Category Poultry

Chicken & Black Bean Empanadas

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promised I’d be inspired from our recent adventures in Mexico. The food and country stole our hearts and we are incredibly lucky to have had such an amazing immersive honeymoon. Whilst I’ve only managed to find one good Mezcal bar in London (Hacha, Brixton/Dalston), I have been creating smoothie bowls, tacos and now, empanadas in the kitchen.

I think empandas are pretty forgiving and adaptable (don’t tell the Mexicans?). Being a very loose cousin to the Cornish pasty in my view, as long as the pastry is fresh and flaky and the filling tasty and moist –  you can’t go wrong. We didn’t eat too many of these in Mexico to know the ‘traditional’ size but I like that you can make these larger or smaller to fit into your menu. Here I opted for the slightly larger than canapé size as part of a Mexican tasting menu.

Makes about 15 (depending on their size)

  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150g cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4-5 chicken thighs, skin off, deboned
  • 2 large shallots, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes (or as hot as you like)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can tinned tomatoes
  • Handful coriander, chopped

You can use shortcrust pasty or puff if you don’t want to make it yourself. I used a tea saucer size to cut out the pastry circles for size.

Filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ and get yourself a large casserole dish.
  2. Heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat in your dish and add the shallots. Gently cook for about 8 minutes until soft and translucent making sure they don’t catch. Season well, add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes to soften.
  3. Add the chicken thighs and turn up the heat to brown them slightly on the outside (don’t worry too much, it’ll all go in the oven shortly!)
  4. Add the ground spices and mix everything well to coat for a few minutes.
  5. Add in the tinned tomatoes and mix well. Add half a can of water from the kettle if its looking a bit thick, basically enough to submerge the chicken but not too watery!
  6. Add the black beans and mix well.
  7. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes, lid on. Remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes or so. By this time the mixture should have reduced nicely and the chicken tender.
  8. Remove the dish from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
  9. Before it gets cold, take two forks and shred the chicken into bitesize pieces and mix everything to combine before leaving to cool completely before stirring in the chopped coriander.

Pastry

  1. To make the pastry, mix the cold cubed butter and flour and baking powder in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Season. (You can rub this in by hand but make sure the butter is cold).
  2. Add in a few tbsp of cold water bit by bit with the processor running until the dough just starts to come together in a ball.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and combine into a nice soft ball. Wrap in cling film and refredigate for 1 hour.

Assembly

  1. Remove the pastry from the fridge and leave to warm up for about 15 minutes. Cut into quarters to make it easier to handle. Roll each quarter out on a floured work surface to the ticket of a coin. Use a cutter or an upturned saucer to cut out circles of pastry. Size is totally up to you – you can go large pasty style or small canapé size.
  2. Spoon a small amount of mixture into the centre of the pastry – the amount will depend on the size but be cautious and don’t overfill, its easily done.
  3. Brush beaten egg around the outside of the whole pastry disc.
  4. Turn over the pastry to make a half moon and seal the edges with a fork by pressing the pastry edges together.
  5. Brush the empanada with egg and bake at 200℃ for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 

Roasted Chicken, Creamy Lentils, Salsa Verde

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uy lentils, cream, Dijon, salsa verde and chicken. One of France’s greatest flavour combinations. There is nowhere to hide here; its an honest, humble dish best served with a creamy Burgundian chardonnay. A cinnamon infused apple tart tatin and a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream would be a welcome dessert…

Salsa verde will enhance so many dishes and meats from lamb cutlets to steak and is one of my favourite sauces. The acidic and sharp flavour cuts through the creamy lentils and gives your chicken a herby hug. The below is a guide to measurements but I often throw in some rouge coriander and adjust the quantities to taste so use yours!

This would also work really well with 1 whole roasted chicken, carved or chicken thighs!

Serves 2 

  • 2 free range chicken supremes with skin OR chicken breasts with skin on (try and get the best you can afford, its make the world of difference)
  • 4oz Puy lentils (green lentils also work)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 3 heaped tbsp creme fraiche (I use half fat)
  • Greens – to serve

Salsa Verde – this you will have leftover and will keep for a few days in the fridge

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Handful capers
  • Handful gherkins
  • 2 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Start with the salas verde. Chuck everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Add plenty of salt and pepper and then add enough oil to get your desired consistency. Taste and adjust as needed adding a bit more vinegar/Djion/ salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside.
  2. Next season the chicken well and preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a splash of olive oil.
  3. When hot, add the chicken skin side down and cook for about 3-4 minutes just to get that skin crisp and golden. Once there, turn onto the flesh side to seal it and then pop the chicken in the oven for 20-25 minutes (I used really large chicken supremes so if yours are smaller the cooking time will vary – check after 15 min by touch to see how they are getting along!)
  4. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and whisk in the stock cube. Add the lentils, bring to a strong simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Again, you don’t want to overcook these. Check after 15 minutes and allow for a nice bite. If you overcook they will go mushy!
  5. Once cooked, drain and season well. Add the creme fraiche and stir well.
  6. Once the chicken is ready remove from the oven and let rest for a minute. Slice into thick slices at an angle.
  7. To plate, spoon a generous portion of creamy lentils onto a plate. Top with your chicken and finally a spoonful of that vibrant salsa verde.

Chicken Cacciatore with Orzo

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 classic Italian hunter stew, perfect for a post snowy weekend in January. The temperature just won’t seem to rise above 10 and remain and whilst we were all really over 2020, we’re definitely really over January 2021.

That said, I’ve kept cooking and revisiting ingredients. I’ve added some orzo here which is a nice way to use it as I generally find its a bit of an odd ball of the pasta world. A bit like a risotto rice soul trapped in a pasta body!! But here, like rice, it gives a nice indulgence, substinance and texture! You can easily substitute in some butter beans, potatoes or rice, just adjust the liquid quantities accordingly.

Note: I like to remove the bone from my chicken thighs as they cook quicker and are easier for you and your guest to eat but its not a must! You can do this by using a pair of kitchen scissors if you chose to easily – you don’t need to buy them deboned. I’d prioritise buying thighs with skin on, than already deboned. I often find the deboned ones are skinless – gahh!

Serves 4

  • 8 chicken thighs, skin on (deboned easily using a pair of kitchen scissors – optional)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped finely
  • 1 Sprig thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Handful olives – everyone has their favourite so up to you
  • 1 tbsp chopped capers
  • 1 tbsp balsamin vinegar
  • Large glass red wine (about 250ml)
  • 1 chicken stock cube, made up of 300ml boiling water
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes/cherry tomatoes
  • 300g orzo, washed first
  • Flat leaf parsley, finally chopped to garnish
  • 1 lemon, zest only, to garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Heat a casserole pan over a high heat and add a splash of oil. Season the chicken and fry skin side down for about 5 minutes until beginning to turn crispy and golden. Flip it over to seal on the flesh side then set aside on a flat until needed.
  3. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for a few minutes until soft and season. Add the chopped rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, olives and capers and stir.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the balsamic and let it bubble away. Add the red wine and cook out for a few minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and the stock and give everything a good mix.
  6. Add the washed orzo and stir well.
  7. Return the chicken thighs to the pan in one layer submerging the flesh but keeping the skin free from liquid if you want to get that crispy top.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Once ready remove from the oven, scatter over the chopped parsley and lemon zest and serve with some lightly buttered green beans!

 

Chicken Tagine…

….with apricots, cinnamon and chickpeas! These are all the classic flavours I conjure up when I think of a chicken tagine. The weather promised rain and high winds so it felt suitable. Sadly the rain didn’t come but we still feasted after busy days.

Those dried apricots soak up the juices like mini cinnamon infused orange sponges and the chicken meat slides from the bone like butter from a knife. Feel free to de-bone the thighs but this is the one recipe where I tend not to given how tender they become with slow, moist cooking. I recommend using some good quality chickpeas only as they will be roasting for a while. The cheap supermarket brands will do nothing but disappear. Spend the extra 40 pence people!

It really is an easy assembly job once you get that pan on the hob and into the oven but one that will impress guests and leave you hosting and not bound to the kitchen. Or it’ll simply satisfy your fiancee at the end of a long Tuesday as ours did here.

Serves 3 (big portions or 4 smaller)

  • 6-8 chicken thighs (skin on). I usually serve 2 per person but use 1 if serving smaller portions
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander
  • 2 tbsp Ras el hanout
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained. I use these Napolina chickpeas as they are by far the best. It makes a difference from own brand retailers.
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 80g dried apricots, halved
  • Handful coriander, chopped
  • Handful flaked, roasted almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 190. Get yourself a fairly shallow casserole dish. Ideally you want all chicken in one layer so nothing is submerged so have this in mind.
  2. Heat your casserole dish with a tsp of olive/sunflower oil (NO Extra Virgin oil – I must stress, do not ever heat/cook with this. It’s for dressings only). Season the chicken well on both sides and on a high heat, skin side down, cook in the pan until beginning to crisp. Turn over onto the flesh side for a minute then remove all chicken pieces to a plate. You should be left with some oil and juices – use it!
  3. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the onion to the same pan. Sweat for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Season well as you go.
  4. Add the ground spices and stir to combine for 1 minute or so.
  5. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cinnamon stick and apricots and stir.
  6. Add enough of the stock so you have a nice thick sauce but not so its really thin. You can adjust by cooking any excess liquid off at the end but you don’t want the chicken to drown!
  7. Stir to combine and check the seasoning.
  8. Return the chicken to the pan and place each thigh skin side up into the dish. You don’t want to submerge the chicken skin or it won’t crisp up in the oven. Skin should be exposed on top.
  9. Cook for about 1 hour checking to make sure it hasn’t dried out of liquid (top up with hot water/stock if needed) and to check the skin is crisping up! Turn up the heat if it isn’t. After 80 minutes or so it should be nicely thick with crispy skin. Remove from the oven and let it rest and cool slightly.
  10. Scatter with the coriander and the sliced almonds.
  11. Serve with fluffy cous cous if you wish with a squeeze of lemon!

 

Udon Chicken Noodles

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his was a really quick dinner! I rarely ever cook noodles but with 7 nights of guaranteed meals to experiment with lately without the interruption of that 2019 fad we called socialising, I’ve more time to test!

My fiancee said his stomach was happy after this meal so I think job done! One note for next time was perhaps to make a sticker glaze…

The recipe below is how I cooked it…I’ve listed a second option for a sticky glaze below that which is taken from this recipe (Sticky Soy and Sesame Pork) which would also work well with udon instead of rice.

If you want to make this vegetarian/vegan – toss in some tofu and mushrooms!

Serves 2 hungry people (or 2 with leftovers)

  • 300g chicken breast diced (or 2 chicken breasts)
  • 400g ready to eat udon noodles
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • Handful green beans, chopped in half
  • Bunch spring onions (about 6), chopped
  • 1 red chilli (I used birds eye), chopped
  • 1 large knob ginger, chopped (the more ginger, the better if you’re a fan)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • Handful coriander, chopped
  1. Marinade the chicken in a large bowl with the ginger, garlic, chilli, soy, 1 tsp sesame oil and the honey and leave for about 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a tsp of oil on a medium high heat in a large frying pan and gently fry the pepper and green beans for about 8 minutes until beginning to soften.
  3. Next, add the chicken and its marinade and cook until the chicken is just cooked but don’t let it overcook or it’ll dry out. It doesn’t take long!
  4. Meanwhile while the chicken is cooking, put the noodles into a bowl and pour over some boiling water to loosen the strands. Gently mix until the noodles come apart. Drain well and drizzle with the other tsp of sesame oil to keep them from sticking.
  5. Once the chicken is a a few minutes away from being ready, add the spring onion and cook for the final few minutes.
  6. Add the noodles and stir everything well making sure to coat them in the juices – add a splash more soy if needed.
  7. Remove from the heat, sprinkle over the coriander and serve! You can even toss in some salted peanuts if you like.

Sticky Glaze option

  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  1. Marinade the chicken as above.
  2. Combine the cornflour with about 2 tbsp cold water in a mug. Add the rest of the ingredients for the glaze and stir.
  3. Cook the recipe above up to completing stage 5.
  4. At this stage, add the sticky glaze and stir quickly well. If it gets too thick, add a splash of cold water and stir until smooth.
  5. Add the noodles and coat everything well. Loosen with a touch of cold water or soy if needed.

Sprinkle over your coriander!

Beer-in-the-butt Chicken


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orry to my readers but particularly those vegans among us who might find this offensive but its by far my favourite way to cook a whole chicken. Firstly for its ease and secondly for the moisture it maintains. The beer not only creates a steam around and inside the chicken during roasting but it also makes for an excellent gravy.

Some recipes call for this method on the BBQ but I’ve never had a good experience cooking a whole chicken on the BBQ in anyway unless spatchcocked. It takes too long and by the time the heat has penetrated to the core bone meat, the outer breast meat is dry and overcooked. If you’re going to cook a whole chicken on the BBQ either spatchcock it first or at least pre-cook it for 70% of the way in the oven before finishing on the BBQ to get that lovely charred flavour. It’ll also help you to preserve any sticky marinade you don’t want burnt off and destroyed in the first 10 minutes!


This recipe will serve as many as the chicken is big!

  • 1 chicken
  • 1 red onion, quartered roughly
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 x 330ml can lager. Choose a milld lager so it doesn’t overpower your gravy.
  • 25g butter (soft, not fridge cold)
  • Few springs thyme
  1. Preheat the oven to 180.
  2. Take deep baking tray and throw in your red onion and garlic.
  3. Mix the butter with the thyme and some salt and pepper and use it either stuff under the breast and thigh skin of the chicken or on top. Either is fine.
  4. Tip out about 3/4 of your can of lager into the baking tray and then sit the can in the middle.
  5. Place the chicken on top and push down so its sitting snuggly. Roast in the oven for about 1 hour but this will depend not he size of your chicken. Make sure to keep topping put the tray with a bit more beer/white/water depending on what you have around. You don’t want it to dry out.
  6. Once cooked and looking golden, remove from the oven. Carefully (this is the hard bit as the can will be HOT) remove the chicken from the can. I like to use my oven gloves and then just wash them afterwards. Place the chicken, cover and leave to rest.
  7. Tip any remaining beer into the tray and either pop the tray directly onto the hob or tips the contents into a saucepan.
  8. Whisk well adding a splash of water and a tsp or two of Bisto to make a lovely gravy. Taste and season. I like to keep my gravy chunky with the onions pieces but you can blend if you like.
  9. Carve you chicken when ready and serve with your gravy.

I served mine with some polenta chips and some lightly boiled and buttered kale and peas.

Polenta Chips

  • 150g instant cook polenta, please extra for dusting
  • 400ml vegetable stock (1 x cube crumbled into water)
  • 1 large sprig thyme, leaves picked
  • 30g parmesan cheese, finely grated.
  1. Start by getting your container ready. Once cooked you put the polenta into a mould (i.e. container) to let it cool before cutting into pieces so best to chose a tupperware or something that is rectangle shape and not too large. Oil it lightly inside.
  2. Bring the stock to the simmer in a saucepan.
  3. Season your polenta well with salt and pepper.
  4. Once it is simmering, whisk in the polenta stirring quickly. It will start to thicken instantly. Keep whisking and then take off the heat – I find this takes about 1 minute so don’t be alarmed if it happens fast.
  5. Once off the heat, add in the cheese and thyme and mix well.
  6. Press the mixture lightly into your container so its about 1 inch thick. You may need multiple containers.
  7. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  8. Once chilled, remove from the moulds and cut into chip sizes and dust in extra polenta on a plate. Once you’ve done them all you should have  a plate of chips!
  9. Heat some sunflowers oil in a frying pan until hot. Fry them on all sides until golden and crispy. They can take some time to colour so be patient.

Katsu Chicken Curry

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hat is it with boys and Katsu curry? I’ve only eaten this dish twice. I’ll admit that and both of these have been my own recipes and at the request of a man! Forgive me for never trying the real deal in Wagamama but I’ve never seen the hype. That said, this went down a treat! After an early morning work out, busy day at the desk and gorgeous cycle round London to end the evening, I greedily settled into the kitchen with a beer and some curry powder. This for me is like a spiced roast dinner comfort. A hug in a bowl. The sauce was easier than I ever imagined and probably a reason why I never will try that famous takeaway version.

Ladies…if your other half is a fan, this will make the perfect date night treat.

Serves 2

  • 2 free range chicken breasts
  • Breadcrumbs (3-4 slices, blitzed to breadcrumbs)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Plain flour
  • Sunflower oil

Curry Sauce

  • 1 white onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic gloves, grated
  • 1 knob ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp runny honey

Serving – I served mine with some boiled rice mixed with lime juice and freely chopped coriander at the end and some steamed veggies!

  1. Start by prepping the chicken. Put the chicken breasts between two sheets of cling film and bash with a rolling pin until flattened slightly or at least so they are a similar thickness all over – a bit like a schnitzel but don’t go as flat!
  2. Prepare 3 bowls, one with some flour, one with the egg, and the other with the breadcrumbs. Dip each chicken breast, one at a time, first into the flour (shaking off any excess) and then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Press the breadcrumbs lightly onto the eggy chicken until covered well! Place both chicken breasts once done on a plate and refrigerate.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 while you make the sauce.
  4. Gently heat some sunflower oil in a pan and add the onion. Gently sweat and soften the onion for about 15 minutes – keep the heat low or it’ll burn. After this, using a fine grater, grate in the garlic and ginger and fry for a few more minutes.
  5. After this time, add the curry power, flour and the turmeric and stir well for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock a bit at a time, stirring well to avoid clumps! Once all added and smooth stir in the soy and honey.
  6. Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes then blend with a hand blender. Keep on a low heat while you cook the chicken. Taste and adjust with seasoning if needed.
  7. At this stage, cook the rice while you prepare the chicken.
  8. Heat a frying pan on a medium high heat and add a generous few tbsp’s of sunflower oil and a knob of butter. Once hot, add the chicken and fry until golden for a few minutes. Turn onto the other side and cook until golden again. Remove from the pan, add to a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. When ready to serve, slice the chicken into thick but manageable slices. Serve on top of the rice and spoon over as much ‘curry gravy’ as you like.

Chicken, chorizo & butterbean stew

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often make this when I don’t have much in the fridge because a can of butter beans, tomatoes and some chorizo are more than often hanging about patiently waiting for their moment in the lime light. Its also a delicious and quick stew knocked up and served with a fillet of lightly fried seabass and a wedge of lemon. One of my favourite comfort dishes (besides my Asian salmon) and perfect for sunny Sunday evenings.

I’d rate this a 1-2 on the easy scale so there really are no excuses…except veganism. And even then, you can make it for your grateful carnivore friends!

Serves 6 (or 4 with leftovers)

  • 6 free range chicken legs
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 spring rosemary, leave picked
  • 100g chorizo, diced into 2cm (ish) cubes
  • 2 cans butter beans
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large glass red wine
  • Basil to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Heat a large, casserole dish on a medium high heat and add a tbsp of sunflower oil. Season the chicken legs and sear, skin side down until the skin is turning golden. Once golden and starting to crisp, remove and set aside on a plate.
  3. Turn the heat down to a medium temperature and slowly cook the chopped onion for about 8 minutes or until turning soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chorizo and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Chop the rosemary finely and add to the pan and stir well. Increase the heat a little and add the wine, letter it simmer and reduce down before adding the tomatoes.
  5. Stir well until combined and then add the chicken legs on top making sure they are not swamped in the liquid and their skin stays clear so they can get crispy.
  6. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. After this time remove from the oven. Remove a few of the chicken legs so you can get access to the sauce and add in the drained butterbeans and stir. Add the chicken back ontop and put back in the oven for 20 minutes until the chicken skin is really crispy!
  7. When ready to serve, scatter with basil and tuck in!

Pheasant, braised lentils, parsnip puree

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his recipe opitimises Autumn and seasonal eating. I’m in dangerous territory of sounding like we make a regular event of it, but my more manly other half spent last weekend trekking the Wiltshire countryside surrounded by more tweed than the Queen’s wardrobe and enough flatcaps to make Prince Philip smile. Long story short, if you can’t invisage this little gathering, he went on a shoot day and…you guessed it… brought home some pheasants!

This time of year is a great time to start indulging in warming comfort food and eating what the seasons dictate. I heard pheasant, my stomach thought, bacon, parsnips, chestnuts and all things festive.

S

o out came the trusty Le Creuset for what might be, its last outing in this Putney kitchen. As you’ve probably not noticed, I’ve not been as active as I have been this past year. Having spent the past year arranging our membership into the first time buyers club, we are finally nearly there. Touching distance. Packing distance. But just enough time for one more roast before my faithful kitchen that has served me so well these past years in London, gets packed away and upgraded to a new humble abode. 

WINE: We were feeling a little like we’d overindulged in the alcohol that night, but this would have been lovely with a Pinot Noir.

Serves 2

  • 1 whole pheasant, gutted and plucked
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 rashes or smoked, streak bacon OR 1 small pun net lardons
  • 1 bunch thyme, leaves picked
  • Handful of dried mixed mushrooms
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 4oz Puy lentils
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200ml milk
  • Beurre manie – 1 knob of butter, mashed into a paste with 1 tsp flour. Use at the end for thickening the sauce without creating lumps. The butter will also add a gloss.
  • Steamed greens – kale, savoy cabbage etc (opional)
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 200. In a large heavy based casserole dish, heat a knob of butter and some oil. Season the pheasant and then brown the whole bird on all sides until its looking golden and the skin is crisping. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Turn to heat down to a medium level and add the chopped onion and fry quickly until beginning to soften.
  3. Add the bacon/lardons and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Finally, add the garlic and thyme and cook gently for just a few more minutes.
  5. Turn up the heat, add the wine to deglaze the pan. Gentle simmer to reduce the alcohol.
  6. Add the pheasant back to the pan, chuck in the dried mushrooms and then add a good 200ml or so of the hot chicken stock.
  7. Place in the oven for 50minutes or so until cooked through. Baste a few times during cooking. 
  8. When the bird has been in for about 30 minutes, start on the lentils. Simmer in the remaining chicken stock for about 18 minutes until just tender but with a definite crunch.
  9. Once the pheasant has cooked, remove onto a plate to rest. Pop the casserole dish back onto the hob and simmer the juices and roasted ingredients. Add the lentil (liquid and all) and simmer to combine. Simmer until reduced. Then add the beurre manie and cook out until beginning to thicken and turn glossy.
  10. Serve with steamed greens like kale or savoy cabbage

Parsnip Puree

  1. Peel and roughly chop the parsnips.
  2. Add to a saucepan with about 200ml milk and then top up with water until covered.
  3. Add a few whole peppercorns from your grinder if you can OR a good pinch of cracked black pepper.
  4. Add the bay leaf
  5. Simmer (watching as the milk has a tendency to over boil) for about 10 minutes or until they are very tender but not waterlogged. 
  6. Once the pheasant is at its resting stage, you’re ready to make the puree.
  7. Remove the parsnips from the liquid which you need to reserve.
  8. Add to a processor with seasoning, a good splash of reserved milk and a knob of butter. Blend to get the desired consistency adding more milk if needed (You can also use a masher).

Glamorous Little Gems & Chicken

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ts been one of the hottest days in London and I’m wishing I was anywhere else. Regardless if this is a “technically” true stat, for me, an outrageously and inhumane (#dramaqueen) commute home on a train only partially cooler than an incinerating furnace left me feeling like a spit roast chicken…without the delicious golden skin (which we all know is the best part). I power walked home with nothing but a swimming pool and a cold beer on the mind. To do just that. I love it when a plan comes together. After a refreshing lengths session in the local pool with the lane to myself and only one drifting plaster in sight I counted this as a good exercise sessions (it is also Thursday…most people have better things to do). I was feeling energised, refreshed and ready for the start of my evening round 2. Beer on the mind I wondered aimlessly around Co-op. Again, depressing for a Thursday evening I know. Inspiration at a stand still.

I’m convinced some of my favourite recipes are created out ofspontaneity and the need to EAT! And tonight, I was in one of those rare moods where (yes I’ll admit) I just want to eat and don’t care to much for the show business of blogging and aesthetics. Needless to say….I inevitably eyed up my camera as I always do as the meal was coming together and…well here you are. Thursday evenings creation. I am, if you are keen to know, enjoying a cold beer as I write this. I likely won’t be proofreading so please don’t be that ‘helpful’ reader who comments to advise of my grammatical errors….

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 4 chicken thighs, deboned
  • 8 slices thin chorizo
  • 1 large garlic clove, diced
  • 2 little gem lettuces
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • Two large handfuls breadcrumbs
  • Sunflower oil
  • Lemon juice & yoghurt to serve (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Start by deboning the chicken thighs as most come sold with bone in. Easiest way is crudely with a pair of scissors. Heat a frying pan until hot. Season the skin side of the chicken well and then fry skin side down until really crisp and golden (like that spit roast…).
  2. Place the 8 slices of chorizo in a baking tray. When the chicken skin is temptingly crispy, seal the flesh side in the pan by flashing it on the heat before placing on top of the chrizo slices skin side up and putting the tray into the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the frying pan again and add a little oil. Fry the breadcrumbs and the diced garlic until golden and crisp, set aside in a large bowl.
  4. When the breadcrumbs have cooled slightly, to the bowl, add the lemon zest, as much finely grated parmesan as you like, the finely chopped parsley and some good seasoning.
  5. Heat a griddle pan or the same frying pan again and add a small splash of sunflower oil. At 5 minutes before the chicken is ready, halve the little gems, discarding any tatty outer leaves, and char these cut side down for a few minutes until just beginning to soften and the outside is golden (these are ideally done charred on a BBQ but a griddle works well. I actually did mine using a frying pan so this is also fine and effective). Remove from the heat.
  6. To serve, place the crispy chorizo on a plate and top with the chicken. Serve with the little gems scattered generously with the breadcurmb/cheesy crumb.

A cooling lemony yoghurt works well here drizzled over the little gems to add some clean acidity as most of the elements here are greasy. Some freshly boil peas also add a nice clean taste and addition. This also works well as an excellent side dish to many other proteins and salad. The textural contrast is the best!