Tag Archives: Chicken

Creamy Tarragon Chicken

Creamy Tarragon Chicken

Creamy Tarragon Chicken

I can’t really claim ownership or inspiration for this recipe, I mean, it is a classic.  Chicken, tarragon, mushrooms, cream – that’s your base, but what my contribution has been is tailoring it to my own taste and probably simplifying it a little.  Another diversion from the classic I’ve allowed myself is from most standard recipes is I like to use a bit of the old Noilly Prat, most others use white wine, which of course you are free to do, I wouldn’t expect you to go out and buy a bottle of Noilly just for this dish.  This is a great warming supper for a cold night, hearty and filling.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves 4 to 6
1 x tbsp of olive oil
2 x tsps. unsalted butter
2 x medium sized leeks, chopped finely
4 x large garlic cloves, chopped finely
8 x chicken thighs
50ml / 1.7 fl. oz. Noilly Prat (if you don’t have this you can use white wine)
10 x sprigs of fresh tarragon, chopped finely
400ml / 13.5 fl. oz.  x good quality chicken stock (no cubes, please)
250gr / 9 oz. chestnut mushrooms, chopped roughly
125gr / 4.5 oz. cubed bacon
50ml / 1.7 fl. oz.  single cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Creamy Tarragon Chicken

Method

  1. Heat the oil and butter and add the chicken to the pan to brown. If you move the meat too soon once it’s in the pan it will stick, so resist the temptation and leave it a good few minutes on each side.  You may need to do this in batches as all the surface of the meat will need to touch the bottom of the pan so it can turn golden brown.
  2. Remove the chicken and set it aside on a plate.
  3. Add the bacon to brown, without cleaning the pan. This should take a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the leeks garlic and about 80% of the tarragon. Turn the heat down a little and allow the leeks to soften, this should take about 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Put the chicken back into the pan.
  6. Turn the heat back up and add the Noilly Prat – it should hit the heat of the pan with a good sizzle.
  7. Add the stock and a little salt and pepper – err on the side of caution with the salt as the amount you need will depend on the saltiness of your stock.
  8. Cover with a close fitting lid and allow to simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through. This will take about 20 minutes.  You can check when the chicken is ready by inserting a knife into the thickest part of the meat close to the bone and if the juice runs clear, it’s cooked.
  9. Add the mushrooms, the rest of the tarragon and the cream. Stir through and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes until the mushrooms are ready.
  10. Check the seasoning and serve.

Tips and Variations

  • I like to serve this with some boiled white rice or potatoes and maybe some broccoli.

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  Creamy Tarragon Chicken

Asian Spiced Chicken Drumsticks

Asian Spiced Chicken Drumsticks

Asian Spiced Chicken Drumsticks

I’m not trying to jump on the bandwagon or anything when I say I don’t eat a lot of meat, but  I don’t.  It has been a conscious decision, I used to eat a lot (too much) red and processed meat every day, in fact, I ate too much of everything every day.  When I say I don’t eat much now, I’m talking more about portion sizes.  I still eat red meat, maybe once a week at home, but mostly when I eat out – it’s a treat after all.  My meat of choice at home is chicken, or fish, but mostly chicken –  which I eat at home probably twice a week (maybe even more), so I’m always looking for and coming up with lots of ideas as to how to cook it.

I used to use a lot of skinless chicken fillets, but, to be very honest, there’s not much flavour there, so I’m a real convert to thigh and leg meat.  Here’s my latest way to enjoy a drumstick.

Marinating Time: Minimum an hour, but up to 5 hours.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 to 30 minutes

Serves 4
The Chicken
12 chicken drumsticks.
For the Marinade
75gr / 2.5 oz.  grated ginger
2 x tsp 5 spice powder
2 x tsp chilli powder (or more if you want it hotter)
3 x tbsp light soy sauce
4 x tbsp honey
4 x tbsp tomato ketchup
Juice of 2 limes (about 4 to 5 tbsp)
3 x cloves of garlic, crushed
2 x tbsp sesame oil

To Dress
A couple of finely chopped spring onions (scallions)
Some toasted sesame seeds
Optional – some natural yogurt

Method

  1. Mix the ingredients for the marinade together in a large bowl. Using a sharp knife make a couple of deep slashes on each of the drumsticks so that marinade can get around the meat. Place the chicken in it and cover in the drumsticks in the mix.  Cover the bowl with some cling film and put in the fridge to marinate.
  2. Set the oven to heat to 200°C / 400°F. Line a roasting tray with aluminium foil, place the chicken pieces into it and pour over any remaining marinade.
  3. The drumsticks need about 20 to 30 minutes to cook. This will depend on how meaty those legs are and also how your oven works.  Check the chicken after 20 minutes by inserting a sharp knife to the thickest part of the meat close to the bone and if is ready the meat should be white and any juices should be clear.  You want colour on the outside and a succulent inside.
  4. If there is enough marinade in the roasting tray, you can mix it with a little natural yogurt (to your taste) and serve as a dip with the drumsticks.
  5. To serve, sprinkle the drumsticks with some toasted sesame seeds and the chopped spring onions.

Tips and Variations

  • You can make these in advance and serve at room temperature – good for picnics.
  • I like to serve the drumsticks with some rice and a simple salad.

Asian Spiced Chicken Drumsticks

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken Soup

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken Soup

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken Soup

I plan my meals, all of them, a week in advance.  Yeah, I know it makes me sound like some sort of control freak but I have good reason.  I am incapable of making decisions (sensible, normal ones) about food when I’m hungry, tired or just too busy.   And I HATE shopping for food, I love to eat, and to cook, but shopping, no, not my thing.  And, I just don’t have time to shop more than once a week.  If I want to eat tasty meals, I need to plan, so there it is.  Although, it doesn’t mean that I’m inflexible, I can be talked into eating out very, very easily.  I swap meals and mix it up a bit, so I do divert from my plans, practically every week.  But that’s OK, the only rule I have for myself is that I really do try not to waste food (which, is another benefit of planning).

This recipe was born out of my plans going a little off piste last Saturday.   I was planning to make a chicken soup, but my original idea was to make it British broth style.  The only thing was though, I didn’t know at the time that I’d end up having a few drinks on the Friday night which lead to me feeling, hmm, what can I say, a little ‘tired’ on the Saturday.  When I’m in that state I very often crave Chinese takeaway, but I knew that I’d be much better off cooking something for myself instead of overloading on whatever it is they put in those meals.  But I still wanted that sweet, sour, salty and tangy flavour.  So this is what happened – my conclusion?  I should go out more often for a few cheeky drinks on a Friday.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Serves 4 to 6
1 x tbsp sunflower oil
1 x large onion chopped finely
2 x red peppers, de-seeded and cut into strips
1 x large carrot, sliced thinly with a vegetable peeler
1 x liter of chicken stock (good quality – no cubes please!)
4 x large garlic cloves chopped finely
4 x boneless chicken thighs, skins removed, sliced in thin strips
1 x tin of chopped tomatoes (400gr / 14 oz.)
4 x spring onions ( chopped into 2.5cm / 1 x in. pieces)
1 x tsp paprika powder
1 x tsp 5 spice
3 x tbsp light soy sauce
4 x tbsp Chinese rice vinegar
2 x tbsp honey
50ml of tomato ketchup
Fresh black pepper
Juice of a lime

To Dress (optional)
Sliced cucumber, fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped red chili’s

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a high sided pan and add the onion, garlic and pepper. Stir through, add the stock, tin of tomatoes, paprika powder, 5 spice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ketchup and a few grinds of some fresh black pepper.
  2. Allow the broth to come to a simmer and add the chicken. Cover and cook letting the soup bubble gently for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken has cooked.
  3. Add the spring onions (scallions) and carrot. Cover and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add the lime juice, stir through, check for seasoning and balance of flavours and adjust to your taste before serving.

Tips and Variations

  • If you use less stock and reduce the soup, you will get a thicker result which you can serve over rice.
  • Try lots of different vegetables in this soup – it’s a great way to use up veggies.

 

Chicken in Preserved Lemon Marinade with Spinach Salad

Chicken in Preserved Lemon Marinade with Spinach Salad

Chicken in Preserved Lemon Marinade with Spinach Salad

I always seem to have some kind of version of this meal in my recipe rotation.  This is the latest.  Inspired this time by preserved lemons.  One of those ingredients that I became aware of a few years ago, but didn’t know how to work with them.  This was my first attempt – seems like my strategy is to stay in my comfort zone of chicken and salad and to experiment from there.  I’m pleased to say that this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes plus up to 2 hours to marinate the chicken.
Cooking Time:  20 minutes

Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Chicken
The meat from 2 to 3 boned, skinned chicken thighs per person
2 x preserved lemons chopped finely
2 x tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon
4 x tbsp honey
3 x tsps coriander
1 x tsp cinnamon
2 x large garlic cloves, crushed
Salt to taste (I always taste this marinade before I add salt because the preserved lemons can be salty enough)
Optional: Some dried chili

Optional: Some toasted almonds to dress

The Spinach and Rice Salad
1 x large red onion chopped finely
100gr / 3.5oz. baby spinach
300gr / 10.5oz. rice, cooked and cooled
4 x tomatoes with their seeds removed and chopped finely
A handful of fresh coriander leaves chopped roughly

Salad Dressing
3 x tbsp olive oil
Juice of one Lemon
2 x tbsp honey
2 x tsp coriander
1 x tsp cumin
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Bring the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl, add your chicken and cover it in the lemon marinade. Cover with cling film and set aside in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours if you can.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F, place the chicken in a roasting tray lined with aluminium foil and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chicken has browned a little and is cooked through.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, you can make the salad. Stir the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  4. Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl and mix them evenly. Only pour over the dressing when you are ready to serve otherwise it will wilt your leaves and the salad will become limp.  Toss the dressing through the salad gently with two large metal spoons.
  5. Check your salad for seasoning and serve the chicken on top with some toasted almonds sprinkled over the dish.

 Tips and Variations

  • If you are making this marinade for a lesser quantity of chicken I keep the measurements the same.
  • Once cooked, the chicken can keep for a couple of days in the fridge – great with all kinds of salads or in a sandwich.
  • The cooking time on your chicken may vary based on the thickness of the meat. If you feel the top is colouring too much before the meat is cooked you can place some aluminium foil over it for part of the cooking time to protect it as well as the chicken from drying out.
  • If there are nice juices in the bottom of your roasting tray, add them to the salad dressing.

 

Roast Chicken 2.0 : Chicken Stock

VegStock copy

Chicken Stock

 

I feel I am on a mission.  After somebody telling me not to post about roast chicken – how dare they.   Well I posted my favourite ‘how to’ roast a chicken yesterday and I feel it is my duty to follow up.  What better way than with a recipe for chicken stock.

Stock is one of those things that people tend to think is only for the cook with either too much time or lots of skill.  Ok, it takes time to make stock, but not ‘active’ time.  And skill?  Well, if you can fill a pa with vegetables, chicken and water, then you have enough skill to make stock.  It only takes you 10 minutes to set the stock going in a pan and then that’s it.  Since I have started making my own stock (I do mostly chicken and vegetable), I can honestly say I’ve never looked back.  I used to rely on those horrible little cubes (you know the ones) to add flavour to my soups, stews and broths, but no more, and what a difference.  I think my personal light bulb moment came when I read the ingredients on the side of those mass produced stocks and it really put me off.  They are basically little pellets of salt and transfats – could there be a worse combination? Yeah, maybe, I once ate a so-called dessert of marshmallows melted in the microwave poured over the ice-cream.   Somebody gave it to me at a dinner party – what do you do?  Anyway, chicken stock.

The other thing about stock is that it appeals to my frugal food nature – I hate to throw food away.  I get a very satisfied feeling (smug actually) when I use every bit of my chicken before discarding the bones.

So, on the next rainy Sunday afternoon, put the stock on to simmer gently, get the newspapers out and kick back.

Chicken Stock Recipe
Ingredients for about 30 frozen ice-cubed sized blocks or soup, stew, or broth for about 15 to 20 portions

Carcass of one chicken (all bones and skin)
1 x large onion, quartered and studded with 5 x cloves
1 x leek cleaned well and cut into 4 pieces
2 x large garlic cloves, crushed with skin
3 x celery stalks (or celery heart) chopped in 3 parts
2 x large carrot chopped in 3 large pieces
3 x bay leaves
1 x handful of thyme
4 or 5 sprigs of rosemary
1 x small handful of black peppercorns
2 x tsps of salt
If you have roasted a chicken on top of onion or other vegetables and herbs, put this all into your stock pan too.

Method

  1. Place all the above ingredients in your biggest pan, and cover with water from a recently boiled kettle.
  2. Bring to the boil and then turn to a gentle simmer for at least 2 hours.
  3. Squeeze and mash the stock with a potato masher a few times, just to release as much flavour as possible.
  4. Strain the mixture, making sure it is clear, place it back in the pan and boil until it reduces to about a third of its original volume. The amount you reduce kind of depends on how you are going to store it. If you want to make iced cubes as this recipe suggests, you can reduce further, but you may wish to use it straight away for soup or another recipe in which case I usually go by taste. When the reduction has reached the concentration off taste that I want, I stop there.
  5. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but if you want to keep it, portion it out and freeze it.

Tips and Variations

  • My stock actually starts when I am roasting a chicken. Underneath the chicken in the oven, I place thickly sliced, one onion, maybe a couple of crushed garlic cloves. Then I cover the bottom of the roasting tin with water, so that this chicken is on top of the onion, and not in the water.
  • Use other parts of vegetables to create this stock. For example, I often use broccoli stalks. They are packed with flavour, and it’s better than throwing them away. Basically any leftover vegetables, or vegetables that are not looking their best are great.
  • When reducing, to decide on the amount, I usually think about what I want to use it for, how concentrated I want the flavour and also how much space I have in the freezer. I find the best way is to reduce until it fills an ice-cube tray (or two) this gives me handy little blocks of flavour that I can drop into any soups or stews.       Once frozen, I empty the cubes into freezer bags.
  • If you reduce it too much by volume, it won’t freeze properly – I think because of fat content.
  • I sometimes skip the freezing in ice-cube containers and just pour (once cooled) a little stock into freezer bags and place those directly in the freezer or small Tupperware containers.