Friday, 17 June 2011

One Pot Chicken

“Have you taken photo’s of this?” sighed The Boy. This can be roughly translated from Boy-talk as “Am I allowed to eat this yet?”. Poor guy; I have this dreadful habit of taking photos of our food (most of which end up on here!). Worse still, I’ve been reading up and attempting to develop the quality of my photographs which means that I’ll often be heard barking “You’re in my light!”. Not the most gentile of pre-dinner conversation.

My terrible table habits aside, life hasn’t been easy for The Boy in recent weeks so I’d decided to treat him to a relaxing evening. Naturally, this included a hearty, home cooked meal to make his tummy happy (what with the way to a man's heart being through his stomach and all that). I’d wanted something that would be bursting full of flavour but wouldn’t require too much nursing over the stove. Sure, there’s a time and place for complicated recipes but after work, I’d rather keep things simple.

Rewind by a couple of days to when Angela Harnett’s recipe for Hunter’s Pot Roast Chicken caught my eye on the Guardian’s website. Straightforward, undemanding and more of a starting point than a recipe as I could see the potential to swap-out ingredients depending on what was available.

I gave myself a head-start by prepping the marinade and slathering the chicken that morning before leaving it to infuse in the fridge while I was out at work. Five minutes prep was all it took. On my return, I took the chicken out so that it could come up to room temperature before it cooked. I decided to go with seasonal greens – kale and spring green cabbage – and the last of the British asparagus that I could find. Keep your eyes peeled in the supermarkets as the Peruvian stuff is gradually coming back to the shelves in place of the lovely British spears that we’ve been spoilt with recently.

I served it up with The Boy’s favourite lager and some juicy jersey royals but it’s a great adaptable recipe. Use whatever is in season and is in your larder. Very little washing up too!

“Yes, my darling. I’ve taken all the photos I’ll need. Tuck in!”

One Pot Chicken
Serves 2

For the marinade
½ chilli, sliced
2 cloves of garlic
2cm fresh ginger, chopped
Juice and zest of ½ lemon

4 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
170ml white wine, vermouth or stock
½ onion, sliced
2 large leaves of spring greens, washed and finely sliced
Large handful of curly kale, washed
1 bunch of asparagus
Sunflower oil

- Pound the ingredients for the marinade with a pestle and mortar or whizz up in a food processor. If you don’t have either, finely chop the chilli, garlic, ginger and lemon zest together on a chopping board and then mash together with the lemon juice.
- Slash the chicken a few times with a knife and then rub with the marinade. Leave on one side while the flavours infuse for as long as possible.
- Steam the greens and kale by rinsing them and putting them into a microwaveable dish. Put a lid or plate over (or cover with cling film) and microwave for 5 minutes or so.
- Heat a little sunflower oil in a saucepan or casserole dish. Brown the chicken skin side down and then turn over.
- Drain away any fat and then deglaze the pan with wine/vermouth/stock. Do this by pouring in the liquid and gently stirring, pushing any the browned bits that have cooked on to the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle the onion over the chicken and stir. Simmer gently, turning the chicken to ensure that it cooks evenly, for 15 – 20 minutes.
- When the juices run clear, remove the chicken from the pan and add the steamed greens and asparagus with any cooking juices from steaming the veg. Put the lid on the pan and cook for a few minutes until the asparagus is as you like it. We like it al dente (and The Boy will happily eat it raw) so this didn’t take long.
- Return the chicken to the pan. Serve with jersey royals, par-boiled and then fried in the chicken fat, or crusty bread.

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