Delia’s Basque Chicken

This is a great recipe.  I first tasted it when our friends, Steve and Al, came to stay.  They made it for us one night and it was so good I asked them for the recipe.

Basque chicken, in its many guises, is a traditional dish from the border regions of Spain and South Western France.  It is an easy one-pan dish (which I love) and extremely tasty.  If you don’t have a favourite version, do give this one a go.  You won’t be disappointed.  It is easy enough for an every day meal and special enough for guests.

The first time I made it, I used Steve and Al’s recipe then I got curious as to its source.  I found it online.  It is from Delia Smith’s The Delia Collection: Chicken.  Steve’s recipe was slightly modified from the original.  I will give you the original version and then suggested amendments. This type of recipe is very forgiving so feel free to play around with it to suit your tastes.

With the additional rice, the recipe will serve 6.  Tonight was the third night in a row we have had it.

Ingredients:

  • 1.75 kg chicken, jointed into 8 pieces (When cutting up a chicken, I usually take out the backbone and cut off the wings.  I freeze the back bone until I have a decent stash and then make stock with them.  I keep the wings and when I have enough, I make this recipe.  This time I had four Marylands in the freezer so I used them. [I separated the legs from the thighs]. Steve prefers boneless thighs.  If that is your preference, use them.)
  • Basmati rice, measured to the 225ml level in a measuring jug*  (The original recipe called for brown Basmati rice.)
  • 275 mls chicken stock*
  • 170 mls dry white wine*
  • ½ large orange, peeled and cut into wedges.  I used a full one which was not particularly large.
  • 1 level tsp chopped fresh thyme (Steve used 1 tbs of parsley)
  • 50g olives (I used a few more)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 large red capsicums
  • 1 very large or 2 medium red onions
  • olive oil
  • 150g chorizo sausage, skinned and sliced (I used a half a sausage.  I didn’t weigh it.)
  • 50g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 level tbs sun-dried tomato paste.  You can buy this from any supermarket.  If you don’t want to buy it especially for this recipe, just use ordinary tomato paste.
  • ½ tsp hot paprika.

*I doubled the rice as we are both big fans.  If you are doubling the rice, double the liquid too.

Method:

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Slice the capsicums in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and pith, then slice each half into strips.
  3. Peel the onion and slice into strips of approximately the same size as the capsicum.
  4. Chop the dried tomatoes.
  5. Heat a couple of glugs of olive oil in a casserole dish (an electric fry pan also works well for this), brown the chicken pieces, then set aside.
  6. Add the onion and capsicum and cook on moderately high heat for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the chorizo, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and toss these around for a minute or two.
  8. Stir in the rice and, when the grains have a good coating of oil, add the sun-dried tomato paste, paprika and chopped thyme.
  9. Pour in the stock and wine.  Season with salt and pepper.  As soon as the liquid boils, turn the heat right down.
  10. Place the chicken on top (it’s important to keep the rice down in the liquid).  Place the wedges of orange and olives in amongst the chicken.
  11. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over the gentlest possible heat for about 50 minutes or until the rice is cooked but still retains a little bite.

Alternatively, cook in a pre-heated oven (180°C) for 1 hour.

Char Sui Chicken Salad

OMG, it is summer.  I have been neglecting this blog big time. I still intend writing posts but never seem to get around to actually doing it.  Maybe this post will be the start of a  flurry of activity.  I really don’t have any excuses.  It is just that I have been writing this blog for nearly 7 years and wonder whether anyone really cares whether I write a post or not.  Are blogs still popular?  I don’t even know that.

Another reason for my lack of activity is we haven’t been cooking many new things lately… but last week we did.   We had two nice Asian-style salads in anticipation of summer.  And this recipe, in particular, was very nice.  It was so delightful, in fact, that I decided to made a grand effort and take a photo of it. Continue reading

Stir fried sweet chilli chicken

Hello, hello, hello.

Geez, you wouldn’t know that this is a food blog, would you?  I have really lost my cooking mojo of late.  Essentially, we have primarily been focusing on tried and true recipes that have already featured on this blog.  We have tried a few new recipes and I have even snapped photos of them but, to be honest, they weren’t stand outs so I didn’t bother preparing a post. Continue reading

Freekeh salad with marinated chicken & pomegranate dressing

Here is another recipe from my current favourite book, Palestine on a Plate, by Joudie Kalla.  I noticed the recipe a while ago and parked it.  Then, the other day, when I was thinking, “What’s for dinner?”, it sprang forth.

It is very simple but it does take about 30 minutes to cook the freekeh so allow yourself sufficient time.

I am a real fan of freekeh but we don’t eat it often enough.  As a consequence, there was a packet in the pantry getting precariously close to its use-by date.  Coincidently, we also had abundant pomegranates, mint, parsley and chives so the recipe was a perfect choice.  There was not much on the shopping list.

The recipe as published (and as set out below) is supposed to feed four.  I guess it just depends on how much chicken you like.  We usually eat one breast between two of us.  I used one large breast and made about a third of the marinade, ie, 1 teaspoon of dried mint, 1 teaspoon of za’atar, etc.  I roughly halved the salad ingredients.  What constitutes “a large bunch of parsley”, “a bunch of chives” and “a bunch of rocket” is anyone’s guess.  As it turned out, the quantities I chose were perfect for us.  The top photo, which was half of what I made, was just right for one.  Work out how much chicken and how much salad you think you will need and adjust the recipe accordingly.

If you like to eat grains (we all should) and haven’t tried freekeh, give it a go.  It is very nice.  I find it  similar to brown rice.  For those who don’t know, freekeh is roasted green wheat grain.

Ingredients:

  • 300g freekeh
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthways

Marinade:

  • 1 tbs* dried mint
  • 1 tbs* za’atar
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tbs* pomegranate molasses
  •  a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & black pepper

Salad:

  • a large bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 5 spring onions, chopped
  • a bunch of fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • a bunch of rocket
  • 2 red chillies, chopped

Dressing:

  • 100ml apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbs* pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbs* caster sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 70ml olive oil
  • 1 tbs* dried mint
  • 1 tbs* za’atar
  • 1 tsp salt

*These are 15 mil tablespoons.

Instructions:

  1. Boil the freekeh in a saucepan of salted water for about 30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, drain and then leave the freekeh to cool down slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C with fan .
  3. Put the chicken in a bowl and add the dried mint, za’atar, chilli flakes, pomegranate molasses and a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.  Mix to ensure it is all coated.
  4. Tip the chicken out onto a baking tray, pouring over any excess juices from the bowl as you do.  Bake for about 20–25 minutes until cooked through.  Slice the chicken into strips.
  5. Add the parsley, spring onions and chives, red chilli and pomegranate seeds to the freekeh and mix together.
  6. Mix the dressing ingredients together, adjust the seasoning to your liking and toss  over the salad.
  7. Sit the salad on a bed of rocket and then top with the sliced chicken and its juices.

Chicken roasted with 40 cloves of garlic and Merguez sausages

I must tell you my chicken and garlic story.  It was 1982 and we were in Singapore.  We were on our way home after a year in Europe and we weren’t staying at the flashest hotel in town.

We decided to eat at the hotel restaurant and I ordered chicken and garlic.  Well, I certainly got my money’s worth in story currency.  You see, there were 51 cloves of garlic and about three pieces of chicken.  When it arrived, we laughed and laughed and laughed.  I ate the three pieces of chicken and counted the garlic.  We were not as familiar with garlic then as we are now. Continue reading

Chicken a la Tunisienne

Chicken à la Tunisienne is a very fancy name for what is not much more than a respectable take on the infamous 70’s dish apricot chicken. Was apricot chicken as popular in other countries as it was in Australia?  It was big time popular here.  I know my mum made it and so did Maus’ mum (Though, her mum was a bit more posh than mine.  She sprinkled flaked almonds on her apricot chicken!!). Continue reading