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    Sunday, February 21, 2016

    Roast Chicken on a Bed of Greens with Yummy Potatoes

    Keeping on with the chicken theme of this week
    It was our Granddaughter’s 14th Birthday and Grandma was on dinner duty
    A chicken dinner seemed to tick all of the boxes

    Amongst recipes I have saved over the years, I found this idea from Angela Hartnett,
    a British Chef I really admire
    This is a dish that can be eaten at room temperature

    Potatoes with Chicken, sitting on a salad of Green Beans, Leeks and Red Pepper
     Very pretty and particularly tasty

    Crispy skin, was not important on the chicken this time, just wanted lovely juicy breasts
    But I left the skin on, to self baste the breasts
    Removed it for serving
    So prepare the Salad first

    600g/1lb 5oz green beans
    16 baby leeks

    ½ tsp Dijon mustard
    50ml/2fl oz cider vinegar
    250ml/9fl oz olive oil
    2 banana shallots, finely chopped
    2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
    4 tsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

    1 red pepper chopped

    Place a large pan of salted water over a high heat and bring to the boil.
    Add the beans and leeks and cook for 2-3 minutes,
    then drain and refresh in iced water.
     Place the mustard, vinegar and 250ml/9fl oz olive oil into a bowl and whisk to
    Slice the beans and leeks into three on the diagonal and add to the dressing.
    Add the shallots, tarragon, parsley and red pepper
    Then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    Set aside

    Now the Chicken 
    4 large chicken breasts, skin on
    Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 180C
    Season the chicken breasts, both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    Into a roasting pan and into the oven for about 12 minutes
    Remove and test with a skewer or sharp small life
    Just push it half way through the breast
    Hold for 10 seconds
    Put it to your lips, it should be hot
    And the juice should run clear
    If not quite done… back into the oven for another 3 minutes
    Remove and set aside to rest for a few minutes

    Drain the salad, keep the dressing
    Slice each breast into 4 pieces and place into the dressing that is drained
    from the salad
    Lay out the salad on a large serving platter
    Place the dressed chicken slices on top

    Pour any remaining juices over the top

    Trishie’s Potatoes
    Now you can make this in advance, in fact the more ahead, the better
    Get those flavours infused

    Take 4 large Potatoes peel and chopped into medium cubes
    Bring to the boil in salted water and simmer till they are almost cooked
    Drain and pop into a oven dish
    1 packet of French Onion Soup Mix or  in this case I used this
    Roast Garlic with Tarragon Flavouring, which worked in very well with the tarragon flavour in the chicken
    Plus 200 ms cream

    Sprinkle the potatoes with the soup mix,
    Season with a little salt and pepper
    Funnily enough the French Onion soup mix is not overly salty
    so it needs some extra seasoning
    Pour the cream over
    Toss well and cover
    Let sit for at least an hour or even longer
    so that the potatoes can absorb those flavours and the cream

    Pre-heat oven to 200C
    Cook till cream is absorbed and potatoes are golden and crispy
    Probably take about 30 minutes
    Season with a little extra salt and pepper

    Once again. you can do this earlier and just pop back into a hot oven for 5-10 minutes,
    Just to heat through

    Here is our beautiful Mia singing at her Granddad's funeral just 3 weeks ago
    So proud of her
    Cheers Mia, Happy birthday

    Friday, February 19, 2016

    Dinner for One - Family Favourite Roast Chicken

    Sometimes you just need a Roast Dinner and when you are living alone,
    I guess it seems like it's not worth doing, but I assure you it is.
    These days of course you can buy any old cut of meat to feed one, with usually some interesting leftovers for the next day.
    Baby lamb rumps, or in this case a Chicken leg...

    It is so simple, quick prep, into the oven and plonk down in front of TV with your favourite tipple. while it cooks away
    A virtual one pan cook, Less dishes you say?
    Yes, indeed

    Recently I have been cooking my chicken, as I learnt from Thomas Keller of
    The French Laundry, fame.
    Purely season and cook
    Lovely crisp skin, very moist chicken, just the way I like it
    I will post his instructions for a whole chicken, shortly

    The Vegetables.
    Just cut them into small cubes, everything will cook at the same time

    I had some chicken fat in the fridge, extra chicken flavour, so I used that, but normally I would use Olive Oil

    So for my Roast Chicken I used

    1 Chicken Maryland (leg)
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
    1/2 a capsicum any colour, cut into cubes
    1 red onion large chop
    Olive Oil or Fat of your choice
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

    Frozen Peas

    Pre-Heat your oven to 200C
    Add a good slosh of Oil to your roasting pan
    Pop it into the oven to heat the fat
    Throw your prepared vegetables into the tin
    Season with S & P
    Toss well

    The idea with the chicken, is to keep it dry and let it cook in its own fat and juices
    So pat the leg dry, with a paper towel
    Season it well , both sides with salt and pepper
    Place on top of your vege

    Into the oven
    Cook for 25 minutes
    Remove and toss the vege around in all of the chicken juices
    and shuffle the chicken so that it is flat on the pan with all the vege around the sides
    so that they will all brown
    Back into the oven for another 10 minutes
    Slip a sharp knife or metal skewer into the leg, the juices should run clear
    Remove and let rest for about another 5-8 minutes.

    Meanwhile while they are resting
    Cook your frozen peas in the micro wave
    Should take about 2 minutes on high
    Throw into the pan and mix
    Serve, This chicken was so moist, I ate every single little bit.
    Yes I did have leftover Vege, They are going to be in a pasta dish.

    Perfect Roast Chicken - Thank you Thomas Keller

    Every morning,  recipes arrive into my email box, from the Bon Appetit/Epicurious Website
    So every morning I scan down to find something of interest.
    One that caught my eye, was
    The Perfect Roast Chicken, from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Cookbook

    I’d love to reprint it, as I love his descriptions,
    but I may get in trouble
    with copyright.
    So here in my words, is how to Roast a Perfect Chicken
    Courtesy Thomas Keller

    Take one 1.5Kg Free Range Chicken
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Chopped thyme (optional)

    Some important points to note
    First you must dry the chicken completely...
    Inside and out
    The idea is, the less the chicken steams, the drier the heat,
    The better the chicken

    Season the chicken well inside, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Secondly: Truss the chicken
    You don't have to be an expert to truss
    just make sure the wings and the legs are close to the body,
    this makes a great shape and the chicken can roast evenly

    Pre-heat your oven to 220C/ 450F
    Rain sea salt over the chicken and grind some pepper over the top
    You should see those flakes on top

    Place the chicken into a roasting pan and place in the oven

    Do not touch it, just let it cook for 50-60 minutes
    Check after 45 minutes don't want to overcook it
    Best way to test for “doneness”
    Just poke a skewer into the leg
    Hold there for about 10 seconds
    The juices should run clear
    Put the skewer to your lips
    it should be hot
    Not quite right,
    back into oven for a few more minutes

    Remove from oven
    Place thyme (if using) into pan and baste the chicken
    Baste with the thyme and chicken juices

    Let sit on cutting board for 15 minutes to rest

    Remove the twine and break up into pieces
    The aroma is divine, it’s so hard not to rip into it and eat it all by yourself

    So unselfishly,
    Dish out good portions to your guest/guests
    Serve with a simple green salad, maybe some simple boiled potatoes
    So so simple in fact!!!

    Guaranteed a huge success

    n.b. Thomas Keller slathered the chicken with butter, before serving, but I did find that made the skin a little flabby
    So in my wisdom. Serve as is.
    I want some right now