Simple chicken pilaf

Chicken_pilaf

This is based on a recipe which appeared in Sainsbury’s live well for less magazine (Issue 04). Enough for 2:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 boned chicken breast (cut in to smallish chunks)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed/chopped)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 leek (sliced)
  • 120g basmati rice
  • About 20 raisins
  • chicken stock (equal to twice the volume of the uncooked rice)
  • 80g kale (washed, cut and with the stalks removed)
  • 100g frozen peas

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. When hot, add the chicken, and brown. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon.

Turn down the heat and add the remaining oil. Stir in the garlic and the spices and cook for 1 minute. Add the leeks and cook slowly for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, raisins and add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, and simmer (covered) for about 12 minutes, or until the rice is almost cooked.

Add the kale and frozen peas and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Serve.

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Very garlicy chicken and potatoes

Garlic_chicken_tile

This is one of my all time favourite recipes. Something amazing happens when you combine chicken, potatoes, butter and garlic. Serves 4:

  • 1.5kg of ‘old’ potatoes
  • 1 free range chicken (jointed – the remaining carcass being used to make stock)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • Crushed garlic (about 8 cloves)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Chopped parsley

Set the oven at around 180°C.

Wash (but don’t peel) the potatoes. Cut them into wedges (six from each potato). Put the wedges into a saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Drain and return the wedges to the pan and leave (for about 5 minutes) over a low heat to dry out a little (shaking occasionally).

Put the olive oil in a roasting tin or large oven proof dish. Tip in the potato wedges and toss them in the oil and sprinkle half of the garlic on them. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss the potatoes again and arrange the chicken joints on top (generously dabbing them with butter, sprinkling with the rest of the garlic and putting back in the oven).

The chicken should cook in between 50 to 60 minutes (turning over halfway). But always check to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked.

Finish by seasoning with black pepper, lemon juice and chopped parsley. Serve.

Chipotle chicken with Mexican rice

Chipotle_tile

Enough for 2 (with left-over rice):

For the chicken:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp chipotle paste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 200g chopped tomatoes (1/2 a can)
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • A few sprigs of coriander (torn)

For the rice:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 large pepper chopped (I used the remains of two peppers used for a previous meal)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 100g basmati rice (or any long grain rice)
  • 250ml stock (I used 1/2 tsp vegi-stock powder)
  • 2 tbsp double concentrated tomato purée
  • 400g can of red kidney beans (drained)

Cooking the chicken – coat the chicken thighs in the chipotle paste and leave (covered) in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the fridge (do not throw away any remaining marinade). Heat the oil in a thick bottomed saucepan, and brown the chicken thighs all over. Remove the chicken thighs to a plate.

Turn down the heat and gently cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Tip the tomatoes into the dish in which the chicken was marinated, and swill round to incorporate the remaining marinade. Add this mixture to the onion mixture, together with the vinegar. Stir and add the chicken thighs. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes (or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked).

Cooking the rice – heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and gently cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin, oregano and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice, coating it with oil so that it begins to look transparent.

Stir in the tomato purée and the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the rice is nearly cooked (about 15 minutes). Add more water if the rice becomes dry. Add the kidney beans and cook for another 5 minutes (or until they are piping hot).

Serve with the chicken (sprinkled with coriander).

In praise of fat

The 2 March 2013 Guardian ‘Cook’ supplement ran an article featuring the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm.

This contained a recipe for ‘happy chicken with loads of garlic cloves’ and, I quote “Chicken with 40 cloves never fails to please”. Personally I tend to agree with this statement, but not in the case of ‘happy chicken with loads of garlic cloves’; or to put it another way: I was not happy with the result (even after making some adjustments to the recipe).

With the exception of the two bacon rashers and the chicken’s own fat, there was no other oil or fat in the recipe. I did amend this by sautéing the diced vegetables (to which I added celery) and bacon, in about a tablespoon of oil (thinking that a basic risotto approach would work). I suspect that this improved the result, but it was still far from never failing to please.

I also reduced the amount of brown rice by 150g to 350g, but still had enough to feed a platoon. The remains were used for:
• Chicken and rice soup (with stock made from the carcass with the usual veg etc); adding some of the remaining rice and veg mixture and some frozen petit pois to improve the colour/appearance/taste;
• Lunch – a bento box salad ingredient (with the addition of spring onions, more petit pois and French dressing);
• Arancini (risotto cakes) – these suffered from breaking up when frying (probably because I had used ordinary brown rice, and maybe I should have added a beaten egg to bind the mixture together), but were quite tasty;

Additionally, the remaining chicken meat was made into Coronation Chicken (one of my all-time favourite sandwich fillings). This will give you a good idea of what to do http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/apr/28/cook-perfect-coronation-chicken-royal-wedding

Anyway, I must get back to my chicken and garlic recipe, which never fails to please me or anyone else who consumes it. This is composed of potato wedges (‘old’ potatoes washed (unpeeled)), parboiled (placed in cold water which is brought to boiling point, drained and returned to the pan over a low heat to dry out a little); a free range chicken (jointed – the remaining carcass being used to make stock); olive oil; butter; chopped garlic; black pepper; lemon juice and chopped parsley.

chicken&garlic
Set the oven at around 180°C. Put a generous slug of olive oil in a roasting tin or large oven proof dish. Tip in the potato wedges and toss them in the oil and sprinkle some of the garlic on them. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes. Take the tin/dish from the oven, toss the potatoes again and arrange the chicken joints on top (generously dabbing them with butter, sprinkling with more garlic and putting back in the oven). The chicken should cook in between 50 to 60 minutes (turning over halfway). But always check to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked.

Finish by seasoning with black pepper, lemon juice and chopped parsley.
To me it is the fat (apart from the garlic) that makes this dish, particularly the combination of garlic and butter (demonstrated by that other favourite: garlic bread (not the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm version – to me cheese is an unnecessary addition). In the case of my chicken and garlic meal there were no leftovers!