Tag Archives: Chicken

Chicken fricassee with cider and mushrooms

9 Oct

DSCI0120If you look through the chicken dishes in this blog you will find a number of recipes that include tarragon. That is because chicken and tarragon are a match made in heaven.  This dish is no exception and tastes absolutely delicious. I have used cider to make a sauce for pork before but I think this is the first time I have used it to make one for chicken.  It really does give the dish a fantastic lift. Here are a few facts and trivia on tarragon.

  • The word “tarragon” comes from the French word “estragon” meaning “little dragon,” hence the nickname “dragon’s-wort.”
  • It is the leaves of the herb Artemisia dracunculus. The slender dark-green leaves have a pleasant anise-like flavor and aroma.
  • Tarragon blends well with other spices. It is used in sauces, especially Bearnaise sauce and tarragon vinegar. In French cuisine it is an integral part of fines herbes and dijon mustard.
  • Tarragon was used by the Greeks as early as 500 BC. Like the French, the Arabs named it “turkhum” which means dragon probably because they found the taste to be exceptionally strong or because of its serpentine shaped roots.
  • Tarragon came to France from the plains of Siberia in the 15th century by the Arabs who had been using it since the 13th century
  • Tarragon leaves are rich in iodine, mineral salts and vitamins A and C. In the past tarragon was used to prevent scurvy. It is also used as an appetite stimulant and digestive tonic by naturalists.

Here is the recipe. I found it in a Good Food Magazine, the link to it on their website is below. I didn’t make the parsley croutons as I preferred to serve mine with mashed potato to soak up the wonderful sauce.


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Chicken and vegetables with Soy Noodles

30 Sep

DSCI0104   I know I have said this before but I love Chinese food. It is quick, easy, healthy and, usually, cooked in one pan so saves on the washing up.  This recipe was a little unusual as it contained some spices I would normally associate with Indian food rather than chinese. Does that make it a fusion dish? I wouldn’t like to say as this terminology still confuses me. Regardless of whether it is fusion or not it tastes absolutely wonderful.

I found the original recipe on the Kikkoman web site but have changed it quite a bit to use ingredients I had to hand. It still tasted absolutely wonderful and is one dish I will be making again and again.

Here is the recipe.

Chicken and vegetables with soy noodles       Serves 2 -3

  • 150g thin or medium egg noodles
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 pack of tender stem broccoli and asparagus tips
  • 1 orange pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 tbsp raw peanuts, toasted
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp kikkoman Less Salt Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  1. Cook the noodles as per pack instructions, drain and keep warm.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wok, add the pepper, broccoli, asparagus and spring onions. Stir fry over a brisk heat for 5 minutes. Add the peanuts, stir fry for 1 minute then remove from wok and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the wok , heat and stir fry the chicken for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander and chilli powder and stir fry for another minute.
  4. return the vegetables to the wok and toss with the chicken. Add the noodles, soy sauce and rice wine. Toss everything together until piping hot then serve in warmed bowls.

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Chicken cacciatore

2 Sep

imageI love rustic food and this is one of my favourites.  I like to serve it with either mashed potatoes or pasta but my favourite is krithiraki (Greek version of Orzo).  I made this the other night for my Brother and Sister-in-law. It is so easy to make and you can prepare well in advance and warm up when you are ready so ideal for entertaining.

Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine.  The dish is originally from Central Italy, but like so much Italian cuisine, every region has put its own twist on the recipe.  This one, with tomatoes, is probably the most widely travelled.

Chicken Cacciatore                                              Serves 6

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 small onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic (4 if small) crushed
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 250g pancetta, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 200g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 12 chicken thighs, skinned but bone in
  • 130 ml dry white wine
  • 3 tins chopped tomatoes
  • Good pinch sugar
  • 1 oregano sprig
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Heat half the oil in a large pan or casserole. Add the onion, garlic and celery and fry over a moderate heat for 10 minutes until golden and softened. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
  2. Add the pancetta and mushrooms. Increase the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until starting to brown. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the oil and fry the chicken in batches over a high heat to brown all over. Season as you go with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Spoon off any excess fat then add the wine and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated.
  5. Add the tomatoes, sugar and herbs with 125 ml of cold water. Bring to the boil the stir in the reserved pancetta mix.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender but remains on the bone.
  6. If you like a thicker sauce, remove the chicken pieces and keep warm then boil the sauce until thickened. Season to taste. return the chicken to the sauce and heat thoroughly then serve with pasta or mashed potato.


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Chicken and Roquefort salad

25 Aug

imageI am always looking for interesting salad recipes to eat during the summer. This recipe is an absolute delight. I found it in a Sainsburys Magazine but, even with an extensive search, could not find a link on their website so I have written it out in full below.

I would never have dreamt of putting chicken, blue cheese, pecans and peaches together in one salad, although I have made salads with a combination of some of these flavours. This is also the first time I used honey in a salad dressing and I was very nervous that the overall effect would be too sweet. I need not have worried. The saltiness of the cheese was a perfect complement to the peaches and dressing and the pecans and chicken made for a great variation in textures. My husband loved it so I am sure we will be having this again. Be sure that the peaches are ripe as the hard ones have little flavour and will not be sweet enough for the overall effect.  If you measure the honey after the oil it will slide off the spoon easily.

Chicken and Roquefort Salad                        Serves 2

  • 2 ripe peaches, stone removed and cut into 8 wedges each
  • 2 small chicken breasts, cooked (I braised mine in chicken stock for 15 minutes before slicing and cooling)
  • 100g Roquefort cheese
  • 1 romaine lettuce heart, leaves washed and shredded
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp clear honey
  • handful of pecans, halved
  1. Divide the lettuce between two plates and scatter with the peaches. Crumble over the cheese and scatter with the chicken (cold) and pecans.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the thyme, vinegar, oil and honey. Season with salt and black pepper the drizzle liberally over the salad.
  3. Serve immediately.


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Mini chicken pies, ideal for a packed lunch, buffet or, in the summer, a picnic

9 Jul

Here we are again with leftover roast chicken.  I thought, this time, I would make a chicken pie.  I wasn’t sure what to put in the filling but I know leeks go well with chicken, as does tarragon, so I decided to include those in the ingredients.  The other consideration was the calorie content.  As you may remember, I am trying to watch what I eat in a hopeless attempt to lose weight, or at least not to put any more on!  If I make a large pie I know we will keep eating it until it is all gone.  So I decided to make small individual pies.  I was so pleased with the end result.  I’m sure these would freeze well, uncooked, but I made the mistake of putting them all in one muffin pan so I’m going to try freezing them cooked and see how they turn out.  That is if I can stop my husband, Terry, from eating them!

These are perfect for a picnic.  There is something so very English about picnics.  Mrs Beeton certainly thought so, although I think you would need a lorry to carry her idea of a picnic ie it should contain no less than 35 different dishes.  I’m not sure how many guests she had invited. 

Picnics have been quoted in literature for centuries but, perhaps the most famous quote is from the Wind in the Willows:

“The Rat brought the boat alongside the bank, tied it up, helped awkward Mole safely ashore and swung out the picnic basket. The Mole begged to be allowed to unpack it all by himself. He took out all the mysterious packages one by one and arranged their contents, gasping ‘Oh my! Oh my!’ At each fresh surprise”.

Anyway, here is my recipe.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Mini Chicken Pies   Makes about 12

  • 1lb shortcrust pastry (homemade is great or bought is fine)
  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, washed well and chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 500 ml/1 pt semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 250g/1/2lb cooked chicken, cut into small pieces (about 1/2 inch)
  • 50g/2oz frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 beaten egg
  1. Preheat an oven to 190c/180c fan/gas 5.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leeks and saute gently for about 10 minutes until soft but not discoloured.
  3. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute over a low heat.
  4. Gradually add the milk, stirring between each addition to prevent curdling.  Cook over a medium heat, stirring, until the sauce is thickened.  Add the tarragon, and season with salt and black pepper.  Mix well.
  5. Add the chicken and peas, stir so they are evenly distributed.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Roll out the pastry and cut out circles large enough to fill a muffin tin with a little overhang.  Fill the pastry case to just below the top.  Brush edges with beaten egg.  Place lid on top and tuck in around the edge.  Bring over the overhanging pastry to ensure the contents are secure.
  7. Brush tops with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and leave in tin for a few minutes.  Remove to a wire tray.  Serve immediately for hot or leave to cool.  Good either way.

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Chicken Oregano on the BBQ – just need the sunshine and you could be anywhere in the Med!

12 Apr

The first time we had this chicken dish was in Rhodes in the Spring.  I had just retired and we had rented a Villa for a month.  We cooked it on an old tin BBQ in the garden and I don’t think food ever tasted better.  Since then we have cooked it over and over again.  It is such a simple recipe and it never fails, unless of course you burn the chicken before it is cooked in the centre. Jamie Oliver has a top tip for BBQing chicken that prevents this. Butterfly the joint (pare the meat away from the bone so it is exposed).  The bone is then able to conduct the heat so that the chicken is cooked through without running the risk of having a burnt outside while the middle is still raw.  Works every time for us!

Before I share the recipes I am reminded of a great evening we spent with friends in Aegina.  I am sure I have mentioned Aegina before, and no doubt will do again.  It is, without doubt, one of our favourite Greek Islands.  Marc and Jane have a lovely house just outside of Aegina town and they had invited us to stay with them for a few days.  On this particular evening we were going to have a BBQ. Marc had made his own BBQ out of half an oil drum, a sight many that have been to Greece will be familiar with. He confessed that he was not very good at lighting the BBQ and that he always started early as it usually took umpteen attempts.  I can still see Terry’s face when he watched him prepare the charcoal, and Marc’s face when Terry took over the proceedings and lit the BBQ first time.  Marc was amazed and promised undying gratitude for the lesson.

The chicken has been marinating in the fridge for 3 hours and is now ready to be cooked.  All we need now is for our neighbours to arrive and let the party begin! Here are the recipes.

Chicken Oregano                                                 Serves 4

  • 8 chicken portions (Drumsticks and thighs) skin on, butterflied (see above)
  • 120 ml/4 fl oz olive oil
  • 120 ml/4 fl oz dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  1.  Arrange the chicken portions in a large shallow dish. 
  2. Mix all the other ingredients together well then pour over the chicken.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Half an hour before you are ready to eat, remove the chicken from the marinade and cook on an oiled BBQ rack or under a preheated grill for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is golden and cooked through and the skin is crisp.  Serve the chicken immediately.

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Chicken in wine – quick, incredibly easy and sooooo tasty!

17 Dec

I love this dish.  You just throw everything into a shallow dish and pop it in the oven.  How easy is that!  The flavours are incredible and it went immediately into my Husband’s Top Twenty!  We had it for a quick evening meal one day and I served it to friends for a Sunday lunch after being out all morning.  Perfect!

You hear so much about illness linked to raw chicken etc.  I thought I would see what I could find out and hopefully provide some useful tips.

  • Packages of chicken should feel cold to the touch, and should be among the last items you select before checking out.
  • Packages of chicken should be wrapped in plastic bags to prevent leakage onto other items in your grocery cart.
  • Once you’re home, you should immediately place your chicken in a refrigerator that maintains a temperature of 4C or 40F or colder, and use it within 2 days. Otherwise, it should be frozen at -18C/0°F.
  • The correct way to thaw frozen poultry requires planning ahead for the time required to thaw it in the refrigerator. Whole chickens may take up to 2 days to fully thaw in this way, while boneless breasts should thaw overnight.
  • Once the product thaws, it should be kept in the refrigerator no more than a day before cooking it.
  • The only way to kill food-borne pathogens is by thoroughly cooking the food.  Always cook chicken well and never serve it ‘pink’.

Here is the recipe.  I served it with New Potatoes and asparagus.

Chicken in wine                           Serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 4 chicken breasts, boned and skinned
  • 150g bacon lardons
  • 12 shallots, peeled
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional, leave out if you don’t like the heat, although it is relatively mild)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  1. Preheat oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 9.
  2. Arrange chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish.  Scatter with the bacon lardons, shallots, thyme, rosemary and chilli flakes.  Season and drizzle with olive oil then bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and pour wine into dish.  Return to oven and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown.

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Chicken with peppers and olives

24 Sep

DSCI0299I am in the process of trying to use up food in the freezer so I can defrost it for the summer.  I also had some baby peppers left in a huge bag I bought recently so I decided to try to make a dish that combines the two.  The result was really tasty and healthy too, not bad for using up leftovers etc.  Here is a bit of chicken trivia.

  • According to the National Chicken Council, more than 1.25 Billion Chicken wing portions (more than 100 million pounds) were consumed on Super Bowl weekend in 2012.
  • In Great Britain over three-quarters of all waste from chicken production is used to generate electricity.
  • Our modern domesticated chickens are all descendants of the red jungle fowl of India and Southeast Asia. They have been domesticated for at least 4,000 years.
  • 4,000 years ago the Egyptians built brick incubators which could hold 10,000 chicks at a time.
  • In 1980 about 10% of a chicken’s weight was breast meat. In 2007 chickens were about 21% breast meat.
  • In 2007, 95 percent of commercial restaurants had chicken on the menu.
  • The average domestic laying hen lays 255 eggs per year.
  • It takes about 4 1/2 pounds of feed for a chicken to produce a dozen eggs.
  • In 1950 approximately 80% of chickens were ‘free range’, by 1980 only 1% were ‘free range.’ Today it is back up to 12%.
  • Broiler-fryers, roasters, stewing/baking hens, capons and Rock Cornish hens are all chickens.
  • Chicken skin colour varies from cream-colored to yellow. Skin color is a result of the type of feed eaten by the chicken, not a measure of nutritional value, flavor, tenderness or fat content. Colour preferences vary in different sections of the country, so growers use the type of feed which produces the desired colour. (Food reference.com)

Here is the recipe                                 Serves 2 but easily doubled and sauce is ok for 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
  • 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • 10 olives
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  1. Dry the chicken breasts and season on both sides with salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat a large frying pan or wok and add the oil.
  3. Fry the chicken in the oil until brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.
  4. in the same pan add the peppers and onion and stir fry for 4 minutes until starting to soften but not changing colour.
  5. Add the wine to the pan and cook for 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol, then add the tomatoes with a pinch of sugar and finally the chicken stock.  Mix and season well.
  6. Return the chicken and olives to the pan and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Serve with vegetables and potatoes or pasta or rice.


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Chicken Tagine – lovely.

5 Apr

DSCI0322I have only recently discovered the exotic flavours of tagines and I have absolutely fallen in love with them.  Previously I have made Lamb Tagines which are possibly more traditional but when I saw this recipe I decided to give it a go.  It tastes absolutely lovely, fragrant from the spices and preserved lemon but with a hint of sweetness from the dried fruit and the nutty flavour of the almonds. Wonderful!  The only change I made to the recipe was to limit the amount of orange peel to two small strips. I have had a few dishes that have included fresh orange and I have that it can overpower the dish completely and gives it a flavour I am not too keen on.  Of course if you love orange in food feel free to add more of the peel to your liking.

The recipe includes saffron, the most expensive spice in the world.  It is native to the Mediterranean area and most imported saffron comes from Spain. I always buy some when I am there as it is so much cheaper than in the UK.

The ancient Assyrians used saffron for medicinal purposes. The Greeks and Romans used it to perfume their luxurious baths. The bright orange-yellow color also made saffron useful as a dye.

Each saffron crocus flower has 3 stigmas, it takes about 80,000 flowers (240,000) stigmas to make a pound of saffron. It takes an experienced picker about 12 days to pick this many. By the time saffron gets to retail stores, its cost is £450 to £1500 per pound.

In 1444 any merchant caught selling adulterated saffron in Bavaria was burned alive.

Here is the recipe. Serve it with couscous or rice, or maybe even orzo.  It can be frozen but defrost well before reheating.

Chicken Tagine                                              Serves 4

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • good pinch of saffron
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 6 skin on chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 12 dates, pitted and halved if large
  • 2 small strips of orange peel
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 preserved lemon, rinsed well, flesh discarded and skin thinly sliced.
  1. Heat the coriander seeds in a dry pan until fragrant. Remove and grind.  Put the ground coriander, saffron, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl and mix well.  Rub the spice mix all over the chicken, put on a plate, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Heat the oil in a tagine or casserole over a medium heat. Add the onions, fresh ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick and 2 tbsp of the almonds with a good pinch of salt.  Fry until the onions are soft but not browned. Transfer to a plate.
  3. In the same pan, without washing it, add the marinated chicken, turn the heat up to high and sear the skin, turning as it browns. When golden brown all over return the onion mix and pour over enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the dates, orange peel maple syrup and half the coriander. Simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes until the sauce is thick and syrupy.
  5. Serve the tagine on couscous or rice, sprinkled with the preserved lemon slices, coriander and remaining almonds.

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Chicken fajitas – quick, easy and delicious

24 Feb

This is a repost as it has been so long since I first published it. It has to be one of the quickest and easiest dishes I have ever made and it tastes fantastic.  Friends of ours dropped in just before Christmas and I rustled it up for lunch in about 15 minutes.  Barry raved about it all the time he was eating it. 

I made these again when friends of ours came round for lunch here in Spain.   I thought Spanish food was appropriate so we lunched on chicken fajita, tomato and chorizo salad and homemade guacamole.  I threw in a few extras like grated cheese and chopped lettuce so they could choose their own fillings for the wraps.   The screenshow is not great.  I blame it on the Sangria I was drinking while I was cooking them.  Once again, though, they were a complete hit.  I believe even the least confident of cooks will definitely be able to make these and they will be a complete success.

As my blog followers know, I always try to include some interesting facts around the recipe I have posted.  in this case it is difficult to do that as I have already written about fajita in my Beef Fajita post.  The link is included if you have not read it.  I may as well go straight to the recipe then and free up some time for a little bit more of that Sangria.  Salute!

Chicken fajita                            Serves 4

  • 4-8 flour tortillas
  • 3 small or 2 large chicken breasts, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 red peppers, sliced thinly
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 red chilli, sliced thinly (leave seeds in)
  • olive oil
  • juice 1 lime
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan then fry the peppers and onion over a high heat for about 5 minutes, stir time to prevent them from burning.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Add the chicken to the pan and stir-fry for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the chilli during the last couple of minutes.
  3. Return the onion and pepper mix to the pan and mix well.  Let it heat through for a couple of minutes then add the lime juice.  Mix well.
  4. Serve with the warmed tortillas (as per packet instructions) and a selection of accompaniments eg crunchy lettuce, chopped, guacamole, sour cream, cheese. 

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