I discovered Piri piri chicken when watching a Lorraine Pascale programme a few years ago, and have found it a great way of making a humble roast chicken even tastier. This method is slightly different to hers in a couple of ways, the first being that the paste is different and the second being that I spatchcocked the chicken first. This is quite a satisfying job which involves firstly removing the backbone from the chicken (lots of videos on the internet will show you how to do this) and then flattening the chicken.
I don’t know if it’s purely psychological but I think it tastes better this way rather than leaving the chicken whole. Probably something very scientific to do with the way it cooks in the oven – it certainly cooks faster this way. The other benefit I have found is that the piri piri sauce stays on the chicken whereas it tends to fall off if the bird is left whole.
I made the paste above by combining the following and then smearing it all over the chicken:
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp smoked paprika
• 2 red chillis (de-seeded)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp chopped parsley
• 1 tsp white sugar
I then cooked it for 1 hour (it might have been done before then, but at that time the juices were running clear) in an oven at 200oC fan.
After this time it might look a bit burnt – don’t worry it will still taste great, and it’s the sugar that has caramelised that gives it that look. We had this with some sweet potato wedges (I just cut the sweet potato into wedges shapes and roasted them in the oven for 40 mins with some olive oil) and a few salad leaves that Mrs B grows in the garden. A yummy dinner perfect for summertime!
Chicken wings always seem like a treat to have for dinner. I often associate them with being party food – the sort of finger food one has at a buffet. My two boys love them too, the eldest is very adept at eating the meat off of the bone although I tend to cut the meat off for the 2 year old. This is a recipe I have taken (with a couple of changes) from the BBC good food website, which I am a big fan of as the meals on there seem to be very reliable.
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chilli sauce
3 tbsp honey
3 x 475g packs chicken wings
I made up the marinade by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and adding the chicken wings, giving it all a good mix with my hands to ensure all the wings were covered. I then covered the bowl with cling film and whacked it in the fridge for 4 hours (you could do it overnight but I wasn’t organised enough!).
I took the wings out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to allow them to warm up to room temperature and spread them out onto a baking tray, reserving the excess marinade. I put it into the pre-heated oven (160oC fan) for 30 minutes, after which I poured off the excess oil and added the reserved marinade. I then increased the temperature to 190oC fan and put the wings back in for a final 30 mins.
This is a recipe I have borrowed from an excellent blog I follow called Spring Tomorrow. One of the recipes that caught my eye on there had most of the ingredients that you would associate with an Asian curry but with one exception – it used evaporated milk! I often use coconut milk when preparing a curry and whilst it is delicious it can be a little too rich and leave you feeling over-full afterwards.
I used chicken thighs as that is what I had in the fridge – the original recipe uses chicken breast. Other than that the only other variation I had was to use parsley as a garnish as our coriander hasn’t grown in the garden yet! One mistake I made was to add the evaporated milk too early as you might be able to see from the picture that the sauce split slightly (it didn’t affect the taste at all). It needs to go in at the last minute to prevent this.
One large onion
Three cloves of garlic
Two slices of ginger
One dried chilli
Glug of olive oil
6 chicken thighs
One can (400g) chopped tomatoes
170g can evaporated milk
Salt + Pepper
1. Fry the chicken thighs in olive oil on all sides until brown – this took about ten minutes.
2. In a food processor I chopped the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli until it resembled a fine paste. I added this to the frying pan and fried with the chicken for 5 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and let it simmer away for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
4. Turn the heat down low and add the evaporated milk. Stir gently until it is all warmed through and serve immediately. Garnish with coriander.
We had this with some plain rice, and it was totally delicious. Delicately spiced so that you could still taste all the ingredients without any one flavour dominating. I’d really recommend giving this a go, a great way to introduce kids to curry flavours without being too strong for young mouths.
Thanks Spring Tomorrow!
I love to try and get my eldest son AB involved in preparing the dinner as much as possible. The temptation can often be to think “I’ll just do it myself, it will be easier/quicker/not require the whole kitchen floor to be mopped afterwards!” However, I believe that the more children are involved in preparing a meal, the more of an interest they will take in food. Often parents think that the only way a child can help in the kitchen is if they are making cakes and biscuits. Whilst that certainly has its place (and is a huge amount of fun!) it does concern me a little that some children might think that all good food made in the kitchen has sugar, butter, chocolate etc in. What better way of getting a child to try something that they haven’t had or liked before than by getting them to have a hand in its preparation?
With this chicken recipe I got AB to help me make the marinade that goes on to the chicken (he is still a bit too young to be using a hot oven). Firstly I got him to take the leaves off of a few sprigs of thyme – probably 10 or so small ones.
I then quartered a lemon and got him to squeeze all the juice in (doesn’t matter if the pips go in) followed by some salt and pepper.
I then finished the marinade by adding a good glug of olive oil and two smashed cloves of garlic, skin on. There is normally an argument as to who gets the garlic after roasting, they taste divine if roasted in their skins! The 6 chicken thighs then had the skin slashed a few times and placed into the bowl with the marinade. I gave it a good mix around with my hands and left it for half an hour before roasting in an oven for 45 mins, 200oC fan. I served this with some potato wedges and some green vegetables, but you could really serve this chicken with almost any accompaniments. The marinade itself is not set in stone either, again one of those things that you can experiment with by substituting or adding ingredients as you wished.
Tandoori chicken is named after the oven, a tandoor, in which the meat is cooked. It is a cylindrical oven made of clay – funnily enough I don’t have one of those in my kitchen! It can also be cooked on a barbecue although this would be much harder to do with a whole chicken as it’s difficult to ensure it is cooked through. Also, it was a chilly afternoon in the middle of March, I wasn’t quite feeling brave enough to get the charcoal out…
So I have named this Tandoori-style chicken as I cooked this in our electric oven. Again, a nice simple and quick method to enable you to cook this as a midweek roast if you wish. Preheat the oven to 200oC fan. I mixed together the following ingredients in a bowl:
• Chopped ginger and garlic (about a tbsp. of each)
• 1 tbsp ground coriander
• 1 tbsp garam masala
• ½ tsp turmeric
• Salt, to taste
• 1 chopped dried chilli
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 3 tbsp veg oil
I then just smeared this mixture all over the chicken:
I then roasted this for 1hr10mins, taking it out to baste halfway through. After which time the chicken was cooked so I let it rest for ten minutes or so before carving.
Again I served this with rice and lentil dhal and a dollop of yoghurt. I also like some chilli pickle with this as it’s a great way for me to have some heat with my dinner without it being too much chilli for my son’s taste buds!
A really simple chicken dish that cooks in well under half an hour but also tastes great, based on the recipe from Nigella Lawson’s “Kitchen” book. You really can’t go wrong with chicken and cream together. Given that it is easy to slightly overcook chicken breast (particularly as you need to make sure it is properly cooked through) the cream helps to hide this a bit, as well as providing richness to the sauce. The tarragon itself provides a mild flavour which is all you need as you don’t want to detract too much from the subtle flavour of the chicken breast.
Serves 2 Adults + 2 kids
- 3 Chicken breasts
- Vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp Freeze-dried tarragon
- 200ml Double cream
- 1 glass white wine
- Sprinkle of salt and pepper
- Few leaves of fresh tarragon (optional)
- Cut the breasts in half lengthwise and fry in a splash of oil over a medium heat for 3 minutes, or until it has started to brown a bit.
- Turn the breasts over and sprinkle over the tarragon, followed by the salt and pepper. Fry for a further 3 minutes.
- Add in the wine and let it bubble down until there are a few tbsp’s of liquid remaining. Then add in the cream.
- Once the cream starts to thicken and bubble it is ready – just cut into the thickest part of the chicken to check no pink meat remains, this will tell you that it’s all cooked through.
- Serve with your choice of potatoes and vegetables. I love this dish with mashed potato to mop up all that creamy sauce and some crunchy sugar snap peas to add some texture. You could add a few chopped tarragon leaves at this stage if you wanted.