Sunday, May 29, 2011

yummy chicken pot pies recipe

I gave my gal the option of chicken sausages or chicken pot pies for dinner and she barely drew breath before saying, "Chicken pot pie!" This is my fail-safe meal: kids LOVE it, and so do adults. And it's pretty simple too:

Serves 4
2 freerange chicken breasts
2 waxy potatoes, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 litre of salt-reduced chicken stock
3 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon plain flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 slice of puff pastry

Place the chicken stock in a deep fry pan with the thyme and garlic {leave it whole}. Pop in the chicken breasts and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes until it's turning opaque, then turn over. Put a lid on top if you think it needs extra help.

Saute the potatoes and carrots in some butter for around 5 minutes, over a low heat to avoid colouring. Tip in the flour and mix well to coat all the vegies. Cook for two minutes to take away the floury taste. Remove the cooked chicken breasts from the stock and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add to vegies, then pour stock over the top. Stir, then bring to the boil and simmer until it thickens, usually around 5 minutes. Season to taste.

Put the filling inside individual ramekins, or a large pie dish. Cut out a circle of puff pastry to fit over the top of the ramekin/pie plate. Brush it with a little olive oil cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape then sprinkle with salt flakes.

Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes, or until browned.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas. Seriously, it's good.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

lamb shanks with french lentils recipe

Here's my slow roasted lamb shanks with lentils recipe. So. Damned. Good.
Serves 6
6 lamb shanks
Plain flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 litre beef stock
1 cup french lentils du puy
one whole anchovy
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves

Coat frenched lamb shanks in a liberal dose of seasoned flour {plenty of salt and pepper}. Then, in a heavy bottom pan, brown them in a little olive oil. Really brown them. Take them out. Next, add one litre of beef stock, 1 cup of red wine, one whole anchovy {trust: it'll melt}, two cloves of crushed garlic and three bay leaves to the pot, stirring well to remove any yummy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add one cup of french lentils du puy. Add loads of freshly ground pepper. Stir and then bring to the boil. Add the lamb shanks. Cover tightly {I cooked this in my le crueset french oven} and pop in a low oven {140 celcius} for at least 3 hours. Serve with creamy french mash and green beans. So good. My husband said it's as good as duck confit and in my house there is no higher praise.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

best-ever roast chicken recipe

I do love a good roast chook, and here's my quick and simple recipe for a tasty roast.

1 Free-range chicken {it has to be free-range!}
1 lemon
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Two pieces of streaky bacon
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup of white wine
Olive oil.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Bring chicken to room temperature by leaving out of fridge for 15 to 30 minutes {taking care in summer!}.

Rinse the chicken inside and out under running water, and shake off any excess. Pat the chicken dry with kitchen towel or a clean tea towel. Sprinkle with olive oil and massage it in well. Next, season with salt and pepper all over the skin, and inside the cavity. Cut the lemon in half and place it inside the chicken cavity, along with the sprigs of thyme. Place chicken on a rack inside a baking tray. If you don't have a roasting rack, make a 'trivet' out of sticks of carrot and thickly sliced onions - you need to keep the chicken off the base of the tray. Pour white wine into the tray. Place the bacon over the breast of the chicken.

Place in the oven and roast for around 15 - 25 minutes per 500g. You can baste the meat with pan juices every 15 minutes if you like. With 15 minutes of cooking to go, remove bacon from breasts, it should be nice and crispy and you can either eat it yourself {as a cook's treat} or chop it up and place it over the vegies.

Chicken is done when the skin is golden brown and you can stick a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and the juice flows clear {not pink}. Otherwise, get yourself a meat thermometer for failproof cooking.

Remove chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Cover it loosely with a tea towel while it's resting. Make a gravy from the pan drippings by adding a little chicken stock to the white wine and pan juices. Place pan on a hotplate and stir while bringing to a boil. Simmer for up to five minutes while the sauce thickens.

Serve with plenty of roasted vegies and a stack of greens. {And don't forget to use the leftover chicken carcass to make stock: cover with water, add an onion, a carrot and some thyme and simmer for an hour}

Thursday, May 19, 2011

chicken and chorizo risotto recipe

This here's one of our favourite family recipes. It's simple {well, for a risotto} and super-tasty. I've also used some flash-fried prawns instead of the chicken.
Serves 4.
2 chorizo sausages {or try pancetta or bacon}
2 freerange skinless chicken breasts
1 litre of chicken stock
A few sprigs of thyme
Arborio rice, around a cup and a half
1 cup dry white wine
2 big cloves of garlic
finely diced onion or french shallot
Parmesan and butter to taste

Slice chorizo and brown in a frypan. Remove and set aside.

Place your stock and thyme sprigs in the frypan, using your wooden spoon to get all the yummy chorizo brownings from the base, then place chicken breast inside. Bring to a slow boil then turn it down to simmer. Depending on the size of the chicken breasts it can help to have a lid to pop over the pan to help the chicken poach evenly.

Melt a little butter and some olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and then add the garlic and shallots. Add a little salt - this'll stop them from burning. Cook over a very low heat till soft. Next, add your rice, stirring for 2 minutes till it's coated with butter and starts to change colour. Ideally it should be letting off a teeny bit of milky liquid.

Pour in your cup of white wine and stir. Now, pour yourself a glass of white wine and get comfy - here's where the arm workout comes in. Good risotto takes constant stirring in my opinion - that's why a glass of wine {oh, and the odd wedge of parmesan} makes it all go much more smoothly.

When the wine is almost absorbed add a soup-ladle full of the simmering stock. Keep checking your chicken breast - they can take up to 15 minutes to poach depending on their thickness. When they're done, remove and set aside.

Keep stirring, and adding stock one ladleful at a time. After about 20 minutes test your rice. It should be nearly opaque with just a wee spot of white in the middle. Your risotto still needs to have a soupy consistency, so keep your stock up.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and stir it through the risotto. Turn off the heat and add a nob of butter, some freshly ground pepper and parmesan. Add the chorizo at the last minute and serve with wedges of lemon on the side {alternatively make a lemon, parsley and garlic gremolata to serve over top - mmmmmm}.

And enjoy!