Weekly menu 30

Chicken, chicken and more chicken… I can never get enough of it!! Seriously apologies for the chicken overload this week guys. The roast chicken on Sunday has a lovely Spanish twist with the smoked paprika, and the sausage dish on Wednesday is both comforting and super easy to make!

Hope you find something you like this week. Remember to tell me of your recipe ideas or additions and how things go once you try them!

Saturday: Mexican pork and black bean tacos
Sunday: Smokey roast chicken w/ veg
Monday: Sichuan style chicken w/ dried red chillies and peanuts
Tuesday: Veggie enchiladas
Wednesday: Sausages Boulangeres
Thursday: The perfect omelette
Friday: Rustic chicken stew

Mexican pork and black bean tacos

2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tsp each smoked paprika and ground cumin
500g pack lean pork mince
300ml passata
5 tbsp barbecue sauce
400g can black beans, drained
small bunch coriander, chopped
8 taco shells
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
1/2 iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
soured cream, to serve (optional)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook for 5 mins until softened. Sprinkle over the spices and cook for 1 min more. Add the mince, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon, and stir until cooked through.

Stir the passata and barbecue sauce into the pan along with 4 tbsp water. Increase the heat and allow the sauce to bubble and reduce until it clings to the meat. Add the beans, season and cook for a further 2 mins, then stir in the coriander.

Heat the tacos following pack instructions. Use the pork and bean mix to fill the tacos, top with slices of avocado, shredded iceberg lettuce and a dollop of soured cream, if using.

Smokey roast chicken w/ veg

50g butter
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole chicken, weighing 2.25kg
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the roasted vegetables:
2 red peppers, cut into 5cm pieces
2 red onions, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons pitted black olives
500g baby new potatoes
125g cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7. Cut the butter into small pieces and put in a bowl. Add the paprika, lemon zest, oregano and garlic and squish all the ingredients together until the butter is soft and everything is well incorporated. Season the butter with salt and pepper. Rub the butter all over the skin of the chicken and under the skin.

Remove the string or elastic from the chicken and put it in a deep roasting tin. Drizzle the chicken with the olive oil and put in the oven for 10 minutes before turning the oven down to 190C/Gas 5. Remember to baste the chicken with the butter, some of which will have melted into the baking tray, every 20–30 minutes.

To make the roasted vegetables place all the vegetables in a large bowl and coat well in the paprika, oregano, salt and pepper and the olive oil.

Once the chicken has cooked for 40 minutes, take it out of the oven and scatter the veggies around the outside. This will be a good time to baste the bird again and coat all the vegetables in the juices. Put the tray back into the oven and cook for the remaining 45 minutes. If the vegetables are over-colouring, put a sheet of kitchen foil over the baking tray for the final 20 minutes of cooking.

When the time is up, check that everything is cooked perfectly, remove the chicken from the roasting tin and leave it to rest for at least 10 minutes. Keep the vegetables warm in a low oven. Carve and serve with the vegetables and all the cooking juices as gravy.

Sichuan style chicken w/ dried red chillies and peanuts

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 900g), cut into pieces
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
15 whole dried bird’s-eye
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn, ground
bunch spring onions, cut into 2½ cm pieces
50g whole roasted peanuts

For the sauce
5 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine
4 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
4 tbsp chicken stock
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour, mixed into 1 tbsp water

Marinate the chicken with the soy and leave to sit for 1 hr. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a wok with a small amount of the oil until very hot, sear the chicken in batches. When it’s all browned, remove from the pan and set aside. Snip the stems from the chillies and shake out the seeds. If you want, keep the seeds in some of the chillies for more of an authentic Sichuan kick. Add the remaining oil and cook the chillies for 1 min, shaking the pan constantly to prevent them burning. Then the chicken back in with the peppercorns, spring onions and peanuts, then stir-fry for 1 min more. Add the sauce and stir for a few mins more until thickened.

Serve with plain boiled rice or egg fried rice.

Veggie enchiladas

For the salsa:
1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
1 medium green chilli (the fat variety that isn’t too fiery)
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves, plus a little extra to garnish
juice 1 lime
salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the enchiladas:
4 large flour tortillas
110g Wensleydale, grated
150g Mozzarella, grated
200 ml half-fat crème fraîche

Preheat oven to 180C/gas4.

Salsa: first tip the tomatoes into a sieve over a bowl to let the excess liquid drain away. Next remove the stalk from the chilli, cut it in half, remove and discard the seeds, chop the flesh very finely and place it in a bowl.
Then add half the chopped onion, the drained tomatoes, chopped coriander leaves and lime juice, and season well with salt and pepper. Now give everything a thorough mixing.

Meanwhile, mix the 2 cheeses together in a bowl.

Next put the frying pan over a high flame to pre-heat and, when it’s hot, dry-fry each of the tortillas for 6 seconds on each side. Place one tortilla on a flat surface and spread a tablespoon of salsa over it, but not quite to the edges, sprinkle over a heaped tablespoon of the cheese mixture, then follow this with a tablespoon of the crème fraîche.

Then roll the tortilla up and place it in the baking dish with the sealed-side down. Repeat this with the others, then spread the remaining crème fraîche on top of the tortillas in the dish and sprinkle the rest of the salsa over the top, followed by the remaining cheeses and red onion.

Now place the dish on a high shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes, garnish with the extra coriander and serve immediately.

Sausage Boulangeres

450g sausages
700g potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
150 ml milk
150 ml stock or water
A little oil
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
25g butter
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4.

Brown the sausages all over in a little oil in a frying pan – this should take around 5 or 6 minutes. Butter round the base of a casserole. Then put in a layer of potatoes, a sprinkling of onion and seasoning and repeat the layers until all the potatoes are in, finishing off with a few flecks of butter.

Now remove the browned sausages from the pan, using a draining spoon, and place these on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle in the dried herbs, pour in the milk and water, cover the casserole with a piece of foil, place it in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when tested with a thin skewer. Serve and a side salad.

The perfect omelette

3 eggs, as fresh as possible, preferably organic and free-range, room temperature
2 knobs unsalted butter
1 tsp finely, freshly grated parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)

To cook with herbs
2-3 chopped tarragon leaves
1 tbsp each snipped chives and chopped chervil or parsley

To cook with cheese
3 rounded tbsp finely grated Gruyère

Warm a 20cm non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a fork so they break up and mix, but not as completely as you would for scrambled egg. With the heat on medium-hot, drop one knob of butter into the pan. It should bubble and sizzle, but not brown. Season the eggs with the Parmesan and a little salt and pepper, and pour into the pan.

Let the eggs bubble slightly for a couple of seconds, then take a wooden fork or spatula and gently draw the mixture in from the sides of the pan a few times, so it gathers in folds in the centre. Leave for a few seconds, then stir again to lightly combine uncooked egg with cooked. Leave briefly again, and when partly cooked, stir a bit faster, stopping while there’s some barely cooked egg left. With the pan flat on the heat, shake it back and forth a few times to settle the mixture – if adding cheese or herbs do so at this stage. It should slide easily in the pan and look soft and moist on top. A quick burst of heat will brown the underside.

Grip the handle underneath. Tilt the pan down away from you and let the omelette fall to the edge. Fold the side nearest to you over by a third with your fork, and keep it rolling over, so the omelette tips onto a plate – or fold it in half, if that’s easier. For a neat finish, cover the omelette with a piece of kitchen paper and plump it up a bit with your fingers. Rub the other knob of butter over to glaze. Serve immediately with a fresh herb salad.

Rustic chicken stew
3 tablespoons olive oil
500g boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
100g black olives, rinsed, pitted, and sliced
100g green olives, rinsed, pitted, and sliced
50-100g capers, rinsed (depends on how much you like capers)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly broken up with a fork
15ml red wine
2 bay leaves
Splash Worcestershire sauce
handful fresh basil
Salt and pepper
Small handful parsley, chopped
Cooked rice for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 170C/gas 3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large casserole pot (that has a lid) until good and hot. Add chicken and cook without moving until well browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking until lightly browned on remaining sides, about 3-4 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.

Add onion to pot and cook whilst stirring, until lightly browned. Add black olives, green olives, and capers, and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, red wine, bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce. Season well. Return chicken to pot and bring to a simmer.

Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook until chicken is completely tender, about 2 hours. Remove lid and continue cooking for about 15 minutes to lightly reduce cooking liquid. Discard bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Stir in chopped parsley and the basil leaves, reserving some for garnish. Serve with rice or freshly made chunks of bread to mop up the sauce.

(Credits: Cassie Best, Jennifer Joyce, Delia Smith, Sophie Wright, JJMoola’s kitchen)


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