Chicken & Leek Rosti

This is an adapted version of a recipe given to me by my mum when I went to Uni. Her version was mainly chicken, leek and tarragon but I’m not a huge fan of tarragon. I also love mushrooms with chicken so I like to add those in! As I try and stick to a gluten free diet a potato rosti topping to a pie filling is a great alternative and I love the texture it creates. I would really recommend trying the rosti on your favourite pie filling even if you don’t try my chicken recipe! The filling here is super quick to make though which is great for a weeknight.

I used pre cooked chicken  – this is a perfect way to use up the leftovers. You could use uncooked chicken though, it would just need to be fried off with the vegetables early on in the recipe. I also make too much filling so I can freeze batch for another day – technically it would serve 6 if all served in one go (and it would need more topping).

Ingredients – serves 2/3 twice if freezing half a batch

  • large knob of butter
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 leeks, sliced in rings
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, in chunks
  • good splash of white wine
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 250ml creme fraiche
  • meat from the equivalent of 6 roasted chicken thighs, shredded into chunks
  • small bunch of chives finely chopped

Topping:

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 50g butter

Method

Start by getting the potatoes on to boil. Cut them in half but keep the skins on. Boil in salted water for 8-10 minutes. You don’t want them overly soft so dont let them cook too long.

Sweat the onions and leeks in butter (if you add a tiny but of oil as well it will stop the butter getting too hot and burning). Add the mushrooms as it starts to soften and cook until the mushrooms have released their water and start to brown.

Add the wine and let it cook off for 30 seconds. Stir in the creme fraiche and stock (only add all of the stock if necessary – add more or less depending on how saucy you want it).

Add the chicken and chives, and season with salt and pepper. Allow to heat through and for the sauce to thicken slightly.

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The potatoes should be ready to be strained by now. Put on some rubber gloves and use a cheese grater to grate them. You will end up with the potato skin being pushed out and left over which means you shouldn’t waste any potato flesh.

Pour the chicken filling into an oven dish. Distribute the potato evenly over the top. Melt the butter in a saucepan and drizzle over the top of the potato then season with salt and pepper.

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Put in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees celsius for half an hour or until the potato starts to brown and crisp at the edges.

Serve with green vegetables and enjoy!

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Chicken and Chorizo Pie

After the ramen I made at the weekend I wanted to use up the chicken meat I had shredded after making the stock, and about 250ml of the broth/stock I had left over. I cam across this recipe on the Good Food website which made for a sumptious weeknight meal that I would have normally saved for a weekend due to the time I think it takes to make a good pie. As always I made a few changes to the original recipe – mainly the swap of cream for creme fraiche to make it lighter and using the recooked chicken I had in the fridge. If you don’t have the luxury of the chicken and stock leftover that I had of course you could follow the original recipe linked above to prepare from scratch.

Ingredients – serves 4 (or two greedy people having seconds!)

  • one white onion, finely diced
  • two garlic cloves, minced/grated
  • half a chorizo ring (about 120g), in round slices then halved
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour (I used gluten free)
  • 300ml chicken stock (homemade if possible for better flavour)
  • 100ml creme fraiche
  • chicken meat from 20 wings (about 500g), shredded
  • large handful of parsley, chopped
  • 250g puff pastry
  • splash of milk for brushing (or egg wash if you prefer)

Method – takes about 45 minutes (if chicken is already cooked)

Sweat the onion and garlic in olive oil in a frying pan for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add the chorizo and fry for a few minutes until it starts to crisp and release its own oil. Stir in the flour, allow to cook for 30 seconds and then stir in the chicken stock.

Stir and let the stock heat through and thicken with the flour. Add the creme fraiche and allow to heat through, stirring slowly. Add the chicken and cook for a minute or so until warmed through. Decide if the consistency is thick enough – if not use cornflour to thicken. Stir through the parsley and a grind of black pepper. The chorizo and stock should mean salt isn’t needed but check for seasoning and add if needed.

Pour the filling into a pie dish that it will pretty much fill. You don’t want too much space between the filling and the pastry.

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Roll the pastry out until about half a centimetre thick. Brush the edge of the dish with milk and place the pastry over the top, finishing with our choice of edging. I like to use the end of a fork to press down the edges and then use a knife to trim. Make some fun decorations with the trimming and use milk to stick them on the top! Brush the pie all over with milk or egg wash and use the tip of a knife to put two small air holes in the top of the pastry. Put the pie in a pre heated oven (180 degrees fan) on a baking tray (in case of spillages!) for half an hour until the pastry is golden and crisp.

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Serve with some green veg and enjoy!

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Pork Ramen

This was my first attempt at a Ramen – I love a good noodle broth when I eat out in Asian restaurants so I was keen to give it a go myself. I was inspired (and followed quite closely) the recipe from Good Food which can be found here. My adapted recipe with simple instructions is below.

I was really pleased with the flavour of the broth and it was well worth the time it took to cook off the chicken properly before simmering in the water. The original recipe said it would serve 4 but due to me using less pork my recipe served two of us perfectly. I the used the chicken from the stock to make a pie later in the week, also using up the remainder of the tasty chicken broth so it actually did us two meals which is always a bonus!

I used pork belly because a) I couldn’t get a piece of pork shoulder and b) it was cheap. It actually turned out really well – I removed the rind before cooking and pulled away any fat after it was cooked and I was slicing it to serve up. The other major change I made was to use rice noodles rather than the characteristic wheat noodles of a ramen just to make it gluten free. I actually prefer rice noodles anyway but either will work fine. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but don’t be put off – the recipe itself is actually really straightforward and super tasty!

Ingredients

Stock

  • 20 chicken wings (about 800g)
  • 1 -2 carrots, quartered
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 20g chunk of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 3 litres water
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 400-500g joint of pork belly (halved if using two pans)

Main dish

  • 60g tinned bamboo shoots
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • large handful of kale (or other greens)
  • rice noodles
  • 2 spring onions

Pickle

  • 2 shallots finely diced
  • half a red chilli, finely diced
  • 75 ml rice wine vinegar, plus a tablespoon for the bamboo shoots

Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake

Method

Put the chicken, carrots, onions and ginger into a roasting tin and cook at 180 degrees (fan oven) for half an hour. Transfer to a large saucepan (I split it over two medium ones then combined it later after sieving). Pour in the water and add the mushrooms and pork to the pan(s). Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2.5 hours. Remove the pork (if soft), then continue to simmer the liquid for a further half an hour.

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Strain the broth and put back on the heat to reduce with a pinch of salt (to taste) until reduced by a third (reserve the meat from the chicken bones for another dinner!). During this time prepare the rest of the ingredients:

  1. Pickle the shallots and chilli in the vinegar with a good pinch of salt until serving
  2. Soak bamboo shoots in a tablespoon of the vinegar until serving
  3. Boil the eggs for 5-6 minutes then cool in iced water, peel and cut in half
  4. Prepare the seasoning by mixing ingredients in a small bowl
  5. Stir fry the kale (or other greens) for a couple of minutes with seasoning
  6. Finely chop the spring onions

Put the noodles in the broth to cook (unless using dried noodles in which case follow instructions on the packet) for a few minutes. Meanwhile drain the pickle and the bamboo shoots and put in separate serving dishes for the table.

Slice the pork and share between the bowls – do the same with the greens and the noodles.

Ladle the stock over the top then finish with the eggs, bamboo shoot, a sprinkling of spring onions. Happy slurping!

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Chicken Kiev

Chicken Kievs remind me of nights when my sister and I had to cook for ourselves when our parents were working. When I say ‘cook’, I mean I put a frozen chicken kiev with frozen potato waffles in the oven for half an hour and boiled some frozen mixed veg on the hob. Not very inspired, but we really liked it!

This is my method to make this nostalgic dish. I have used different recipes the few times I have made this and the recipe I share is a mixture of the best bits. I rarely buy chicken breasts mainly because I much prefer thigh meat for flavour and it is so much cheaper so i don’t see the point. This is one of those times when only the breast will do however. A large, free-range chicken breast with plenty room for stuffing in the butter is best. When the chicken is the star of the show as it is here I do think it’s worth spending a little more to get the best quality you can afford. The panko breadcrumbs are a recent find for me and I will never go back to homemade crumbs for something that benefits from the amazing crunch you get with panko – they are also becoming much more widely available in supermarkets.

There is just no competition between this homemade version and the days of the frozen kiev. Succulent chicken, crispy coating and garlicky herby butter oozing out of the centre… I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Ingredients – serves two

  • two large chicken breasts (preferably free range)
  • 50g salted butter
  • handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • handful of chives, finely chopped
  • two garlic cloves, minced/grated
  • zest of half a lemon (or lime)
  • handful of plain flour
  • one egg (preferably free range)
  • 150g panko breadcrumbs

Method – takes 45 mins plus one hour fridging

Soften the butter with the back of a spoon then mash in the fresh herbs, garlic, lemon zest and season well.

Insert a sharp knife into the thickest part of the chicken breast and poke around until you have created a nice large hole inside.

Use your fingers to stuff the butter into the two breasts equally, pushing as far inside as you can. I like to use a couple of cocktail stick to close the chicken securely at this point – just be careful you don’t forget about them when eating later!

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Put the flour, egg (beaten) and panko crumbs into separate bowls and carefully roll each breast in each of them in order, covering them completely. For an extra crunch and for the best covering, redo the egg and panko crumbs a second time. Pop the chicken into the fridge for an hour to allow the butter to reset and help avoid leakages during cooking.

Meanwhile, I like to serve my kiev with some kind of potato and vegetable. This time I made roasted sweet potato chips and stir fried greens. For this I finely sliced one sweet potato and tossed it in olive oil and plenty of seasoning. I the roasted in the over for 45 minutes with a couple of garlic cloves. Towards the end of the cooking time remove the garlic cloves and squeeze out the centre – toss the chips in this for a lovely smoky garlic flavour. Just before the chicken was cooked I stir fried spinach and kale with a little butter, then served with a pinch of salt, plenty pepper and a drizzle of lime juice.

Back to the chicken. When it has set in the fridge, heat a frying pan on the hob to a high heat with a splash of olive oil, carefully place the chicken into the pan and brown on all sides. The pan MUST be hot otherwise your crumbs will just soak up the oil and go soggy – you want them to brown and stay crispy. Once browned, put into the oven (180 degrees fan) for 15 minutes on a pre-heated baking tray.

Serve your crispy chicken parcels with you choice of vegetable accompaniments, and get ready for the oozing goodness when you cut into them!

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Roast Chicken & Potato Hash

I was looking to be inspired by some new chicken recipes on the Good Food website at the weekend and came across the picture for this recipe which looked delicious! As much as I love a confit duck leg I didn’t really fancy cooking my chicken in so much oil so I adapted it for a healthier, quicker weeknight option. I kept the vegetable and potato hash the same though and this was a really tasty way to get loads of healthy vegetables on the plate and I would definitely make it again.

Follow the recipe on the good food website here for the hash (and the chicken if you want to go for the full confit version).

For the roasted chicken option…

Ingredients – serves two

  • 3 chicken thighs on the bone
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • zest of hand a lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Method – takes 40 minutes from start to finish

Lay the chicken skin side up on a rack inside a foiled roasting tin. Sprinkle the lemon and thyme liberally over each thigh, then drizzle with olive oil. A liberal pinch of salt and pepper on top, and then put into a preheated oven at 180 degrees (fan) for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, about 20 minutes into the cooking time make the hash according to the recipe from Good Food.

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As the hash is finishing, boil water in a saucepan with  little salt to speed up the boiling time. Crack in two eggs and leave to poach for exactly two minutes for the perfect runny centre.

Serve the crispy chicken on top of a big mound of well seasoned hash (I chopped the chicken from the third thigh and shared it between us – I just didn’t feel one thigh would be enough!). Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and drain on kitchen towel before adding to the plate. Eat immediately while the egg is gooey!

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Quick Chicken Tikka Masala

I made a tikka masala once before from scratch and all I really remember was it taking a long time to make and it didn’t have quite as much flavour as I would have liked. I also hate using jar sauces so I had to have another go! For Christmas I was given some Indian serving dishes by my mum, along with a book called ‘Indian Made Simple’ which you can find an older edition of here.

I followed the structure of the sauce recipe from the book, with a couple of adaptations. I don’t do a lot of Indian cooking so I haven’t bought a tub of ghee as I imagine it would join the collection of rarely used jars at the back of my fridge… I used a little vegetable oil in this recipe and it worked just fine. Secondly, the recipe used cream which I substituted for the lighter creme fraiche option and this worked out great.

For the chicken I used a marinade that my mum taught me when I was at University – it has the best flavour and the tikka spice powder is better than anything I have made from a recipe (see picture below of this). I love chicken thighs as they keep their moisture when cooked, but I like to serve it off the bone for ease of eating.

Sadly we were so hungry that I totally forgot to take a picture of the final dish as it was served! You should get the idea though! It had a super rich flavour and a nice level of spice, and I love the tandoori chicken flavour. Will definitely make again and very achievable on a weekday if you prepare the marinade in advance. The sauce can also be made in advance and reheated if you want even less to do in the evening!

Ingredients – serves two (also include your choice of sides not listed below)

Marinated Tandoori Chicken

  • Half a tub of plain yogurt (about 250-300g)
  • One lime – juice and zest
  • 4 tablespoons of tandoori tikka powder (see pic below) – you can get this in an oriental supermarket or maybe in a larger supermarket
  • one tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3-4 bone in chicken thighs (or any other type of joint that you like)

Sauce

  • One tablespoon of vegetable oil (or ghee if you have it)
  • One garlic clove, minced/grated
  • Half a red chilli, finely chopped (I don’t like my food too spicy but if you can take the heat use a whole chilli!)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground paprika (I used Spanish paprika which made the sauce extra smoky but probably less Indian in flavour!)
  • one tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 250-300ml creme fraiche (I use a half fat version to keep it even skinnier or you could use double cream for the luxury version!)

Method – 45 minutes (plus marinating)

Prepare the marinade in the morning or the night before. Simply stir the ingredients together in a shallow dish until well mixed. Score the chicken thighs deeply on the skin side, then nestle the chicken in the marinade spooning the mixture all over until totally covered. Cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge until you want to cook. The longer you leave it the deeper the flavour goes into the chicken.

Scoop the chicken out of the marinade using tongs, but keep the leftover marinade for later (don’t scrape it off the chicken, it still wants to be covered in a nice layer for cooking). Lay the chicken (skin side up) on an oiled (greased) rack inside a roasting tin lined with foil. You can either cook the chicken in the oven or under the grill. I sometimes find grilling chicken on the bone overdoes the outside so I did this one in the oven, but it takes longer. If you choose to use the oven like me, get it in before you start the sauce at 180 degrees (fan).

To make the sauce fry the garlic and chilli in a frying pan with the oil for a minute. Add the spices and season well with salt and pepper, stirring for another 30 seconds.

This is the time to get your rice on the go too as it will be ready in 10-15 minutes. I like to use brown rice which takes that long to cook (and has more of a bite to it which I like) but if you are using white rice it may be less cooking time to vary accordingly.

Add the tinned tomatoes and the creme fraiche, stirring slowly. Put in less creme fraiche (or cream of course if you prefer it) to start with and add more to taste. Let the sauce simmer for ten minutes to thicken. If you are grilling your chicken, now it the time to get it in – keep an eye on it and keep turning it.

Once the chicken is cooked you can remove it from the oven. You could blast it under the grill to give it a little more colour if you cooked it in the oven – it gets a nice charred texture which gives a great flavour. It should look something like the picture below.

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Once the sauce has thickened a little, you can add in the leftover marinade to give it even more flavour. This is optional as it cane quite strong but I love it! Let it simmer again for a few minutes, and it is good to go!

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When everything is ready, you can serve the chicken as it is with the sauce and rice. I like to cut the chicken off the bone and into large chunks which I then layer over the top of the sauce and rice. Sorry again for the lack of picture of the finished article!

Sprinkle some chopped coriander for a stylish garnish and serve alongside some warm naan bread or my preferred side of poppadum and mango chutney. Yum!

Chicken Cacciatore

I was given Jamie Oliver’s new book ‘Everyday Superfood’ for Christmas and this is the first recipe I have made from it. The photograph in the book is very appealing for a winter weekend meal, and I am a big fan of a one-pot recipe for a Sunday lunch.

The recipe says it serves four which is accurate. I scaled it up to serve 6 (I had more chicken thighs than we needed) and we managed to have dinner for the two of us and quite a lot left which we froze in two batches. I shredded the leftover chicken off the bones first to make for more space and quicker defrosting. It was super tasty when warmed up and we served it with some couscous (stirred through with lemon juice, olive oil and some fresh herbs). An amazingly quick meal for a weeknight so definitely worth making a larger batch of the recipe the first time round!

In terms of the original recipe, I used the squash as indicated but might be tempted to try it for sweet potato next time round. I found the squash didn’t have a huge amount of flavour, but that might just be my preference. Apart from leaving the chicken skin on the thighs (way more flavour!) I stuck to the recipe closely which I always try to do the first time round.

Most annoying thing? It doesn’t say whether to put a lid on the casserole dish before putting it in the oven! I chose to put the lid on and I found the sauce to be too watery and by that time was too hungry to wait around for it to reduce. Next time I would try with the lid off, or try coating chicken and veg in flour before adding the liquid to help it to thicken. Fine if you are serving it with bread, but with the large amount of squash (or sweet potato) I didn’t feel it needed more carbs to be filling…

Overall we found the flavour of the mushrooms and olives was lovely and rich and the chicken was falling off the bone. I served it with some stir-fried kale simply seasoned with a pinch of salt and tossed in butter. Definitely worth another go with a few minor changes, and with the intention of freezing some meals for weeknights.

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Original recipe can be found on Jamie’s website here.