Saturday, 9 June 2012

Chook for dinner!

I don't know about you but in our house we seem to go through and inordinate amount of chicken in a week! Don't get me wrong I love, love, love chicken...I like to think I am a fairly adventurous and inventive cook and while I do like the ways I prepare our chicken dinners it does get a little blah and samey after a while, there is only so many ways you can present grilled chicken before it gets boring; and so on Tuesday I found myself doing something I never dreamed I'd ever do...looking up how to cook chicken recipes on Google! WOW there are millions of chicken sites out there and I never knew how versatile the humble chooky thigh could be. I thought it would be a nice idea to share some of the recipes I found in particular the one I tried as it has opened up a whole new avenue of culinary delights for me.

I made this recipe using single cream rather than the suggested double cream, not for any health or weight loss benefits it was just all I had in the fridge at the time. I also used vege stock not chicken stock again cause it's all I had in the cupboard. It was one of the most delicious chicken meals I've eaten in a long while, is was simple and quick to prepare and was a hit with all the family- I can thoroughly recommend this!

I made this and it is delicious!

Chicken Pasta with Thyme-Mint Cream Sauce Recipe
·         Pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine
·         2 Tbsp olive oil
·         1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
·         Salt and freshly ground black pepper
·         1/2 cup of dry white wine
·         1/2 cup chicken stock
·         1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
·         2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
·         1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
·         1 teaspoon lemon zest
·         2 teaspoons honey
·         1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
·         1/2 teaspoon salt and more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Heat 4 quarts of salted* water in a large pot for the pasta. As the water heats, prepare the chicken. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the chicken pieces, spreading them out initially and then not stirring them, so they have an opportunity to brown. Once lightly browned on one side, use tongs to flip the pieces over so they brown on the second side. When pieces are browned on both sides, and just cooked through, remove to a paper towel lined plate.
2 Deglaze the pan with white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and let liquids reduce by half (turn up the heat if necessary). Add the cream, mint, thyme, lemon zest, honey, salt, and vinegar. Reduce the sauce by half again.
3 Once the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta and cook following directions on pasta package. When pasta is ready, drain and add to cream sauce when cream sauce has been reduced by half and is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add chicken to the pasta and sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
* Use a teaspoon of salt for every quart of water. Some people wait until the water is boiling to add the salt. Makes little difference to me. Just make sure you get the salt in the pasta water or your pasta will be tasteless.
Serve immediately. Garnish with a little chopped fresh mint and thyme. Serves 4-6.

This is another chicken dish I make from time to time especially in the winter. I like to serve it with a loaf of crusty home made bread (with plenty of butter!) It is a 'me-concocted' recipe so the amounts are very fluid...adjust to your needs.I prefer to use chicken thighs as they are so much more flavourful and less dry than breasts.

Chicken and Choritzo
Chicken breast or thighs- enough to feed your family
A good quality Choritzo sausage- I use a non-spicy one because I am feeding all my family but it is delicious if you want to make a hot/spicy version of this recipe.
Red onions halved and sliced into thin slices.
Red wine
Tinned tomatoes
Tomato paste
Smoked paprika
Vege stock cube
Salt and pepper to taste.

Brown the well seasoned chicken thighs/breasts and cubed choritzo in a pan, add onions and cook until soft. Remove onions and chicken and deglaze the pan with about a cup of red wine using a wooden spoon to get all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan. Add stock, paprika, t. paste and tin of tomatoes and simmer for about 10 mins. Add onions and chicken and cook slowly for about an hour-a slow cooker is good for this recipe as it allows the stew to cook slowly and the flavours to meld together. It is also nice to add kidney beans (canned sort) at the end of the cooking time.

This is an EASY and YUMMY recipe and is perfect on a cold wintery night to warm you up. Served with a large glass of a good hearty Rioja...perfect!

I am definitely going to try this one soon. I love African food- the spices they use and the rich flavoured sauces are amazing.

Mmmmm this African chicken stew looks absolutely gorgeous!

African Chicken Peanut Stew Recipe
·         Prep time: 15 minutes
·         Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Use chicken legs, thighs or wings for this recipe. They have more flavour and will hold up better with the flavours of the stew than breast meat.
·         2-3 pounds chicken legs, thighs and/or wings
·         3 Tbsp vegetable oil
·         1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
·         A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
·         6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
·         2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
·         1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
·         1 quart chicken stock
·         1 cup peanut butter
·         1 cup roasted peanuts
·         1 Tbsp ground coriander
·         1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
·         Salt and black pepper
·         1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1 Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Salt the chicken pieces well, pat them dry and brown them in the oil. Don't crowd the pot, so do this in batches. Set the chicken pieces aside as they brown.
2 Sauté the onions in the oil for 3-4 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine.
3 Add the chicken, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt, adding more if needed. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 90 minutes (check after an hour), or until the chicken meat easily falls off the bone and the sweet potatoes are tender.
4 Remove the chicken pieces and set them in a bowl to cool, until cool enough to touch. Remove and discard the skin if you want, or chop it and put it back into the pot. Shred the meat off the bones and put the meat back in the pot.
5 Adjust the seasonings for salt and cayenne, then add as much black pepper as you think you can stand—the stew should be peppery. Stir in the cilantro and serve by itself, or with simple steamed rice.

Ah the classic Lemon chicken. I know it is easy to prepare but I have never quite mastered it...hopefully this recipe will be the one!

Lemon chicken- a delicious classic chicken dish.

Lemon Chicken Recipe
·         Cook time: 55 minutes
·         3-4 pounds chicken parts (thighs and legs recommended), skin-on, bone-in, trimmed of excess fat
·         2 Tbsp lemon zest
·         1/3 cup lemon juice
·         2 cloves garlic, crushed
·         2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
·         1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
·         1 teaspoons salt
·         1 teaspoon black pepper
·         2-3 Tbsp melted butter
·         Lemon slices for garnish
1 Place lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, whisk to combine. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut into each chicken piece one or two times by about 1/2 an inch. (This will help the marinade penetrate.) Place the chicken pieces and the marinade in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Rotate the bag so that all chicken pieces are coated with the marinade. Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator (in case of leakage). Let marinate for 2 hours.
2 Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove chicken from marinade and place in a single layer in a large baking dish, skin side up. Reserve the marinade. Use a pastry brush to brush a little melted butter on to each piece of chicken.
3 Bake for a total of 50 to 55 minutes, until the skins are crispy brown, and the chicken is cooked through, juices running clear (breasts have an internal temperature of 165°F and thighs 175°F). Half-way through the baking, at about the 25 minute mark, baste the chicken pieces generously with reserved marinade.
Depending on the size of the breasts, they may be ready before the thighs, so if you are cooking a mix of chicken parts, keep that in mind, you may have to take them out of the oven before the thighs.
Let rest, covered in foil, for 10 minutes before serving.
4 Pour the juices from the pan into a serving bowl. Use a tablespoon to skim the fat off the top (save the fat for cooking with later, or discard, but do not discard down the drain or it will solidify and clog your drain). Serve the chicken with the juices on the side or a little poured over the top of the chicken.
Serve alone or with steamed rice.

All this food talk has made me slightly peckish...must be nearing lunchtime, time for the Oly-monster to awaken and prowl round in search of food! Time for me to go then!

What's your favourite chicken recipe...I would love to hear from anyone who has any other suggestions for me on how to make my chicken meals more exciting! Perhaps so old family secret recipe you'd like to pass on?!

 Hope you have had a fabulous week so far, thanks for stopping by.
xx P xx

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