This classic recipe is something I’ve been wanting to make for a while. I’d read about it occasionally in foodie magazines, there’s variations featured in a couple of my cookbooks. But I’ve always been a bit scared to try it. I mean, I love garlic but 40 cloves!? Every part of my brain said it wouldn’t work, but eventually I gathered up the courage and just gave it a go. And I’m sure glad I did!
Instead of being harshly garlicky, the slower simmering of the cloves means the garlic cooks down and becomes sweet and fragrant. The chicken is tender and moist, to the point of falling apart. The sauce is light, yet flavourful. Served with mashed potato (with some of the soft garlic stirred through) and green vegetables, I find this is the perfect summery alternative to a more traditional roast chicken.
Recipe – 1 large chicken would served 5/6 (or gives plenty of leftovers)
5-6 banana shallots peeled and halved lengthways
1 whole chicken
1 tbsp oil
40 garlic cloves (I used 3 bulbs), unpeeled
1 small glass of white wine
250ml chicken stock (from a cube is fine, homemade is extra yummy)
1 tbsp dried tarragon
1 tbsp crème fraîche
Remove any string from the chicken and place the lemon inside the cavity. Generously season the chicken inside and out with plenty of salt and pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a large flameproof casserole. Brown the chicken over a medium-high heat for a couple of minutes on each side. Add the whole garlic cloves and shallots to the casserole, nestling around the chicken, and poking some of the garlic inside the cavity with the lemon.
Pour over the wine and chicken stock. Cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid and bring the liquid to a simmer on the hob, then transfer to the oven and cook for 1¼ hours at 200C. Check that the chicken is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the thigh and ensuring the juices are clear.
Transfer the chicken to a warmed plate to rest whilst you make the sauce. Skim off any fat in the casserole pan and discard, then return to the hob and stir in the tarragon and crème fraîche. Squeeze in half of the garlic cloves (reserving the rest for another day, or use in the mashed potato). Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, stirring, then season to taste and serve alongside the chicken.
Not only does this dish taste delicious, but the cooking smells are insanely good!
Are you a fan of Sunday roasts, or do you like to mix things up a bit?
In fact, one of the nicest meals I’ve cooked in a long time. And, amazingly, one of the first meals I’ve cooked entirely by myself for W ever. In the whole almost-six years we’ve been together, I’ve rarely cooked solo for him. He’s always helped out, chopping things, cooking an element, with me being more the sous chef. I’m a lucky girl really!
The entire meal here was influenced by one of Jamie’s Thirty Minute Meals. Let me tell you this, half an hour is a lie. This took me well over an hour, although having said that it was relatively stress free, didn’t take too much washing up, and I reckon with practice should be easily done on a work night. And it was certainly special enough to make for guests too – it looked great, and it was damn yummy.
This does have, however, one of the longest ingredient lists of any of my recipes. Generally I’m not hugely comfortable with such meals, as I find them expensive and fiddly. This one isn’t too bad as there’s no specialty ingredients, and we actually had everything minus the chilli and fresh salad ingredients. If you don’t have everything, particularly the spices, do what I did during my first year of university – build up my spice cupboard gradually by buying one with each (or every other) shop.
Ingredients for 2 (Chicken & Rice)
Two skin-on boneless chicken breasts – or thighs to make it cheaper, as I will be doing next time!
1 tbsp runny honey – or a big squeeze from a squeeze tub
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 spring onions
1 cinnamon stick
150g rice, we used Basmati
300ml chicken stock
1 tin black beans
Ingredients for 2 (Sauce)
4 spring onions
Small bunch of fresh thyme (use some for the chicken)
1tsp each of ground cloves nutmeg and allspice
2 tablespoons golden rum
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 Scotch bonnet chilli
3 cloves of garlic
Ingredients for Lots (Salad & Yoghurt, served 2 for dinner, then lunch the next day)
1 red pepper
1 red chicory
1 romaine lettuce
2-3 spring onions
Small bunch of fresh coriander
250g natural yoghurt
few sprigs of fresh coriander
Half a lime
MAKE THE JERK SAUCE Trim and roughly chop the onions and put into a mini chopper with the leaves from most of the bunch of thyme. Add the spices, rum, vinegar, honey and 2 teaspoons of salt. Remove the stalks and seeds from the Scotch bonnet chilli and add to the chopper with the garlic and blitz to a smooth paste. Mine was more liquid than paste, so I have reduced the liquid quantities in my recipe.
FRY THE CHICKEN Meanwhile put the chicken breasts on a plastic board and halve each one, leaving them joined at the top of the breast. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, then rub all over both sides of the chicken. Put into the hot griddle pan, skin side down, and leave to cook. Once the undersides are golden, turn the chicken over. Pour the jerk sauce into a baking dish and lay the chicken on top, skin side up. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of runny honey and scatter over the remaining thyme sprigs. Put on the top shelf of the oven and cook for 15minutes, at 220C.
RICE & BEANS Put a saucepan with a lid on a medium heat. Trim and finely slice the spring onions and put in the saucepan with the cinnamon stick, a good tbsp of olive oil and a big pinch of salt & pepper. Stir and let soften for a minute or so, then add the rice and stock. Drain and rinse the beans, add to the pan and stir gently. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium heat. Pop the lid on and leave for 12 minutes.
YOGHURT Tip the yoghurt into a small serving bowl. Finely chop a few sprigs of coriander and add to the bowl with a pinch of salt and a good lug of extra virgin olive oil. Finely grate over the zest of 1/2 the lime and squeeze in the juice. Stir in.
SALAD Deseed and roughly chop the red pepper. Pop the chicory and lettuce on top and keep chopping until everything is fairly fine. Pour in a few lugs of extra virgin olive oil and squeeze in the juice of the limes. Finely slice the onions, season to taste, then toss everything together. Tear over the coriander to finish.
TO SERVE Take the lid off the rice after 12 minutes and give it a stir. All the liquid should have been absorbed. Taste and season if necessary. Take the chicken out of the oven, and sprinkle over some coriander if there’s any left. Plate up, spoon over the jerk sauce from the bottom of the baking dish.
The chicken was tender, the skin crisp, coated in the most delicious sauce. Said sauce was spicy, spicy enough to make your nose run, but not inedible, and combined with complex flavours and a good whack of herbs. The rice and beans were so, so simple, yet we both loved them. Such an easy was to add plenty of flavour to a side of rice, I’ll definitely be making them again. And the salad was also lovely, zingy, hot from fresh chilli, sharp from coriander, crunchy with pepper. All finished off with a lime and coriander yoghurt (gratefully received to take away some of the heat), this was a dinner I was proud of.
Have you cooked anything particularly good lately?
Yes, I made stock. Yes, it was the most boring hour of my life. No, I’m not about to do it again in a hurry. This person does not have the time or the patience to stand over a pan skimming scum from my stock. This chowder, however, is definitely worth the time and effort. It doesn’t need much, really just a stir here and there, and I’m willing to bet it would be fine with just a stock cube. Having said that, I did like the intense chicken-y flavour of the stock, and if I wanted to cook something really special I would make it again. The real star of the show here is the Chicken Chowder.
A really simple recipe, this Chicken Chowder is a hug in a bowl. It’s creamy and comforting, slightly spicy and a little sweet, full of interesting textures. It really is a meal in a bowl, and it’s become one of my favourite ways of using up leftover chicken.
Based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe, the quantities below made me four generous servings of this Chicken Chowder. I’ve lightened it up a little by reducing the cream and the bacon, and added a little heat by grating in some fresh chilli at the end.
Leftover chicken (I used around two handfuls – i.e. a small roasted chicken, minus two lunchtime salads)
Small tin of sweetcorn
A splash of double cream
Cream crackers, to serve – it’s well worth splurging on some nicer ones here, I highly recommend Doria Doriano Crackers* (so moreish!)
Red chilli, to serve
To make the stock, simply roughly chop one onion, 2 carrots (peel, but add the peelings too), and 2 celery sticks and throw into a large pan. Break up the chicken carcass and add that, then top with plenty of water. Bring to the boil then simmer for as long as possible, skimming scum off the surface every ten or so minutes. Strain into another saucepan, and then reduce down until you have around a litre of stock.
For the chowder, chop the bacon and fry in a little oil until crisp. Remove and set aside. Dice the remaining onion, carrots and celery, then fry in the bacon fat along with the potato (peeled and cubed into 1cm dice) and parley stalks (finely chopped) until soft and caramelised. Keep stirring to stop the veg burning, but try not to rush this stage.
Add the stock to the veg, along with the sweetcorn and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced slightly, then whizz with a handblender. Add a splash of cream, season well and serve with parsley leaves, bacon pieces and some crushed crackers. I like to grate some fresh red chilli over at the end for a bit of a kick! Served with the crackers, this doesn’t need anything else. The contrast in textures and flavours makes this super yummy, and it also freezes really well (though I’d add the cream after reheating!). The perfect use for leftover chicken!
What’s your favourite way of using up leftover chicken? Have you ever made a chowder?
One of my new favourite meals, this is slightly spicy, healthy, warming. Whilst it’s quick to make, it’s also slightly more special than just throwing something in the oven. And it freezes well made up too, so in the end it can become a throw-in-the-oven-and-shower meal.
Roasted red peppers are something I’ve become a little addicted to in recent months. I’m slightly ashamed to admit I buy jars as I’m sure it would be cheaper to buy my own, but the jarred stuff just tastes so, so good. Perfect blitzed up into a sauce for pasta, or chopped into a salad. And wonderful in this.
I adapted this recipe from Sunrise Senior Living, and I’ve got to say if they eat like this I’d be happy to go stay! You can download the original recipe here. I made mine more saucy, a little cheaper and easier to make. I don’t bother using spoons when making gravy, so I wasn’t about to measure 17g of granules. I cut down the oil, and didn’t bother searing the chicken. So whilst this doesn’t bear too much in relation to the original recipe, the idea and flavours are pretty similar. Trust your instinct in whether you want it to be more saucy or not!
Ingredients (to serve 1)
1 chicken breast
1tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced
1 large roasted red pepper, sliced
1 beef stock cube
1 teaspoon of chicken gravy granules
A splash of red wine, or sherry, or anything similar if it’s open. The first time I made it I didn’t use any alcohol because I simply didn’t have any
Sprinkle of dried herbs, I used thyme
Heat the olive oil, and fry the onions until soft and slightly golden. Add the pepper and herbs, and fry until fragrant. Add the alcohol, if using, and bubble until dry.
Make up the sauce by adding boiling water to the stock and gravy. Add to the pan and reduce to the required consistency.
Place the chicken in a baking dish, pour over the sauce, and bake at 200C for 35-45 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked.
I served mine pretty simply, loads of sauce, broccoli and a small garlic bread. It goes well with new potatoes, and I’m also guessing rice would be good. Such a versatile dish, and one that I’ll definitely use to stock up the freezer!
Have you tried anything new recently? How do you liven up chicken breasts?
Sorry, you can take a girl away from her maths lectures, but she’ll always be a maths geek at heart. Seriously though, I do love pies. They are filling, comforting, relatively healthy (I serve them with loads of veg and nothing else – hence they are superhealthy), freeze well and aren’t as time consuming as you’d first think. I do admit to grabbing ready-made pastry most of the time (I’m sorry, I don’t have time to make puff pastry!), but even whipping up a quick shortcrust isn’t too horrendous.
This recipe was originally inspired by a recipe in GoodFood. I’ve simplified it, making it quicker, and a lot cheaper. It would also be a great use of leftover roast chicken, and you could up the veg content by throwing in peppers if you felt like it. Either way, it’s a summery switch up of the classic pie.
Ingredients (serves 4, including two greedy men)
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
1 onion, finely diced
around 15cm chorizo sausage, casing removed, chopped into slices then halved
3-4 chicken breasts (5oog-ish)
2 tablespoons flour
1 litre chicken stock
2 tablespoons of cream
Fry the onion in a little oil until softened, then add the chorizo. Fry until it smells yummy and has released plenty of its oils.
Tip in the chicken, and seal quickly until golden brown. Stir in the flour, cook (stirring all the time) for around two minutes, then gradually add the stock. Stir to avoid the sauce going lumpy.
Simmer and reduce for about 15 minutes, until thickened. Stir through the cream.
Tip into a pie dish, and top with your pastry. Bake at 200C for about 30 minutes. Serve with plenty of green vegetables.
Sunshine flavours under a crisp pastry crust, just enough cream to be comforting, but light enough not to need a nap afterwards. Perfect in my book! And a great excuse to use up Stanley Pie Bird* from Cath Kidston too!
I love chicken wings. If I wasn’t so self-conscious about making a mess they would be my go-to order in Nandos, and I’m desperate to try some of the London-based wing restaurants too (damn you allergy!). When Meat Lust got in touch about sending me over some marinades, a quick check revealed they’d advise against me having them, but would my family like a try. Fine. I was hugely jealous, until I got the parcel and read the packet. Turns out only the Original BBQ flavour contained tomato, with the three other flavours I was sent being Chloe-safe. I was over the moon, my parents not so as I promptly snuck them back to my Surrey hideaway.
Buffalo wings* were the first to be tried out, and I think this was my favourite flavour. Not too sweet, not too spicy, but still a flavourful kick. These marinades are super simple. Scatter the powder over the meat (I rubbed it in slightly) and leave for 10 minutes. That’s it. I would recommend leaving for longer if you have time, but 10 minutes is perfectly fine if that’s all you’ve got. Now for crispy wings here’s a tip I’ve stolen from good ole’Jamie Oliver (probably one of my favourite chefs, as I just love his recipes). A tablespoon of medium ground polenta over your wings before they go in the oven, and they will be crispy, with a texture almost as though they have been deep-fried. I’ve recently been using some Maizemeal* from Real Foods (an amazing site for health foods and a whole range of toiletries and other exciting things. I like to browse it on a Sunday afternoon over cake and tea…). Super quality, crunch and flavour, superior to any I’ve bought from a supermarket. Bake the wings for 30 minutes, turn and bake for another 20. Super crispy skin, moist flesh. The may look a little black in my photo, but they weren’t far from burnt. Utter perfection, although the tray was a bugger to clean.
Louisiana BBQ was my least favourite flavour, far too sweet for my liking, although it did go pretty well with the pork ribs. Ghost Chilli was exceptionally hot, but really good too. I think I would have loved this flavour had the wings been cooked a little better – the lack of polenta made them a little greasy (sorry dad!). No pictures of these two as I was nearly too ill to eat, let alone photograph my food. But despite my general disease, the food still tasted good. I’ll definitely be picking up a few more of these marinades for next summer! I will say however that the photos on the packets aren’t really representative of what you end up with – they definitely weren’t any sauces produced, but delicious all the same.
Disclaimer: I was sent four marinades to review (one of which has killer tomato in, and has been left with family to trial), but this doesn’t alter my opinions at all. I was also (separately) sent the polenta/maizemeal from Real Foods, and again my opinion is unbiased.
What’s your favourite flavour to marinade meat in? Will you be trying any Meat Lust products?
One of the things I missed most when I moved to university was a good Sunday lunch. Well, a roast dinner – they aren’t just for Sundays really! Sure you could go to your nearest ‘Spoons (or as I did – the local cafe that did roast dinner baguettes) but it wasn’t quite the same. In the end I turned to my own oven, and after nearly two years of experimenting I’ve come up with a basic Sunday Roast Chicken that doesn’t break the bank, and doesn’t take an awful lot of skill. Perfect for students really!
The best thing about this is that it is completely and utterly adaptable. Sausages going spare? Throw them in! Fancy something more summery? Add tomatoes and some lemon juice. In the mood for spice? Rub spice mix into the chicken. If you want more traditional roast potatoes then you’ll probably want to use a large dish so they aren’t covered by the chicken – but I think they are pretty great as they are. Another great bonus is that pretty much everything is ready at the same time – all you need to do is cook some green vegetables, and you can do that whilst things are resting. Exactly as the title says, simple!
On a savvy-spendy note, chicken thighs are super cheap compared to breasts, and I’ve actually started really liking them now I appreciate crispy skin. They are also really difficult to dry out, so a bonus if you forget about them in the oven!
Chicken thighs – 1-2 per person depending on appetite. You can use any leftover meat the day after, or freeze it for a bit.
New potatoes – chopped into bitesized chunks
Garlic – 2 cloves per person
Salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you fancy
To start off, par boil your potatoes in salted water for five minutes. Drain and toss with the garlic (don’t bother to peel) and olive oil. Season.
Place the chicken skinside up ontop of the potatoes, and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Use your hands to rub the olive oil over the skin, then season again.
Pop in a pre-heated oven (200C) for 45 minutes – the chicken skin should be golden and crisp. To check – remove a piece of chicken and place on a plate, then piece the thickest part and press down. Juices should run clear without any pink; if not your chicken isn’t quite cooked. Cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes whilst you prep and cook any other veg, then serve up.
This recipe is so quick and easy, plus so tasty and reminiscent of home. It’d be a perfect dish to make if you and housemates joined up for meals – my second year house tried to do Sunday dinner together, although we rarely did a full roast, and it was definitely a highlight of the week! When Currys asked me to produce a recipe for their student cookbook this was the first thing I thought of – so I had to share!
I’m slowly coming round to chicken thighs. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate that they have so much more flavour than breast, and they are far more tender too. Not to mention that they are considerably better for my budget. But I just hate eating chicken with the bone in, particularly in stews. Instead I decided to make a lighter dish with them, and whilst its not changed my mind 100% I’ll happily make this again, so I’m getting there!
Now, I’m not going to claim this dish is particularly thrifty, but it didn’t cost an awful lot, it was extremely simple, and for a Friday night would make a perfect romantic dinner for two. We used one of the cheapest white wines we found (£4 a bottle) and it was actually a very nice wine, we really enjoyed drinking it too. Served with vegetables and some fresh bread, it really doesn’t need much on the side so I’d say its on the pricey side of thrifty – not a splash out meal, but not one for when you’re scrambling down the backs of sofas for every spare penny. Anyway, its delicious and I highly recommend you try it.
Ingredients (Serves 2 generously, 3 with some potatoes)
1 pack of chicken thighs (6)
Oil/butter for frying
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
300ml white wine
Splash of cream
1 handful fresh thyme, chopped
Salt & pepper
Firstly, fry the chicken over a high heat in the oil until golden. Best to do this in batches. I’m pretty terrified of spitting oil, so this bit was stressful for me, but wearing oven gloves and using long tongs helped. I would advise frying the skin side down first. Keep the chicken warm whilst you prepare the sauce.
Turn the heat to low, and fry the garlic for a minute or two. Don’t let it brown or it will be bitter. Add a little butter to the pan if it is dry. Add the wine, and bubble until halved – this gets rid of the alcohol content and stops the dish tasting entirely of wine.
Add the cream, followed by the time, and stir in some seasoning.
Nestle the chicken back into the sauce, making sure the skin is above the surface.
Cook uncovered at 200C for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked (pierce the thickest part; juices should run clear).
Whilst the chicken is cooking, prepare any accompaniments. We went for broccoli and baby corn, and some freshly baked bread – it was all the two of us needed, and along with a glass of wine each it was a lovely summery meal.
I have entered this recipe into the #TuscanyNowCookOff – you can find more details here. Thank you for inviting me to enter!
As a student I can’t afford takeaways, and whilst I’m generally not into them (what with allergies it’s often easier to cook for myself!) I do get cravings for a good KFC occasionally. A few weeks ago I was running down the contents of my freezer in preparation for my Easter holiday and found a chicken breast, so decided to make my own fakeaway style chicken and chips.
I made up my recipe as I went, not really expecting it to taste as good as it did. When it turned out to be one of the best meals I’d had in a while I knew I had to share it with you, so here it is! Its relatively quick and very easy, and it cuts out the flour-egg-breadcrumbs faff of most breaded chicken recipes, so its a definite winner if like me you dislike handling raw chicken. You can also completely adjust the seasonings to your taste – I went for spicy chicken here, but it would be equally good with something milder, or you could even go down the BBQ seasoning route…I’ve even made sure there’s something resembling a serving of vegetables on the side!
For The Chips
One large potato, skin on, cut into wedges/slices/chips
Seasoning – I went for salt, pepper, mixed herbs and some Cajun seasoning
And For The Concession to ‘Healthiness’ – Coleslaw
A handful of red cabbage, sliced finely
1 large carrot, sliced finely or peeled using a julienne peeler (I love mine!)
1/4 of an onion, finely sliced
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
A splash of lemon juice
Let’s Get Faking our Chicken’n’Chips!
Heat your oven to 220C. Cover a tray with foil, spray with a little oil, and place in the oven to heat up.
First, boil the sliced potatoes in salted water for 5-8 minutes. Drain, then tip onto a plate and sprinkle with plenty of your chosen seasoning, and toss together. Place on the hot tray (remember to leave room for the chicken).
Now prep your chicken. Cover the chicken in your chosen sauce, then cover with breadcrumbs. Make sure the chicken is covered all over.
After the potatoes have been cooking for 10 minutes, turn them, add the chicken to the tray, and spray the chicken with a little more oil.
Cook for 15-20 more minutes, until the chicken is cooking through. You may want to shake the pan in the middle of cooking in case the chicken starts to stick to the foil.
Whilst the chicken is covering, make the coleslaw. Put all the veg on a plate, add the mayo and lemon juice, and mix together. I find using my hands is the easiest way to do this. Transfer to a bowl and keep in the fridge until everything is ready.
Serve, preferably in front of a film or some cheesy Saturday night TV.
I find this makes the chicken incredibly well flavoured, and you can adjust the seasoning for your own tastes. Its such an easy way to create crispy chicken and spiced wedges, so I highly suggest giving it a go!
Another pie-related post for National Pie Week! If you missed my recipe for Shortcrust pastry then you can read it here. This post is a review of the pie I ate a few weeks ago, when I finally visited the Goods Shed in Canterbury. I’ve been aiming to visit the place since I moved here nearly 18 months ago and finally went for a cute ‘date’ on Valentine’s Weekend (prior to going to the Lego Movie in which everything is awesome…)
We were immediately out-priced by the main restaurant, though we’re definitely aiming to go back there for a proper date before I graduate in 2016. After a nice wander round (its not as big as I imagined, but definitely enough to keep my eyes occupied for far longer than the hour we spent there in total!) we decided to give Patrick’s Kitchen a try.
I was really tempted by the Short-Rib Beef Stew (something about short ribs is really, really appealing to me!) but as it contained tomato puree it was a no-go for me! In the end we both went for the chicken pie…
It ended up being an amazing chicken pie – rivalling the one from my local butchers (which is a pie I really MUST review for you sometime!). Our pies came with a generous portion of mustard mash, and the most thick and flavoursome gravy I personally have ever eaten. I’d happily eat a bowl of that gravy with some bread!
Now the pie itself! The pastry was very crisp and flaky, but without being dry. It was also spectacularly flavoured, being buttery and well-seasoned. The filling was wonderful. Great big bits of chicken (you can see them in the photo!) in a herby sauce that was creamy but light. Again well-seasoned – just a fabulous pie. Although the portion looked a little stingy for the (ouch!) £7 each it was deceptively huge, and there were definite “I’m full” groans from both of us afterwards.
I’m planning on going back to the Goods Shed very soon to try out the Jonny Sandwich stall (pork belly, onion and caramelised pear sounds good to me!) so please let me know if you want a dedicated post. And if you do visit there at any point, I recommend the pie!