food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘poultry and game’ Category

christmas 2017

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This year our Christmas lunch was a lovely eclectic mixture of food. Our guests brought the entree of antipasti.

For the main course we roasted butterflied chickens over charcoal with a garlic, sage and rosemary butter under the skin. We added oak chips from Chardonnay barrels to the fire for a smoky flavour. Our gravy was Chef John’s turkey gravy recipe made with chicken wings instead.

Side dishes included potatoes and heirloom carrots cooked in duck fat, a lovely fresh salad,

and a wonderful stuffing following this recipe.

My next post will be dedicated to our Christmas dessert.

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Written by michelle picker

December 27, 2017 at 12:18 am

chicken in a chorizo and red wine sauce

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This wonderful recipe, from The Foods and Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas, is a family favourite. Serve it with crusty bread, a fresh green salad and a robust red wine.

This recipe is for a whole jointed chicken but any bone-in chicken will work. Season your chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and dust them lightly with a little flour. In a large, heavy casserole dish heat some olive oil and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Depending on how large your pot is, you may have to remove the chicken to a plate at this stage. Add 1 large finely chopped onion, 1 finely diced carrot, 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 skinned and finely chopped chorizo sausage. Sauté this mixture until the onions wilt. Add 2 tablespoons of brandy and flame to remove the alcohol. If you have removed the chicken, return it to the pot with 1 finely diced pimiento (skinned sweet red pepper), 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of finely chopped parsley, ½ of a teaspoon of fresh thyme, ½ a cup of chicken stock and 1 cup of dry red wine. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 – 1½ hours until the chicken is falling from the bone.

Written by michelle picker

December 20, 2017 at 12:10 am

greek lemon chicken and potatoes

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Looking for a simple meal that’s enticing and delicious? Here is a wonderful version of this Greek classic from Chef John at Food Wishes.

Preheat your oven to 220ºC (425ºF). Cut a chicken into 6-8 pieces (I left the breasts whole as they cook more quickly) and place them in a large bowl. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add 1 teaspoon each of dried rosemary and oregano, some cayenne pepper to taste, 6 cloves of minced garlic, and ½ a cup each of freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Peel and quarter 3 large potatoes and add them as well. Mix well to coat everything with the marinade then place the chicken pieces and potatoes into a lightly oiled roasting pan, reserving the marinade. Pour ⅔ of a cup of chicken stock around the chicken and potato pieces then spoon the marinade onto the top of each piece. Roast in the oven until the chicken pieces are golden brown and cooked through, turning in the marinade now and then but leaving the skin side facing up. When the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken pieces to a serving platter. Toss the potatoes in their marinade again. Turn the oven to high or transfer to a grill (broiler) and finish the potatoes until they are golden brown and the marinade is a little caramelised. Remove the potatoes to the platter and deglaze the roasting pan with a little more chicken stock to loosen it. Taste for seasoning and pour it over the chicken and potatoes (you can strain it if you prefer).  Serve with a salad of greens and feta with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing.

Written by michelle picker

October 18, 2017 at 12:18 am

hainanese chicken rice

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Adapted from early Chinese immigrants from Hainan province in Southern China, Hainanese Chicken Rice is a popular street food in Singapore and Malaysia. There are many different cooking methods and the dipping sauces seem to be a personal choice. I chose to follow Rosemary Brissenden’s recipe from her book South East Asian Food.

The chicken is steeped rather than boiled and this gives a tender juicy result. First remove the 2 pads of fat from near the opening of your chicken and keep them. Boil a pot of water large enough to fit your chicken and fill enough to immerse it completely. When the water boils add the chicken, 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic, an equal amount of sliced ginger and ½ a brown onion. Boil for 2-3 minutes then take the pot off the heat and allow the chicken to steep for 30 minutes. Repeat this one more time and the chicken should be cooked. While the chicken is cooking you can make your sauces. I made a chilli/ginger sauce and a sweet soy sauce. For the chilli/ginger sauce, with a mortar and pestle pound 6 chopped red chillies with 3 chopped cloves of garlic and an equal amount of diced ginger until they become a paste. Season with salt to taste and a drizzle of white rice vinegar. If you need more moisture add a little of the chicken stock. For the sweet soy sauce, caramelise some sugar and add soy sauce to taste. While the chicken cooks you can also prepare some chopped coriander (cilantro) and spring onion for garnish as well as slicing some cucumber and tomato as an accompaniment to the meal. When the chicken is cooked remove it to a plate and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Now take the chicken fat and in a saucepan fry it in some oil until the fat renders then remove the solids. Rinse and drain your rice and add it to the saucepan, cooking for a few minutes until coated with the fat and a little translucent. Add the chicken stock (for 2 cups of rice you will need 3 cups of stock) and some salt to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile season the remaining chicken stock to taste with salt and white pepper. Traditionally the chicken is  garnished with chopped coriander and spring onion and chopped then eaten with rice, cucumber and tomato, a small bowl of soup and the dipping sauces.

minced chicken salad

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Loosely based on Thai Larb, this minced chicken salad makes a tasty summer meal.

lao-style-chicken-salad

To cook the chicken you will need some Thai chilli paste in soya oil. Add 3 tablespoons of the paste and some of the oil to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add 450g (1 lb) of minced chicken thigh meat and cook, mixing well and breaking the mince into small pieces. If necessary add a little water. When the chicken is cooked set it aside to cool. In a bowl make a salad of finely shredded celery, finely sliced red onion, julienned carrot, plenty of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and mint, bean thread noodles (cooked for 2 minutes and shocked under cold running water), chopped cucumber, chopped tomatoes, finely chopped fresh red chilli and chopped roasted peanuts. When the chicken has cooled add it to the salad and season with fish sauce and fresh lime juice to taste.

Written by michelle picker

April 17, 2017 at 5:51 am

red-cooked duck legs

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Red cooking is a Chinese method of slow braising. Popular throughout most of northern, eastern, and southeastern China, the name is derived from the dark red-brown colour of the cooked items and their sauce. Here is a version using duck legs.

red-cooked-duck

First place your duck legs into a cold pan and turn the heat to medium. Allow the fat to render out of the duck and the skin to brown. Meanwhile soak 8-10 whole dried mushrooms in boiling water allowing them to soften. In a pressure cooker or saucepan with a lid, heat a little of the duck fat and fry 2 diced shallots, 3 diced cloves of garlic and a diced knob of ginger. Add 1 whole star anise and 1 teaspoon of Szechuan peppercorns. When the shallots are translucent add the duck legs, 2-3 whole carrots, 4 chopped spring onions, 2 red birds-eye chillies, ½ a cup of chicken stock, a splash of shaoxing wine, ½ a teaspoon of sesame oil, 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of Chinese thick caramel sauce and the soaked mushrooms. Cover and cook until the duck is tender and pulling away from the bone. In a pressure cooker 25-30 minutes will be enough otherwise you will need at least 1-1½ hours, making sure from time to time that there is enough liquid in the pot.  Serve with steamed rice and green vegetables.

I served mine with bok choy (pak choi).

bok-choy-with-oyster-sauce

Wash and separate the leaves of the bok choy or if they are very young you can cook them whole. Bring a pot of water to boil and add some salt. Drop the bok choy into the water and cook for a few minutes until tender. Drain well and toss in 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil and ground white pepper to taste.

Written by michelle picker

March 6, 2017 at 5:44 am

chicken with cardamom rice + spinach salad with dates

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Two fragrant dishes from JERUSALEM by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

This one-pot chicken and rice dish is wonderfully spiced, rich with caramelised onions, tangy with barberries and fresh with herbs.

chicken-with-onions-and-rice

First put 2-3 tablespoons of sugar into a small saucepan with an equal amount of water and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add 25g (less than 1 oz)  of dried barberries and set aside to soak. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large sauté pan which has a lid. Fry 2 finely sliced onions over medium heat until quite brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. For this recipe you can either cut a whole chicken into pieces or use portions. Place them in a bowl and season well with 1½ teaspoons of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add 10 bruised cardmom pods, 2 broken cinnamon quills, ½ a teaspoon of whole cloves and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well with your hands. Heat the pan again and sear the chicken pieces on each side for a few minutes then remove from the pan. Now add 300g (10½ oz) of basmati rice to the pan along with the caramelised onions, the strained barberries, 1 teaspoon of salt and more freshly ground black pepper. Stir well then push the chicken pieces into the rice. Pour in 550ml (18½ fl oz) of boiling water then cover the pan and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and quickly replace with a tea towel or paper towels under it. Allow to stand for a further 10 minutes. Garnish with 15g (½ oz) of chopped herbs consisting of equal parts parsley, dill and coriander (cilantro).

This baby spinach salad with dates and almonds has a wonderful balance of fresh, tart, sweet and crunchy elements.

spinach-salad-with-dates

In a small bowl combine ½ a finely sliced red onion, 100g (3½ oz) of pitted and quartered Medjool dates, a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Mix well and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile heat 1½ tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a fry pan. Add approximately 100g (3½ oz) of torn pita bread and 75g (2½ oz) of roughly chopped whole almonds. Cook, stirring, until the pita pieces are crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and add 2 teaspoons of sumac, ½ a teaspoon of chilli flakes and ¼ of a teaspoon of salt. Set aside to cool. When ready to serve, place baby spinach leaves, the pita and almonds and the drained dates and onions in a salad bowl. Add a little olive oil, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and some salt to taste. Toss and serve immediately.