Tag Archives: chicken

Three-day menu for a sick week

Whee! I am still coughing like Mimi and wanting to sleep 18 hours a day like the cats, but I am also doped up to the gills on antibiotics and codeine syrup, which means that I’m also feeling alarmingly happy.  Apparently, I have the sort of brain chemistry that just *loves* opiates.

Since I’m also feeling exceptionally happy and clever about my food cunning while sick, I am going to share my menu with you…

(It’s not vegetarian.  Sorry.  But I had this lovely, free-range chicken, you see…) Continue reading

Christmas Leftovers Recipe: Moroccan Chicken and Pumpkin Filo Triangles

I make a variation of this recipe basically every time I do a roast or slow-cooked chicken.  With only two of us in the household, we don’t use much chicken on the first meal, and while I love roast chicken, Andrew doesn’t like it much at all, so the leftovers always go into a pie.

This is another cricket lunchbox menu – I’m pleased to say that when I told my brother what was in our lunch hamper yesterday, the man in front of us turned around and said ‘That sounds absolutely amazing’, which made me feel very smug indeed.  Because it really was a very good lunch, if I say so myself – chicken pastries, zucchini pesto muffins, spinach salad with apricots and blueberries (from the Green Kitchen App, which I enthusiastically recommend to your attention if you don’t have it already), apricot and peach schnapps shortbread, and crispy filo cigars full of fruit mince with double cream to dip them into.  Yum.

lunch

(Though apparently my presence at the cricket causes concussions and batting collapses – yesterday wasn’t a good day for the batsmen on either side, and last year, I presided over Sri Lanka’s total collapse, with bonus concussions, on day three of the Boxing Day test.  My brother wants me to come in to the MCG this afternoon to jinx the Brits, and I’m just trying to decide whether I can face the weather in the name of scientific enquiry.)

Anyway.  These are full of lovely moist chicken, and sweetly spiced pumpkin and chickpeas, all leftover from Christmas Eve Lunch, though you could make this from scratch if you wanted to.  And you might want to, because they are really delicious, warm or cold.

Your Leftovers & Shopping List

Leftover slow-cooked or roasted chicken (about half a chicken)

Leftover roasted carrots, roasted pumpkins and chickpeas, spiced with chilli, ginger, garlic and star anise; or use plain roasted pumpkins, one tin of chickpeas, and chop up one chilli, two garlic cloves and about 2cm of fresh ginger, and sauté briefly until they lose their rawness.  You want this veggie mixture to be between half the weight of the chicken and one and a quarter times the weight – essentially, you don’t want the pastries to taste just of chicken or just of pumpkin, but it’s fine if one side dominates a bit.

2 tsp preserved lemon, finely chopped

1 packet filo pastry, and I strongly recommend you buy it from the fridge section, not the freezer section, because it is much, much easier to work with

olive oil spray

Now what will you do with it?

If the chicken is still on the bone, remove it from the bones, and remove the skin and any other bits that aren’t really edible (use these bits to make stock).  Shred it into a large bowl.

Chop up the pumpkin and carrots, and add to the bowl with the chickpeas and preserved lemon (and spices, if you did them separately).  Again, you shouldn’t need to season this, because you presumably seasoned your chicken and roast veg when you cooked them the first time.

pumpkin

Spray one sheet of filo pastry with olive oil, and put a spoonful of the chicken and pumpkin mix onto the lower half, towards the right hand end.  Essentially, imagine the first fold, which will be folding the pastry in half lengthwise, and the second fold, which will be a triangle folding from the right hand corner up to the first fold, and aim to have your filling in the bit which will be covered by the second fold.

That was totally unintelligible so here is a picture.

filling

Once you have a triangle, flip it over along its vertical side onto the next bit of pastry, then flip it down over its diagonal onto the next bit, then across, and so forth until you are out of pastry.

fold

Put the resulting triangle onto a tray lined with baking paper, and spray it with more olive oil.

Repeat with the rest of the mixture and the filo pastry. (If you have excess filo pastry, I highly recommend making fruit mince cigars with the rest of it – but that’s a recipe for next Christmas, when I will actually pay attention to what I am doing so that I can write it down.)

triangle

Bake at 180°C for about half an hour, turning partway through the cooking time, until the filo is golden and crisp on each side.  Serve hot or at room temperature – the filo will go soft if you have to refrigerate it, but it will still taste lovely.

Variations

This is obviously not a vegetarian meal, though it is dairy and egg free, and also nut free, for a change.  It’s also fairly low GI, due to the chickpeas, and would be lower if you used sweet potato to replace part or all of the pumkpin.

It’s hard to think of a likely variation, since this is all leftovers-based, but you could, of course, make a larger pie, in which case I would layer the chicken with the pumpkin separately, and perhaps add ricotta or spinach layers or both.  Diana Henry has a beautiful recipe along those lines.

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One year ago: A menu for the cricket
Two years ago: Easy pasta dinner

Recipe: Chicken in a Pot with Artichoke and Aioli

This recipe fills me with delight.  Really, the reason I bought a slow cooker was to be able to have something cooking all afternoon that would make the house smell wonderful.  Well, I had to go out to the shops yesterday after my chicken was in the cooker, and it was cold and wet and grey outside, but when I opened the door to come in, the house was warm and bright and had the most wonderful aroma of roasting chicken.  Perfect.

I’ve never pot-roasted a chicken before, but this will certainly not be the last time for me.  Done in the slow-cooker like this, the chicken becomes so tender that it literally falls off the bone – I was wondering how to carve it, but when I went to pick it up, it just fell apart into pieces: leg, thigh, breast, wing, and so forth.  

You can basically serve this with the cooking vegetables, bread and aioli (allow me to emphasise the importance of the aioli – it really makes this dish); because I had randomly invited some people around to dinner, I served it with roasted parsnip and potatoes and baked cauliflower as well.  There were no complaints.

Best of all, once we had eaten, I just returned the bones to the pot with the cooking liquid (which, I might add, had become abundant), a litre or so of water, and some vegetables and chicken skin I’d kept aside earlier, closed the lid, and let the slow cooker make chicken stock while we had dessert and I wrote up my market post from yesterday.  And today’s lunch was the best chicken and mayonnaise sandwich I have ever had…

NB: No photos, I’m afraid.  I didn’t think I’d be recording this one – I had no idea it would be this good – and the one flaw in this recipe is that it is really not photogenic…

Your Shopping List

8 garlic cloves, peeled
12 shallots, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and quartered
2 leeks, trimmed, washed and halved lengthwise
2 celery sticks, quartered
1-2 cardoons, chopped into lengths about 2 inches long
6 small jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and halved or quartered (use potatoes if you are scared of jerusalem artichokes, but they do go lovely and silky and make everything taste like artichoke)
1 sprig of rosemary
2 sage leaves
salt and pepper (if you have a herbed salt and pepper mix, it would be great here)
1 chicken (about 1.5 kg) – free range, if possible
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
a few strands of saffron
Aioli (recipe below) or roasted garlic mayonnaise

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Respect the chicken!

(This is another one of those ‘I’m really not vegetarian’ posts.)

I talk a fair bit here about respecting the chicken (or the lamb, or the beef, as the case may be), and being mindful of where meat comes from, both in terms of the way the animal has been raised and treated during its life, and in terms of remembering that it is a whole animal – not just the breast or leg or maybe some mince.

But having said that, I’m actually fairly new to the idea of using as much of the beast as possible.  This is partly because I really do not like offal (and yes, I have tried it), partly because it’s just easier to buy meat which doesn’t require trimming or boning or whatever, and partly because my tastes in meat are a bit boring and Andrew doesn’t like meat that is recognisable as meat, so to speak.

This makes the idea of using as much of the animal as possible rather daunting…

On the other hand, when I do manage to start with a whole chicken, and break it down into its components and use it over several meals and make stock with the remains, I feel so terribly pleased with myself afterwards…  Also, thrifty!  And, while it makes extra work at the beginning of the week, it saves work later in the week, so you don’t lose much time by it.

(and also, I find that we then tend to go vegetarian for the entire following week because we are so entirely over chicken by that point, which is thrifty *and* ethical!  Bonus! – though of course, one does have the option of freezing things…)

Anyway, this post isn’t about pretending that it isn’t easier to buy your chicken just by the section you want to use (especially, of course, if you live alone – I don’t think any single person can reasonably be expected to deal with that level of leftover-commitment), and nor is it going to be a moral high-ground thing.  But I suspect I’m probably not the only person out there who really likes the idea of using a whole chicken and making stock and doing exciting things with leftovers but is totally intimidated when actually faced with a whole chicken.  There are, undoubtedly, other ways to do this, but here’s what I do.

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Recipe: Rosemary Chicken Skewers with Fruity Pilaf

I wanted to do something beautiful with those rosemary branches.  That’s pretty much all the commentary this gets, because that was the entire inspiration for this meal.  This recipe is truly mine – I’ve made jewelled pilafs to a number of recipes, but this isn’t any of them, and marinades are something I tend to improvise.  I had to make an effort to measure things.  Depending on the size of your dish, you may need to use more or less marinade – just keep the proportions about the same and you’ll be fine.

Your shopping list (serves 4)

8 large, woody rosemary stalks
4 chicken breast fillets with tenderloins, or 8 chicken thigh fillets
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
couple of splashes of white wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, sliced
seasonings of your choice – I used a teaspoon of French Lavender Salt and a little rosemary and it was amazing, but salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme would be a lovely combination too
25 g butter, pref. salted
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup water or stock
a good pinch of saffron
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, halved (dried cranberries, currants or dried figs would do if you can’t get cherries)
1/4 cup dried apricots, sliced
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 red capsicum
1 lebanese cucumber
extra virgin olive oil (infused with lemon or blood orange, ideally)
white wine vinegar
Greek yoghurt, to serve
 

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Recipe: Arroz con Pollo with Peas

This recipe is adapted from Andrea Chesman’s book Serving Up the Harvest.  I’ve made this recipe with snow peas, sugar snap peas, green beans or broadbeans supplementing or replacing the peas, and I often add paprika, chilli, oregano, thyme, or whatever other vaguely Spanish herbs and spices seem good to me.  It’s an, easy, tasty and healthy supper dish that makes a nice lunch the next day.

Your Shopping List…

2 cups basmati rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock (homemade if you have it)
1/2 cup dry sherry (though I’ve used marsala on occasion)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tbsp olive oil
500g boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, diced
1 fresh chilli, or see my suggestion above regarding dried herbs and spices
4 crushed garlic cloves (but I won’t tell if you use more)
2 cups fresh peas, frozen peas or a combination of these with snow or sugar snap peas, or broadbeans
2 roasted red peppers, sliced (or more! fire-roasted peppers are particularly good here)
20 pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper
 

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