My Mother’s Praised Chicken

So named because the chicken is neither pouched not braised.

1 large chicken
2 tsp. garlic flavored olive oil
scant 1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
2-3 leeks, cleaned, trimmed and cut into approx. 2″ logs
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
1-2 celery stalks, sliced into approx. 2″ pieces
approx. 2 quarts cold water
1 bouquet garni (mixed herb sachet or bag) or 1 tsp. mixed herbs
fresh parsley stalks, or a few sprigs, tied or banded together
2 tsp. sea or kosher salt
2 tsp. red peppercorns, or a good grinding of black pepper
To serve: chopped parsley leaves, chopped fresh dill, English mustard

Get out a large cooking pot with a lid that the chicken will fit snugly in. On a washable surface, un-truss the chicken and place it breast-side down.Press down until you hear the breastbone crack, then press down again so that the chicken is flattened slightly. Cut off the ankle joints below the drumstick, if need be.

Heat the oil in the pan and brown the chicken for a few minutes breast-side down. Turn up the heat, turn the chicken over and and toss in the cut off feet (if you have them). Still over a vigorous heat, add the wine or vermouth and let it bubble down a little before adding the leeks, carrots and celery.

Pour in enough water to cover the vegetables, then pop in the bouquet garni or your choice of herbs, and the parsley stalks. Sprinkle over the peppercorns.

Bring to a boil, clamp on the lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, then leave with the lid still on for another 20-30 minutes.

Serve the chicken and accompanying vegetables in large bowls over brown basmati rice. Spoon the sauce in and add fresh parsley or dill on top. Serve with English mustard.

Serves 4-6

 

Mexican Lasagna with Avocado Salsa

Add chicken to the filling for a heartier meal.

For the sauce:

1 tbs. garlic flavored olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green chilis, chopped with seeds
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbs. finely chopped cilantro stalks
2 x 14oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 tbs. ketchup

For the filling:

2 x 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 x 15 oz. can corn, drained
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
8 10″ soft, flour tortillas

For the avocado salsa:

2 avocados, halved and cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 scallion, thinly sliced
3 tbs. chopped green jalapenos
salt, to taste
1 tbs. lime juice
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves

Heat the oven to 400°F. slipping in a baking sheets at the same time.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions, peppers, chilis and salt. Cook gently for 15 minutes and, once soft, add the cilantro stalks. Stir in the tomatoes, then rinse out one can with water and add this too. Add the ketchup and let everything simmer while you make the filling.

Mix the beans, corn and most of the cheese together in a bowl.

Start to assemble by spooning about one third of the sauce in an round, ovenproof dish and smearing it about, then layer on 2 tortillas so that they cover the sauce overlapping slightly, like a Venn diagram. Add a third of the bean mixture, then about a quarter of the remaining sauce and 2 more tortillas. Repeat.

Finally, add the last layer of beans, nearly all the remaining sauce and the last 2 tortillas. Spread the last bit of sauce on top and sprinkle with the reserved cheese.

Place on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing it like a pizza. Serve with the avocado salsa.

For the salsa, stir together all the ingredients and check the seasoning.

Serves 8

Japanese Shrimp

According to Nigella, this quick and delicious meal makes her feel, “smug and holy”!

2 tbs. water
2 tbs. sake
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbs. lime juice
1/2 tsp. wasabi powder or 1 tsp. paste
2 tsp. garlic flavored olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
8 oz. shell-off large shrimp (fresh or frozen)
salad leaves, rice or noodles
fresh cilantro, to serve (optional)

Stir together the water, sake, salt, lime juice and wasabi.

Heat a small wok or skillet and add the olive oil and scallions. Stir about for a minute or two, then tip in the shrimp. Cook for 3 minutes or until they start to turn pinkish.

Add the liquid mixture and bring to a bubble, then cook for another 3 minutes stirring the shrimp in the sauce until completely cooked through. Serve over salad, noodles or rice with fresh cilantro, if using.

Serves 2

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

These tender, turkey morsels will delight everyone, from children to adults. Swap in rolled oats for the breadcrumbs for a bit of a healthier option.

For the sauce:

1 onion, peeled
1 celery stalk
2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 x 14 oz. tins diced tomatoes (approx. 3 1/3 cups)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
pepper, to taste

For the meatballs:

1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
3 tbs. breadcrumbs
3 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs. of the chopped vegetables
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Parmesan cheese, to serve
Put the onions and celery into a food processor and blitz into a mush. Reserve 2 tbs..

Warm the olive oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add all but the 2 tbs. of the onions and celery mush along with the thyme and cook over a moderate to low heat, stirring now and then, to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer gently while you get on with the meatballs.

Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs (except the Parmesan) in a large bowl and gently mix them together. Roll into about 50 small meatballs. Drop these into the sauce and let them simmer for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve over pasta or rice.

Serves 4-6

African Drumsticks

The secret ingredient in this dandy little recipe is apricot jam for flavor and sweetness. The drumsticks can also be grilled, basted the with marinade as you go.

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp. English mustard
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tbs. apricot jam
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
8 chicken drumsticks

1 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil

Heat the oven to 400°F. Combine the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, ginger, jam and onion in a bowl and mix well. Toss in the chicken making sure everything gets a good coating. (Leave in the fridge overnight for more flavor.)

Brush the oil over the bottom of a roasting tin that the chicken will fit snugly in. Arrange the chicken in a single layer and tip over the marinade. Cook for 45 minute to 1 hour, basting once or twice.

Serves 4

The combination of ingredients for the marinade is fabulous. Serve with chutney, if you happen to have any about.

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tsp. English mustard

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tbs. apricot jam

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

8 chicken drumsticks

1 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil

Heat the oven to 400°F. Mix the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, ginger, jam and onion in a shallow dish. Dunk the drumsticks in this marinade to coat them all over. (It can be left overnight in the fridge.) Put them snuggly in a small roasting tin or baking dish and pour over any marinade.

Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting once or twice. The deeper the dish or tin, the longer the chicken will take to color and cook through.

Serves 4-6