower oil

salt and pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 180*. Heat oil in a frying pan and throw in the onions and chopped peppers. Stir for around five minutes to soften, they should not be browning too much. Throw in the chicken and seal the edges – again do not allow it to brown. Add the spices to the pan and stir for around a minute to coat the chicken and veg. Add the uncooked rice (be brave) to the casserole dish and throw in the chicken, onions and pepper mixture.

Cover with boiling water to just cover the food, then add a little bit more. Crumble in the stock cube and add some more spices if you fancy. Season well with salt and pepper. Bang it in the oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove from the oven, give it a stir. If it is looking dry – as in the rice has taken up nearly all the water by this point, add a cup more. Stir in the soured cream or cream cheese. Bake for a further ten minutes. By this stage, there shouldn’t be too much water, but the rice may be a bit sticky. If yours is not, it needs a little longer. When the rice gets to the sticky stage, finely grate the cheese over the top. Bake for 5 minutes until the top is melty and a little bit crispy. YUM.

NOMMMMMM.

W

Fajita spice mix

1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp dried coriander
1 tsp onion powder

Jamaican Chicken & Sweet Potato Pasties

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Long time no blog! We treated ourselves to a holiday last week, Sardinia if anyone gives a hoot. Bloody lovely it was too.

Anyway, since being back we’ve cooked a fair amount, we’re just a little slow on the writing-up at the moment. The following recipe, adapted from an original recipe from the Pieminister “A Pie For All Seasons” cookbook, is how I would do this recipe in future, not quite how I actually cooked it…! I would recommend splitting it over two days; pastry on one and filling on the other. You’re supposed to marinade the chicken overnight too, but I didn’t and it was still bloody tasty!

Serves 6-8

Rough Puff Pastry

Ingredients

400g plain flour
400g butter (straight from fridge)
100ml cold water
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt

Optional:

1 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
few grinds of black pepper

Method

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, salt (and optional ingredients if included) and butter in small cubes. DON’T RUB IT IN (like I did…*ahem*). Add the lemon juice to the water and pour in ¾ of the water and stir together with a spoon. Apparently they key is to get to a slightly sticky mixture with clumps of butter. If necessary stir in the rest of the water, a spoonful at a time.

Flour a work-surface and turn the dough out, flouring the top of the dough too so the rolling pin doesn’t stick. Roll out into a rectangle approx. 8mm thick (ish). Fold over the top third into the middle and the bottom third on top of that, give it a quarter turn and roll out again. Make sure to keep flouring the surface or the dough will stick. Fold up once more, stick on a sheet of clingfilm and whack in the fridge for 20 minutes. Take out and repeat a couple more times. Stick back on the clingfilm and leave in the fridge till needed.

Filling

Ingredients

250g chicken meat, diced
400g tin of kidney beans
300ml coconut milk
1 mug of peas
1 medium – large sweet potato, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 egg, beaten

Marinade

3 cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
1 chilli, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
2tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey/golden syrup
juice and zest of 1 lime
juice and zest of 1 lemon
juice and zest of 1 orange
bunch of fresh thyme, roughly torn
bunch of fresh coriander, roughly torn

Method

Chuck all the marinade ingredients together, add the chicken and give a good old mix. If you can wait, leave it overnight.

Steam/broil the carrots & sweet potato until they start to go soft. Add some oil to a frying pan and bring to “smoking point” (i.e. when you can see wisps of smoke rising from the pan). Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry until it starts to go golden. Add the marinade and the coconut milk and reduce for 10 minutes. Throw in the kidney beans, peas, sweet potato and carrot, give a good stir and leave to reduce until a thick, sticky sauce.

Turn the oven to 180oC/350oF/gas mark 4. Fetch your pastry and divide into 6 large/8 medium/10 small/12 mini portions. Flour your work surface and roll each portion into a rough circle, approx. 3mm thick. Spoon out some of the filling into each round, leaving a border. Paint each border with the beaten egg then fold up each side so they meet in the middle and squash together with your fingers. Stick on a baking sheet on a baking tray and brush each pasty with the rest of the egg. Stick in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Share among friends or save spares for tasty lunchbox treats.

J

Larb Gai Thai Chicken Salad

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So I stumbled across this dish the other day and amalgamated all the online recipes I found into my own. I couldn’t wait to try it out, so when W rang to say she was having a miserable journey home I jumped at the opportunity when she (jokingly…I think) asked me to come over and make her dinner. I’m just that kind of guy.

This is a bit “wetter” than a traditional larb gai, I think. I would call this a medium-hot dish with the spicing suggested, however it is entirely subjective. For example, my sister’s head would probably have exploded had she got her gnashers round it but a hardened curry connoisseur probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Or bowl an earlobe. Or catch a nosehair.

Serves 3-4 (or 2 with leftovers for lunch)

Ingredients

400g chicken breast, cut into strips
200ml coconut milk/cream
1 medium red onion, diced
6 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
4 tbsp cashews/peanuts/almonds, crushed
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric*
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (or one small fresh chilli, diced)

*I just so happened to have some fresh turmeric (*cough* stolen from home).
I grated a piece approx 3cm x 1cm (length x diameter) into the dish

to serve:
handful green beans/mange tout
handful fresh mint leaves
mixed leaf salad
rice

Method

Put the rice on the boil in a saucepan. Toast the nuts in a frying pan (without oil) until browned, then remove and place somewhere for safe keeping (trying not to eat them while you make the rest of the dish!). Add a little oil and sear the chicken on a high heat until it starts to brown. Chuck in the onion, spring onions, garlic, sugar and spices and give a good stir. Then pour in the coconut cream, soy sauce and squeeze in most of the lime juice – leaving just a little oomph left in your lime. Try saying that ten times quickly.

Drain your rice (once cooked, obviously) and stick back in the saucepan. Reduce the liquid until you’ve got a sauce that’s somewhere between sticky and runny and throw the whole lot in with the rice. Add the nuts back in (if you’ve got any left) – taking them out means they don’t go soft in the liquid as it reduces.

Throw some salad on a plate, then add your chicken and rice mix and top with a few green beans, the mint leaves (casually ripped) and a final squeeze of your now extensively mined lime. In the past year I have discovered a love for uncooked vegetables, which is somewhat embarrassing as I always used to mock my dad for his similar love, hence my beans were raw. Feel free however to chuck them into the mix as the sauce reduces if you prefer your greens less crunchy.

et voilà.

Here are some suggestions of potential additions/substitutions

– Roasted rice powder – I might do this next time. Add dry rice to a frying pan and toast on a high heat until brown, then grind down with a pestle and mortar
– Fish sauce
– Ginger
– Lemongrass
– Cumin

J