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My apologies for the recent lack of foodie posts folks. Dare I say it, but amazingly I haven’t had anything new or interesting to report for a couple of weeks. By the way, this by no means indicates that the greedy house has lost it’s flair…just deep in research and on a hunt for our next flavour fix…

I would like to talk a little, however, about a great dinner that Dan cooked up last Sunday. We are trying to start a bit of a ‘healthier’ kick on the run up to summer, and the first step to achieving this is to try and axe the rather calorific (yet highly enjoyable – sob) roasts that we knock up most weekends. Well, not get rid of them completely, just replace the fattier parts with all things good and wholesome! This recipe really does support that sentiment, and it tastes splendid indeed (whilst also filling you up nicely – without the need for a generous portion of roasties!)

‘Lulu’s Chicken’ was taken from Rick Stein’s ‘Coast to Coast’, a dish which previously came from a book that he holds in high esteem written by Richard Olney called ‘Lulu’s Provençal Table’.

To make this meal (serves four) you will need:
– A whole chicken (approx one and a half kilos in weight)
– 450g of vine ripened tomatoes
– Three tablespoons of olive oil
– Two garlic cloves (bruised/chopped)
– A tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
– One lemon (juice only)
– 50ml of dry white wine
– 350g of penne pasta
– A generous handful of basil (finely shredded)
– Salt and black pepper

Method:
– Firstly preheat the oven to gas mark 8/230C.
– Prepare the tomatoes by skinning, seeding and chopping them and tossing them in a colander with half a teaspoon of salt. Set aside for an hour.
– Rub the grated ginger inside the chicken cavity along with some seasoning. Transfer to a roasting tin after rubbing the skin with a little oil and
more seasoning.
– Roast the bird for twenty minutes and then turn the heat down to gas mark 4/180C. Baste the chicken with a little lemon juice to cover after pouring the excess fat from the roasting tin.
– Return to the oven for another 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the remainder of the lemon juice plus the white wine, until the juices from the thigh run clear. Test by piercing with a skewer.
– Around fifteen minutes before the chicken is ready, boil up the pasta in salted water (approx one teaspoon per pint used) and cook until al dente (roughly twelve minutes).
– Place the garlic and the rest of the olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Once the garlic begins sizzling, add the tomatoes and toss until reduced (the juices have evaporated). Add the basil, and toss once more before removing from the heat.
– Transfer the chicken onto a large board and tip away any excess fat from the tin if needed. Drain any juices from the cavity back into the tin.
– Drain the pasta well and add to the tin with the tomatoes and some black pepper. Mix everything together thoroughly so as to release any juices stuck to the bottom of the tin.
– Carve the chicken and serve alongside the pasta, and a light green salad.

The meat juices, combined with the tomatoes, make this some of the tastiest penne (or pasta, full stop) that I have ever eaten. The basil really brings it to life too. I just love fresh herbs as part of a supper! A real ‘feel good’ feast and a perfect accompaniment to a juicy, well roasted chicken. Hello spring…

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