My Lazy Chicken

DSC_0370I am not sure if this is a concept or a recipe since it has seen so many variants over time, but it always comes out as a finger-lickin’ and lip-smackin’ success.

This dish was originally inspired by Nigel Slater. Allow me to step into his footsteps and try inspire you:

Lazy Chicken is a dish of chicken thighs roasted with rosemary, garlic and olive oil, then served with lemon juice and basil along a good helping of sage butter fettuccine. And, as the name of the dish suggests, it’s dead easy to make even for the lazy cook.

Find a roasting tin or an earthenware dish.

Measurements per portion:

Take 2 or 3 free-range organic chicken thighs, skin on. Trim where necessary but leave most skin, fat and bones with the meat. Put into the roasting dish.

Crush two cloves of garlic, with skin if you need to be rustic, otherwise without. Add to the dish. Add one small dried red chilly and a star anise.

Sprinkle with a generous amount of sea salt, then add a good helping of olive oil and juice from half a lime. Toss it all about to ensure an even mix and good coating, then re-adjust the thigh peaces to be skin-up with the skin exposed. Sprinkle some more salt onto the skin.

Put the dish into the oven at 210 C for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 C for another 25 minutes.

Sprinkle a generous helping of Marsala across the dish and freshen up the flavour with another sprinkle of lime juice. (Marsala is an Italian fortified wine. Substitute with dry port wine if necessary.)

Give it another five minutes in the oven, then take out and add a handful of finely chopped fresh Basil.

Meanwhile, cook some good quality egg-rich Fettuccine. When these are ready, melt 50 g butter per diner in a saucepan until foamy, then fry a handful of finely diced fresh sage leaves.

Toss the pasta with the sage butter, serve with the chicken and a crisp white wine.

It won’t look like fine dining, but neither will the finger-licking diners. It’ll make for a fine dinner though.

Chicken Soup

DSC_1799-1Here’s to a lovely rich and rewarding Chicken soup.

You need one mid-sized free range chicken, skin, bones and all.

A good thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, 3 star anise, two tablespoons of coriander seeds, one large onion, two cloves of garlic, a bulb of fennel, salt, pepper, 3 dried chillies or a teaspoon of chilli flakes.

Cut all the spices and stuff into thin slices and medium-sized cubes. Heat a good splash of olive oil and sweat everything until the onion begins to darken.

Add two teaspoons each of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the chicken on top, add 2 litres of cold water. Add two large tomatoes, diced. The chicken should be covered only just.

Put the lid on, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 90 minutes, then turn the heat off but let it slowly cool down within the same pot, still on the stove. Residual heat from an electric cooker is no problem, it just cools down even slower.

Finally, debone the chicken. The good pieces of meat go into your bowl, the blood vessels, some of the grizzle and skin goes into the cat’s bowl, the rest into the food waste bowl.

Run the liquid through a sieve to remove the parts, then bring the liquid to the boil. 3 minutes before serving, add fresh or deep frozen peas, chopped mushrooms and fresh mustard greens (alternatively use pok choi or small Germaine salads). Add the meat to re-heat it in the last minute.

Serve with bread.

T’is perfect on a cold day. T’is perfect against a common cold, a heartbreak or common heartache. I even love it on a hot day.