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This is a meal that we experimented with a few weeks ago and is more than worthy of a spot on the blog. It shouldn’t have taken me this long to report back, so I do apologise for the recent tardiness in my posts, it’s been a busy and challenging month so far to say the least! However, it has meant that that I’ve now got a few gems stored away to talk about over the coming month.

Dan came up with this tasty Egyptian themed menu that was a real treat to tuck into during the week. I’m now starting to realise how versatile chicken can be, thus I’m always on the look out for bargains to throw in the freezer on my daily travels. In fact, I picked up a whole medium sized bird for just £2.49 today. They are out there, you just need a little luck, and a little time of course. I am certainly fortunate with the latter at present.

The meat recipe ‘Broiled chicken with oil, lemon and garlic sauce’ was inspired by Paula Wolfert and can be found in her book ‘Mediterranean Cooking’. We teamed this with a lentil purée that was plucked from another well used publication in our bookcase – ‘Tamarind & Saffron’ by Claudia Roden. We found the two dishes to compliment each other very well. Oh, a quick note before I start with the ingredients – broiling is simply a slow form of grilling, although you will need to allow at least seven inches of space between the chicken and the flame.

To make the grilled chicken (serves two) you will need:
– 1kg of chicken thighs (skin on/bone in)
– Three tablespoons of EV olive oil
– Four large garlic cloves (peeled/crushed)
– Quarter of a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
– One tablespoon of fresh parsley (finely chopped)
– Salt and black pepper

Method:
– Firstly season the thighs and prepare the marinade by mixing the lemon, oil, garlic and parsley together in a bowl.
– Coat the meat and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.
– Preheat the grill to a medium heat and drain the meat, keeping the excess marinade to one side.
– Place the chicken on the grilling rack on the base of the grill (this should allow enough distance from the heat) making sure they are skin side down.
– Grill for ten minutes, basting with both the cooking juices and the marinade frequently. Turn the thighs over and grill for a further ten minutes.
– Turn and brush twice more until both sides are golden with a nice crust.

To make the lentil purée (serves two generously) you will need:
– 250g of red lentils
– One onion (sliced)
– Two tablespoons of EV olive oil
– Three garlic cloves (peeled/crushed)
– 3/4 of a teaspoon of ground coriander
– 3/4 of a teaspoon of ground cumin
– A pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
– Salt and black pepper

Method:
– Begin by heating the oil to a medium heat in a lidded stove pot. Fry the onion until soft and golden.
– Stir in the garlic and when aromatic, add the lentils.
– Cover with water and stir thoroughly, adding in the coriander and cumin.
– Put the lid on the pan and proceed to cook at a very low heat. Season to taste and add the chilli flakes (if using).
– Add more water as required. The dish is ready to serve when the lentils have disintegrated, leaving a creamy consistency.

We put the above alongside some couscous with cherry tomatoes and spring onions tossed through it (green olives would also work well), which provided a welcoming freshness to the plate in contrast to the earthy lentils. All this, plus some succulent yet crispy flavourful chicken, and you’re in for a super midweek meal. Plus, with chicken thighs being such good value for money at the moment, it’s also ideal if you’re on a budget. Do give it a try folks.

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