Monday, 5 July 2010


This week I 'ave been mostly wearing Dolce and Gabbana...

I miss good comedy. You know the sort with catchphrases and proper characters. James Corden has to be the most annoying man on TV and don't even get me started on Michael Macintyre....

So in the spirit of Jesse...this week I 'ave been mostly eating...chicken.

Chicken and Preserved Lemon Tagine
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 600ml chicken stock, hot
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.7kg organic chicken, jointed or 1.5kg chicken pieces (leg, thigh and breast)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half
  • 5 small preserved lemons, quartered.
  • 200g green olives
  • Small handful fresh flatleaf parsley or coriander, chopped

  • Soak the saffron in a jug containing the hot stock for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large deep-sided frying pan or casserole over a high heat and brown the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes. You may need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan and steam the chicken. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the onion to the pan. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and spices to the pan and cook, stirring, for a further minute. If you’re using a tagine, transfer the onion to the base and add the saffron-infused stock and the browned chicken pieces (if using a casserole, leave the onion in the pan, then add the chicken and stock). Bring to the boil and simmer over a gentle heat, covered, for 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is tender.
  • Add the lemons and olives and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Season to taste, scatter with the fresh herbs and serve with couscous.

Harissa spiced chicken with parsley and bulgar salad.
  • 4 free-range chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • A good squeeze of lime juice
  • 200g bulgur wheat
  • 1 carrot, coarsely grated
  • A large handful fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped, 75g juicy raisins
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • A good squeeze of lemon juice

  • Take the chicken breasts and use a rolling pin to flatten them between 2 pieces of cling film. Place in a dish and mix with harissa paste, olive oil and a good squeeze of lime juice. Season well and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Put the bulgur wheat in a saucepan and cover with boiling water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-8 minutes, until tender. Drain and mix with the carrot, parsley, raisins, 3 tbsp olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Season and set aside.
  • Heat a frying pan until hot and fry the chicken breasts, in batches, for 2-3 minutes each side or until cooked through. Slice into strips and serve with the bulgur and parsley salad.
 Sausage, Guinness and mushroom casserole.

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 16 good-quality pork and herb sausages
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 12 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 330ml bottle Guinness
  • 300ml beef stock, hot
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, to garnish

  • Heat the oil in a large casserole or deep, wide frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook for 6-8 minutes, until browned all over. Remove and set aside.
  • Add the onions, celery and bacon to the casserole and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes, until softened. Stir in the flour and tomato purée and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the Guinness, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes, until reduced. Add the stock, bring back to the boil, then return the sausages to the casserole with the mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and season to taste.
  • Transfer half the mixture to a freezer-proof container. Cool, then label and freeze (see freezing tip). Return the remaining mixture to the heat and simmer for a further 10 minutes, until the sausages are cooked and the sauce has thickened. Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potato and savoy cabbage. 
 Trofie Pasta
This pasta recipe uses trofie pasta, which, like basil pesto, comes from Liguria. Trofie takes a little longer to cook than most other types of short pasta, so if you’re not using it, alter the cooking time accordingly. To make this dish suitable for vegetarians as we did at home, omit the Parmesan.
  • 350g trofie pasta or any short pasta shape
  • 250g baby new potatoes
  • 100g fine green beans
  • 4 tbsp basil pesto
  • 4 tbsp Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • Handful small basil leaves, to serve

  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta for 8 minutes until starting to soften. Add the new potatoes and cook for 5 minutes more, then add the green beans and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.
  • Drain the pasta, potatoes and beans and return to the pan. Add the pesto and Parmesan and toss. Scatter with basil leaves and serve immediately with extra Parmesan.

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