food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘chicken

cooking in the fire

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It’s winter here and when the wood-burning stove is going we take the opportunity to use it for cooking. Sadly, the previous owners who installed the stove didn’t buy one with a stovetop but cooking in coals is an age-old method and seasoned cast iron camp ovens (Dutch ovens) have been used for hundreds of years. To cook in the fireplace we placed the camp oven away from the flames and surrounded it with red-hot coals. It’s important not to have any of the coals underneath as the food will burn onto the bottom. It’s also important to turn the pot every 10 minutes or so.

We chose to make a chicken tagine as the cooking method is very similar. Simply start with a little olive oil and layer your ingredients – we used onion, leek and garlic on the bottom, then fennel and bone-in chicken thighs flavoured with fresh ginger, ground cumin, saffron and preserved lemon and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. On top, chopped fresh dill and coriander (cilantro) and another drizzle of olive oil. Depending on the heat of your fireplace this meal should cook in 30 – 40 minutes.

This method is also brilliant for roasted vegetables of any kind. They taste amazing and get a wonderful char. We included potatoes, pumpkin, red pepper and brussels sprouts. Simply toss the vegetables in some oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Written by michelle picker

November 13, 2018 at 12:14 am

Posted in poultry & game, vegetables

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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.

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

Posted in poultry & game, salad

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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.

Written by michelle picker

August 19, 2017 at 5:42 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.

Written by michelle picker

September 13, 2016 at 6:12 am

chicken and sweetcorn soup

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Every culture has it’s chicken soup and this classic Chinese one is my kind of comfort food.

chicken-and-sweetcorn-soup

First, make a good chicken stock from a boiling fowl or some chicken carcasses with a few slices of fresh ginger in it. When the stock is ready, strain it into a saucepan. If you have cooked a whole chicken then you may be able to use some of the shredded meat in your soup, but fresh chicken will taste better. Add a few skinless chicken thighs to the stock and gently poach them until just cooked. Remove them to a plate and set aside. Now add some corn kernels (either fresh or frozen) and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft. Now the soup will need a little processing, but not to a smooth purée. Thicken the soup with a slurry of cornflour and cold water – just enough to allow the corn to float throughout the soup. Shred the chicken and return it to the soup. Bring to a rolling boil and, while stirring, slowly pour in some beaten eggs. Finally, season with salt to taste, a generous amount of ground white pepper and a little sesame oil. Garnish with spring onions.

chicken-and-sweetcorn-soup-2

Written by michelle picker

May 10, 2016 at 6:01 am

Posted in eggs, poultry & game, soup

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