Recipe: Tarragon Chicken

One of my go-to dishes of 2020 was this easy and delicious tarragon chicken. Initially inspired by Nigella’s recipe but I have now made so many changes to her version that I need to write down my own recipe.

The biggest difference between her recipe and mine is the cut of chicken we use. I know chicken breast is the traditional option here, but I prefer chicken thigh fillets and they become so juicy and delicious I wouldn’t make this any other way!

What I love about this dish is that it’s quick to make (like 15-20 minutes with no prep) but still feels elevated. It would be perfect for date night or even a dinner party (remember those?). Or why not a summer’s lunch with cold rosé and a green salad or asparagus instead of the broccoli?!

Tarragon chicken, serves 2

4-5 chicken thigh fillets

2 tbsp mild olive oil

1 tsp dried tarragon

100 ml dry white wine

1/2 tsp salt

120 ml double cream

2 tsp dried tarragon

salt and pepper

Pour the oil into a medium saucepan. Heat to medium temperature and add 1 tsp tarragon. Cook for a minute then add the chicken thigh fillets, smooth side down on top of the tarragon. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn the chicken and add the wine and salt. Lower the temperature to a simmer and put a lid on the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes. Check with a knife to see that the thicken is cooked through, then remove to a plate and let rest while you finish the sauce. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the cream and 2 tsp tarragon to the pan. Let it thicken slightly and adjust the seasoning. Serve with buttery rice and broccoli.

Recipe: Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta with Spring Onions

There are so many aspects of a roast chicken supper that I like. That the golden roasted bird with herbs, lemon and butter pairs fantastically well with dauphinoise potatoes and is a real joy to eat is of course number one. But it’s also extremely satisfying that I can make stock from the bones to use for soup or stews. And that I can use leftovers for both sandwiches and (at least) another supper! You really can stretch a chicken quite far, especially if you’re frugal with the leftovers and use with pasta, as I explained in this post.

Like that recipe, this one came about in the usual manner; while creating a dish using leftover chicken and what else I had to hand at that time. In this case mushrooms and spring onions. The result, so good I wanted to share it with the world!

Creamy chicken and mushrooms pasta with spring onions, serves 2

250 g spaghetti 

100 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped

150 ml cream

1 tbsp lemon juice

1-2 tbsp tomato paste

150 g leftover roast chicken, torn into bite size pieces

3 spring onions, sliced  

approx 100 ml pasta water 

salt and pepper

grated parmesan

Cook the spaghetti al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the mushrooms until golden brown on medium-high heat. Season. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic. After a minute or so add the cream and stir while it thickens. Add lemon juice and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the chicken and half of the spring onions. Add the cooked pasta and some pasta water and using tongs or a wooden fork, move the pasta so the sauce thickens. Once each strand of spaghetti has a nice coating of sauce remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and peppar. Add grated parmesan and the remaining spring onion and serve.

Recipe: Fajita bowls with chipotle soured cream

I made these delicious fajita bowls (so much easier to eat than actual fajitas, and less bread) in the last lockdown before Christmas. I tried to make easy but delicious weeknight suppers so that I could continue to cook more elevated weekend dishes. Weirdly I found it really satisfying cooking weeknight suppers. I’m trying to keep it simple without it being boring and this fajita bowl fits that brief perfectly.

Feel free to play with the toppings. You could add salsa, pico de gallo, refried beans, pickled jalapeños, corn, you name it. I used what I had to hand! But I highly recommend the chipotle soured cream – it’s so good!

Fajita bowls with chipotle soured cream, serves 2

1 flour tortilla, cut into six triangles

2 tbsp salted butter

2 portions of rice, cooked according to the instructions on the packet

1 medium onion or large shallot, sliced thinly

1 pepper, sliced into thin strips

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

5 chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of fat and gnarly bits and cut into strips

olive oil for frying

3 tsp smoked paprika

3 tsp cumin

2 tsp onion granules

2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

1 tsp lemon or lime juice

Toppings:

approx 4 tbsp grated cheese

1 tomato, chopped

1/2-1 avocado, cubed

a small bunch chopped coriander

200 ml soured cream

1-1 1/2 tsp chipotle paste

Start by adding the butter to a frying pan and place it on medium-low heat. Fry the tortilla bread until golden on both sides. Place on kitchen towel to drain and set aside.

Add a generous pouring of olive oil into the pan and turn the temperature up to medium. Fry the onion/shallots and peppers until soft and just starting to brown, while stirring occasionally, approx 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so. Transfer to a bowl. Pour more oil into the pan and add half the chicken. Let it brown and cook for a few minutes, then add salt and pepper and half the spices. Transfer to the onion and pepper bowl and fry the remaining chicken in the same way.

Add all the chicken, peppers and onions to the pan and cook for a few more minutes to make sure the chicken is cooked through. Taste, adjust the seasoning and add the lemon or lime juice. Set aside.

Mix soured cream with chipotle paste in a bowl and add salt to taste.

Start building your bowl with warm rice in the bottom. Add the chicken, tomato, avocado, grated cheese, chipotle soured cream and coriander. Lastly add three fried tortilla triangles to each bowl.

Updated: Cider Chicken

The last time we had people over for dinner before lockdown this is what I made; an updated version of my ten year old recipe for cider chicken. It’s really fun to cook my old recipes and get reacquainted. with the familiar flavours. And this is a recipe I’m particular proud of. But, as with everything, there was a little room for improvement. The recipe below feels fresher and easier and is still as delicious as the original!

Cider chicken, serves 4

8-10 chicken thighs with the skin on

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

2-3 tsp herb de Provence

500 ml dry apple cider

1/2 stock cube

2 tsp dijon mustard

500 ml cream

bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Add the olive oil to a frying pan frying pan that you can use in the oven later (no plastic handles that could melt) and heat to medium-high. Brown the chicken all around until nice and golden. Season with salt, pepper and herbs. Pour cider into the pan until approx 2 cm place in the oven. Cook in 200C for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and keep warm.

Add the remaining cider to the pan and place on high heat to reduce a little. Add the cream, mustard and stock cube. Let it thicken and adjust the seasoning and herbs. Place the chicken in a varm serving dish, pour over the sauce and scatter with chopped parsley.

Recipe: Chicken Naan Wraps with Raita

I have lost count how many times I’ve eaten these naan wraps by now, so it is about time I write about them too!

They are really simple to make, and because of that I think they’re perfect for a Friday night supper. That’s when I usually want something really moreish, not too fancy (only on occasion) but something really satisfying and even a little messy. And this dish ticks all those boxes.

The inspiration comes from The Kitchn but rather than using lamb, I used chicken thighs even the first time I made it. It’s just what I prefer, but I’m sure it’s lovely with lamb mince too. This was also the first time I made raita, which was a revelation. I had no idea it was THAT easy. Easier than tzatziki, even. And so very yummy!

Chicken naan wraps with raita, serves 4

Adapted from The Kitchn’s recipe.

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 shallot, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

500 g boneless chicken thighs, diced

4 naan breads

2 little gems, washed andthinly sliced

Raita:

120 ml Greek yoghurt

approx 10 cm cucumber, diced small

1 tbsp mint (or coriander), coarsely chopped

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 150C. Heat up the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Add the shallots, a little salt and a sprinkling of cumin. Fry until lightly browned and remove from pan. Add a bit more oil to the pan and add the chicken. Add more salt, some black pepper and the cumin. Stir occasionally and cook until the meat is cooked through, approximately 8 minutes.

Meanwhile make the raita and heat the naan breads. Stack the naans and wrap in tin foil and place on a rack in the oven for a few minutes.

Mix yoghurt with the spices, cucumber and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Once the chicken is cooked, add the shallots back into the pan and stir to combine. Layer lettuce, raita and chicken on the warm naans. Serve warm.

Recipe: Lockdown Chicken and Courgette Pasta

Cooking every single day is in a way easier than cooking a few days a week like I usually do. Cooking every day gives you a different continuity and it makes it a lot easier using up leftovers. In my regular life I sometimes have to throw away leftovers I had planned to use up because plans changed and they got too old. I really don’t like that. But London life is (usually) fast pace with drinks here and dinners there and impromptu plans. Which I love. It’s less conducive to meal planning though. But I do utilise my freezer as much as I can even in normal life.

But using up leftovers has become a sport of mine in lockdown. I don’t want to throw a single little thing away. I keep parmesan rinds in the fridge until I can throw them into a béchamel sauce, and add the leftover grated carrot from a carrot cake baking session to a salad. If some vegetables need using up they get used in a soup, quesadillas, salad or frittata.

And this chicken and courgette pasta is one example of using up every single little bit of chicken meat. One night we had a roast chicken with potatoes, gravy and vegetables. Two days later I reheated some of the leftover chicken pieces for lunch and made a potato salad with some already cooked new potatoes. After that there weren’t that much meat left, even though I picked every last little bit off the carcass before it went into the stock pot. So the obvious answer to how to use up the rest was of course pasta. Mixing proteins with carbs and some veg and lots of grated Parmesan is one of the best magic tricks of the kitchen craft.

This one, with lemon, soft courgette, plenty of olive oil and said parmesan felt very appropriate of spring but I could myself eating it on a sunny patio with a glass of ice cold pale rosé too.

Lockdown chicken and courgette pasta, serves 3

300 g tagliatelle

1 medium courgette, cut in half lengthways and sliced

approx 100 g leftover roast chicken

50 g parmesan, finely grated

lemon zest from 1/2 large lemon

50 ml olive oil

25-50 ml pasta cooking water

salt and pepper

Add a little olive oil to a roasting tray and add the courgettes. Toss in the oil, add salt and pepper and cook in 200C for 10- 15 minutes, until soft and a little browned.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions in saucepan.

Add the chicken pieces to the courgette to heat up and add more olive oil. Add the lemon zest and some of the parmesan and mix. Add the cooked pasta. Reserve a mug of pasta water and pour some into the roasting tray with the pasta. Add more parmesan and put the roasting tray on medium-low heat. Stir the pasta with tongs until it has the sauce consistency you like (a little gloopy). Add more pasta water if needed. Adjust the seasoning and divide between bowls. Add more grated parmesan to finish.

Updated: The Best Chicken Satay

I already have a chicken satay recipe up on the blog, but the last time I made it I thought it was a little bit lacking, so with inspiration from Rosie’s version I sort of amalgamated the two into what I think is the perfect chicken satay.

The marinade, the cooking method and of course THE SAUCE all really matter here, and this is how I think it’s best enjoyed. I added the chillies after cooking so everyone can adjust the hotness they want, but don’t worry, the meat is still full of flavour! I highly recommend the tangy cucumber and radish salad and the sesame broccoli too – they both add another dimension (and some lightness) to the dish.

The Best Chicken Satay, serves 4

600 g chicken thigh filletsdiced into smaller pieces (2 cm x 2 cm or so)

8 garlic cloves, chopped

6 tsp ground coriander

4 tsp honey

1 tbsp black pepper (no, it is not a typo)

2 tsp salt

240 ml soy sauce

180 ml olive oil

wooden skewers soaked in water for an hour

To serve:

bunch fresh coriander, chopped

1 lime, cut into wedges

1-2 red chillies, chopped

Dice the chicken. Mix the ingredients for the marinade and pour into a bowl or a shallow dish. Add the chicken and make sure every piece is coated with the marinade. Leave it for at least 3-4 hours but preferably overnight in the fridge, covered by cling. Thread the chicken onto the skewers and place on an oven rack with a tin foil covered baking tray underneath (to catch the juices). Place the tray under the grill turned on medium-high. Grill the chicken for 10 minutes until nice and browned. Take it out, turn the skewers over and cook for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the rice (I prefer basmati), make the sauce and prepare the vegetables.

Satay sauce, serves 4

400 g coconut milk

8 tbsp smooth or chunky peanut butter

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 lime, the juice

salt and pepper

Bring the coconut milk to the boil. Add the peanut butter and let it cook for a few minutes. Add sweet chilli and lime juice until it is perfectly balanced. Season with salt and pepper.

Sesame broccoli, serves 4

2 packets tenderstem broccoli (approx 300 g)   

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

4 tsp sesame seeds 

1/2-1 lemon or lime, the juice 

salt and pepper 

Trim the dry ends of the broccoli. Place in a large frying pan and almost cover with boiling water. Add salt and cook for about a minute on high heat. Drain and return to the hot pan. Add sesame oil and squeeze with lemon. Toss and add sesame seeds and season.

Cucumber and radish salad, serves 4

1 cucumber

1 small bag/bunch of radishes

1/2 lime, the juice

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp mild olive oil

salt and pepper

Slice both vegetables thinly and place in a bowl. Add lime juice and oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wrap with Rice, Avocado and Blue Cheese Dressing

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Apparently there’s an American chain that make Buffalo Chicken Wraps?! I found this out on Instagram and immediately felt I needed to make this. Sans celery though (shudder).

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So below is my version of a buffalo chicken wrap, with chicken wings (although chicken thighs or any dark meat will work but I had wings in the freezer- just adjust the cooking time), hot sauce, rice, homemade blue cheese dressing, avocado and cherry tomatoes.

It was just as lovely as I had hoped it would be, but much easier to eat than regular buffalo chicken wings! Score!

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Buffalo Chicken Wrap with Rice, Avocado and Blue Cheese Dressing, makes 2

2 large flour tortillas

100-150 ml cooked basmati rice 

6-8 chicken wings

1 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Frank’s hot sauce

200 ml soured cream 

ca 50 g Saint Agur cheese

1 avocado, sliced

8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Start with the chicken wings. Put them in a colander and pour boiling water over them. Pat dry with kitchen roll. Pour oil into an ovenproof dish and place the chicken wings in it. Add salt and pepper and place in a 200C oven. Turn them as they have turned brown, after approx 10-15 minutes and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool slightly and pick the meat and skin off the bones. Place in a bowl, add hot sauce after taste (it IS hot!) and stir.  

Mix soured cream and Saint Agur with a stick blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Divide rice and chicken between the tortillas, top with sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes and blue cheese dressing. Add extra hot sauce, roll up and eat! 

Recipe: barbecue chicken

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At times I get the most peculiar cravings. I guess it ties in with my way of eating; regardless of what it is I eat for pleasure, not just fuel. And most of the time my cravings are a combination of things my body needs and my favourite foods. Typical cravings are usually something with avocado, anything with burrata and sometimes proper comfort food. Often cheese of some kind, and sometimes fish.

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One beautiful summer’s day in Norfolk my body screamed for barbecued chicken. The sticky, charred kind. Maybe I needed protein but whenever I crave something fairly healthy I always try to give my body what it wants.

As we were in Norfolk and had access to a barbecue it was also much easier to make this happen, than if we’d been in London, so I went all in. I threw together a homemade barbecue sauce and marinated the whole spatchcocked chicken in it for a few hours and then got my darling boyfriend to light the barbecue. The coal one, thank you very much, not the gas barbecue!

And apart from the sugars in the marinade burning too quickly it was a great success. We both thoroughly enjoyed the charred and tender chicken, both that night and the leftovers two days later.

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But, this almost too charred chicken was not photogenic, and I was also slightly worried about the carcinogenic properties of all that burnt sugar. And decided to perfect the recipe (and reduce the charring) the next time.

And that next time arose a few weeks later in Sweden when my boyfriend was over and we were having dinner with my parents. My foodie family was just as excited about the chicken as I was and my boyfriend loved it last time, so it worked out really well! The trick is to add the barbecue sauce towards the end so it doesn’t burn too much; just that right amount that makes it taste to good!

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Barbecue chicken, serves 4 + leftovers

2 smaller (just over a kilo each) whole fresh chickens

salt and pepper

1 tbsp neutral oil 

Barbecue sauce:

150 ml ketchup

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 

1 tbsp brown sugar (or any sugar if you prefer but brown works best) 

1 tsp smoked paprika powder 

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp soy sauce 

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp neutral oil 

salt, pepper

Rinse and trim the chickens. (I usually cut away any loose skin and fat, the ends of the wings that is just bone etc.) Then spatchcock the chickens (instructions here) so they cook quicker and more evenly. Season with plenty of salt and pepper all around and brush with oil. 

Build up the coal barbecue so that you have the coal and briquettes all on one side of the barbecue, where you have a higher temperature, as opposed to the empty side which still emanates heat but isn’t as hot. 

Start off by browning the chickens all around on the direct heat (on top of the coals), for approx 5-10 minutes. Then move them to the indirect heat (empty side) and place them bony side down. Put the lid on and grill for another 15-20 minutes, turning as you go. Brush on a thick layer of barbecue sauce all around the chicken and char the meaty side first (as this is most important to get right) until just enough charring, then turn over and char the other side. The chickens should be ready after another 10 minutes on the grill, but cut through the meat (both the thickest part of the breast and in a joint) to make sure the juices are all clear. Remove from the grill and cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into smaller pieces (our almost fell apart so this was easy) and tuck in!

 

 

Recipe: creamy chicken thighs with white wine, tomato and herb d’Provence

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I came up with this easy chicken dish last week when I was making baked aubergine with tomato and mozzarella for supper; something I could have eaten on it’s own with just a side salad, but as my boyfriend prefers aubergine in moderation I also roasted some potatoes, courgette and peppers in the oven and made this chicken dish. My thought were to echo the cheese and tomato elements in the baked aubergine but using cream instead of cheese. It worked really well and I will definitely serve these together in the future too!

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Creamy chicken thighs with white wine, tomato and herb d’Provence, serves 2 

4 chicken thighs (with skin on), washed and trimmed (I like to trim off excess skin and fat) 

butter and oil for frying

50-100 ml dry white wine

400 ml double cream

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp soy sauce

1/4 stock cube chicken

1 tsp herb d’Provence  

salt and pepper

Fry the chicken thighs skin side down on medium-high heat in butter and oil until golden (approx 5 minutes), then fry the other side for the same amount of time. Add salt and pepper. Add the wine and lower the heat to medium-low. Add cream, tomato paste, soy sauce and the stock cube. Let the sauce thicken while stirring with a wooden spoon. Turn the chicken a few times so it cooks evenly. When the chicken is cooked through (test it with a knife), after aprox 5-10 minutes, add the herbs and season to taste. If the sauce gets too thick, add more cream or a splash of wine and adjust the seasoning.