Breakfast for Dinner: Shakshuka

I fear I may be wading into choppy political waters by claiming that this traditional breakfast dish originates from any one place.  And I don’t want to do that.  It comes from somewhere in the Middle East.  And I will say no more about its origins.

I will however, tell you all about the flavours and contents of this gorgeous little gem of a meal.  It’s robust and filling, whilst being loaded full of bright colourful veg.  It requires a single frying pan. It takes less than thirty minutes to make.  Its got the sort of gentle spice to it that makes you feel all buzzy without your mouth feeling it’s on fire.  It’s cheap.  It’s definitely cheerful.

This the sort of meal I keep in my arsenal for those times when I need to plan a weeks worth of meals, but the thought of that makes me want to cry.  It’s an easy meal to have on permanent stand by.  An Old Faithful of meal that won’t let you down.  This is the foodie equivalent of that H&M dress that you bought for £7.99 and wear when you have no idea what else to wear because it’s comfy and looks nice and means you don’t have to think.  (You have one of those too, don’t you?)

According to a Jewish friend, eating Shashuka for dinner is ‘cray cray’.  I dispute this assertion.  Eating Shakshuka at any time is never anything other than a delight. And what’s wrong with being cray cray anyway?

Serves two

Ingredients:

  • A good glug of oil
  • One onion, red or white.
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 peppers (yellow look pretty.  Red are lovely.  Green would be my last choice here)
  • A tablespoon of harissa paste (or 1-2tsp Ras-al-Hanout spice mix, or a little shake each of cumin, coriander, cinnamon and paprika)
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • Parsley to garnish (if you’re feeling fancy)
  • Flatbreads, pitta bread, baguettes to serve.

 

  • 10006966_1693521827591165_5203996039132366025_n

Method:

  • Slice your onions and peppers, keeping them relatively chunky (onion into 6 wedges, peppers into 6-8 thick slices)
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  • Add the onions and peppers to pan and turn the heat down really low.
  • Crush or finely slice the garlic and add to the pan with the harissa or Ras-al-Hanout to the pan.  Cook low and slow for about 15 mins, until the veg are really soft.  Don’t rush this bit because burnt onions and garlic are not that great.
  • Once your veg are soft, add your chopped tomatoes.  Stir all together.
  • Add a pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp sugar stir through.
  • Turn the heat up to a medium so the tomato sauce bubbles away and starts to thicken.  About 10 minutes.
  • Make four little holes in the sauce, so that you can see the bottom of the pan. Carefully crack an egg into each hole.
  • Turn the heat down really low and carefully cover the frying pan (with a lid, plate, baking sheet or tin foil.)  The idea is that you trap the steam in the pan and it cooks the tops of your eggs.
  • After about 6 minutes your egg will be cooked so that the whites are opaque.
  • If you’re serving this to a pregnant lady or someone who has a vulnerable immune system (or someone that just really dislikes runny eggs), just cook, covered, for another 5 minutes so that the egg is cooked solid.  It will still taste delicious.
  • Garnish with some chopped up parsley, if you fancy, with some bread of some description.

You can very easily make the sauce a few days in advance (up until the bit where you add the eggs), then heat it through a few minutes before you want eat and add the eggs.  If you’ve the foresight to do this it makes knocking together a nourishing and yummy meal very easy at the end of a long day.

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Absolutely not Tartiflette

So last Sunday I had one of those days when for absolutely no reason, I was in a terrible mood.  Not even Finding Nemo cheered me up.  So you know it’s bad.

So after getting pretty sick of me, The Boy decided to run me a bath.  And I listened to (and wailed along to) Adele in the bath for an hour and then suddenly I felt a lot better.  And I wanted to cook something extraordinarily comforting and bad for me.

I wanted Tartiflette.

But it was 6pm on a Sunday and even if our local Tesco stocked Reblochon cheese (it doesn’t) it wouldn’t have been open anyway.  So I had to get inventive.  Of course a true Tartiflette uses Reblochon so to call this Tartiflette would be total sacrilege.  So it is instead Absolutely Not Tartiflette.

I reckon it works pretty well though.

A note on potatoes: For this to work well, the potatoes need to be sliced really really thinly. I am lucky enough to have a spiraliser which has a slicing attachement.  It works just fine, although you do get little circles cut out of every slice.  You could also use a food processor, mandolin or the slicer side of a cheese grater.  Or you could use a knife and patience.

A note on stock:  I do think this is one of those meals that works best with real chicken stock (there’s a recipe for slow cooker stock, which is virtually no effort, here.) If you don’t have any though then a stock cube or jelly will still produce a very nice meal.

We had this with some sausages because we were starving.  It would work as an accompaniment to some chicken (perhaps left over roast?) or works fine with a nice big salad for a slightly lighter meal.

Tartiflette

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 large baking potatoes (unpeeled, unless you love peeling spuds.  In which case, you’re a weirdo)
  • one white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 rashers bacon
  • a tablespoon of butter or oil (depending on how naughty you’re feeling)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 100 mls white wine (optional)
  • 400 mls chicken stock
  • 5 tbsp creme fraiche
  • salt and pepper
  • hard cheese for the topping (I used grana padano, but parmesan, gruyere, cheddar or anything you fancy really would work just fine.

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180’C
  • Slice your potatoes as thinly as you can.  (See above).
  • Once sliced, plunge the potatoes into a pan of boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes.  (If the slices are actually kinda thick you may want to increase this to 5 minutes. )
  • Drain your potatoes in a colander.
  • Chop your bacon into chunks and put in a medium sized saucepan.  Cook on a very low heat so the fat melts.
  • Finely slice your onion and add to the pan with the bacon.
  • Add the oil or butter.
  • Finely chop or crush your garlic and add to the onions and bacon.  Cook everything on a low low heat until the onions are soft and translucent (7 mins or so)
  • Add the tablespoon of flour to the pan and give it a good stir.  It will mix with the bacon fat and butter/oil in the pan to make a roux.
  • Add the wine to the bacon and onions, if using.
  • Add the hot stock to the pan with the onions and bacon a little at a time (a ladle is the ideal amount), stirring constantly.
  • The process will take a good few minutes to incorporate all the stock.
  • Bring to the boil (this will enable the starch granules in the flour to burst and will thicken the sauce). Once boiling, turn the heat down low for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  • Arrange about a third of your potato slices along the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish or gratin dish in a single layer so they overlap slightly.  Sprinkle over a little salt and a good grind of pepper.
  • Return to your bacon/onion/stock pan.  Add the creme fraiche a little a tablespoon at a time, stirring it through really well so the sauce thickens up.
  • Pour a third of the saucy bacony oniony mixture on top of the potato layer.
  • Layer another third of the potatoes on top.  Top that with another third of the sauce.
  • Repeat once more, so you finish with the sauce on top.
  • Grate as much cheese on the top as you fancy.  It should pretty much cover all the sauce.
  • Pop this in the oven and cook for 45 minutes.  It should be golden brown and bubbling on top.
  • Leave to sit for about 5 minutes as this makes it much easier to serve.
  • Best eaten with a glass of wine, if you ask me.

A word of advice.  Soak the dish you make this in.  Do not leave it overnight without soaking.  You will never get it off!

Liquid Gold Slow Cooker Stock: Domestic Goddessicity with Virtually Zero Effort

Stock or bone broth is all the rage, dontchaknow.  Everyone’s talking about it.  You can get tote bags that say ‘Boil your bones’ to carry around the Farmers Market.

I never used to think it was worth it.  All that standing over a hot stove, skimming off scum.  Not able to leave the house.

And then I discovered the slow cooker method.  And it CHANGED MY LIFE.  Now I have a freezer fully stocked with the stuff, ready to whip up a risotto or sauce or soup made with MY OWN STOCK.  Like a veritable domestic goddess.

And it takes less than half an hour of actual work.

So next time you make a Boursin Roast Chicken, why not save the bones and make this? Soon you can have a freezer stocked with liquid gold too.  And feel like a domestic goddess.

I usually pop the stock on after a Sunday lunch to give it a good 4 hours or so on high power, then turn it down to low when I go to bed and leave it on low until I get back from work the following day.  That gives it about 20 hrs in the slow cooker.  I think it needs a good 12 hours in total, and I am of a view that the longer you cook it the better the stock, but if you’re time limited just cook it overnight.

stock

 

makes about 1.6 litres of stock.

  • A roast chicken carcass, stripped of all its meat (save that for any number of left over chicken recipes.) (Any really dry or chewy looking bits of meat can go in the stock for extra flavour)
  • One white onion, skin left on for colour, halved.
  • 1-2 sticks of celery, rinsed of any grit.
  • 1-2 carrots, scrubbed but not peeled.
  • 2 litres cold water (or as much as you can get in the slow cooker)

Nice additions, but by no means essential:

  • other left over veggies (leek tops, cabbage – NOT potatoes.)
  • Parsley sprigs
  • a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.  (The Hemsley sisters claim that this helps to break down the bones so it releases their flavour and goodness better.  I have absolutely no idea if this is actually the case, but it doesn’t effect the taste of the stock and the Hemsley’s are absolutely beautiful, so it clearly isn’t doing them any harm…)
  • 6 pepper corns.
  • 3-4 raw garlic cloves.
  • 2-3 bay leaves.

Method:

  • Put all of the above in your slow cooker. Put the lid on the slow cooker.
  • Turn the slow cooker on high for about 4 hours.
  • Turn it down low for a further 8 – 16 hrs, depending on how long you have and what your schedule is like.
  • Once you have decided your stock has had sufficient time, turn the slow cooker off and let the straining begin!
  • I use a ladle and pour the stock through a sieve into a big mixing bowl, squidging the bones and veg in the sieve with the ladle to get all the liquid out.
  • I usually strain it again through a sieve into a measuring jug.
  • Pour into freezer bags.  (I usually portion out 500 mls per bag as this seems to be about right for most recipes.
  • HANDY HINT FOR FILLING FREEZER BAGS WITH HOT LIQUID:  stand the freezer bag up in a pint glass, folding the sides over the rim of the glass.
  • Leave the stock to cool and then lie it flat in the freezer (takes up less space that way.
  • When I need the stock I either take it out a few hours before hand and leave it to defrost, or cut away the freezer bag and put the giant stock ice cube in a sauce pan and defrost over a low heat.
  • Now you’re a domestic goddess. Well done.

 

A Bowlful of Dreams: Sweet Potato, Lentil and Spinach Dhal

When I’m feeling a bit rubbishy I want a bowl full of something bright to look at, fragrant to smell and bursting with bold flavours to taste.  And if it’s chock full of veg and low fat protein then that’s a bonus. There is one meal that ticks all those boxes: A Bowlful of Dreams.

And it can be in a bowl and in your belly in about 25 minutes.

So if you’re feeling a little below par and need something to lift you up then maybe try this.

 

dhal2.jpeg

 

Serves 2, easily doubled.  Reheats nicely if stored in the fridge for 3 days.

Ingredients:

  • A glug of oil
  • One onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 -1 red chilli (start small! You can always add more later!)
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 2tsp garam masala
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 100g red lentils
  • 500mls hot stock (veg is fine, but if you have some chicken stock that needs using, you could do so here)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • As much handfuls of spinach as you can spare (about half a bag)

Nice bonus ingredients (the recipe will totally work without these, but they sort of elevate it if you have them to hand):

  • 2 tsp butter
  • juice of half a lime
  • a handful of coriander leaves.

Method:

  • Heat a glug of oil in a medium sized pan.
  • Finely chop your onion, garlic and chilli and add to the pan, turning the heat down nice and low.  Allow the onions to soften for about 5 minutes.
  • Chop your sweet potato.  (I rarely bother to peel mine, but you can if you choose.  If there are any ‘hairy bits’ on the sweet potato then do chop these off as they are touch to eat.)
  • Add your spices, stirring through the onion/garlic/chilli.
  • Add your lentils and chopped sweet potatoes.  Stir it all together so the spices and oil coats the lentils and sweet potatoes.
  • Pour the hot stock in and add the tbsp tomato puree, giving it all a good stir.
  • Bring to the boil, then pop a lid on the pan and turn the heat right down again.
  • Leave covered, stirring periodically (as lentils can catch really easily on the bottom of the pan), for about 15 minutes.
  • Check that the lentils and sweet potato are soft and ready to eat.
  • Throw in your spinach and stir through until it’s wilted.
  • Now you can add your bonus bits, if you want to.
  • Check for consistency and flavour.  If it’s too watery you can simply leave the dhal to bubble very gently on the hob with the lid off to reduce down a bit.  Depending on whether you’ve used stock cubes or homemade stock, you might want to add a little salt to really make the flavours sing.  Not spicy enough?  Add a little more chilli, cayenne pepper or even a bit of Tabasco to give it some kick.
  • Serve in deep bowls with a dollop of yoghurt, mango chutney and rice or naan (or both! I won’t tell anyone!).  I generally find this is a meal best eaten on the sofa, in your PJ’s, whilst watching something questionable on telly.  But that’s just me…

 

Worth-the-Tears Caramelised Red Onion and Stilton Tart

The humble onion.  Sitting in the background.  Starting off every recipe but never given any credit.  Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.  Well, NO MORE.  This is a recipe that makes the humble onion a star.  A gorgeous, sticky, sweet star, nestled next to its supporting cast: a soft, salty Stilton and crumbly, buttery puff pastry.

This is not a quick recipe, but nor is it especially involved.  One could quite easily set the onions going and then set about doing other things nearby – the washing up, folding laundry, a small dance, perhaps – returning periodically to give the onions a spuddle before returning to the dance.

It is, however, not a recipe one can rush. Caramelising onions takes time.  Do not rush your onions.

For this reason, this meal tends to be one reserved for days off where the pace is a little slower and you want to savour the day.  Days when you don’t want to rush anything.

 (Unlike this photo, which was a little rushed because we just wanted to eat…#foodbloggerproblems)

tart1.jpeg

You can, of course, make your own pastry.  And if you do, not only will I admire you, but you can also run around saying you’ve made ‘A Rough Puff’, which is fun to do.  If you are so inclined, I would direct you to this video.  For now though, I’m sticking to shop bought.

Serves 2 hungry (greedy?) adults, or 3 less hungry

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red onions, or 6 small ones
  • a good glug of oil
  • a tablespoon of butter
  • a garlic clove
  • a small glass of red wine
  • a tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 200g ready made, ready rolled puff pastry (or buy a block and roll it out yourself – it’s more economical that way)
  • 60g stilton or other blue cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • to garnish: a few basil or parsley leaves, fresh rosemary or walnuts (entirely optional, but nice if you have them in)

Method:

  • Peel your onions, chop off the root and top, then slice them through the middle. Slice them as finely as you can, so that when the layers are separated they look like little crescents. (Don’t worry if you cry, you’ll be adding salt anyway.)
  • Heat a good glug (3tbsps) of olive oil and the butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat.
  • Add the onions to the pan, coat them in the oil and butter. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Turn the heat right down and cook the onions ever so gently, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.  Do not rush your onions (this is when you can do the washing up or a little dance.  Don’t go too far away though because you need to make sure they don’t catch or burn)
  • After 30 mins they should have shrunk and they should be glossy and a little sticky.
  • Finely slice or press a clove of garlic and add this to the pan, giving a little stir.  Continue to cook on this low heat for a further 5 mins.
  • Now for the fun bit: turn up the heat to a medium heat.  Throw in your small glass of red wine and balsamic vinegar.  Give it a good stir and watch while the onions drink it all up.  (You’ve just deglazed a pan.  Get you!)
  • Once it’s all drunk up, turn the heat off entirely.
  • Preheat your oven to 180’C.
  • Prepare a baking tray by lining it with foil and lightly brushing the foil with oil.
  • If you are using a block of pastry, roll it out now into the shape you want your tart to be.  I make mine a rectangle, if only because my baking tray is a rectangle and ready-rolled pastry is too.  But you can do it in a circle.  Or a triangle.  Or go off-piste entirely. There are no rules.
  • We’re going to make the tart upside-down.  So arrange your onions on the prepared baking tray, remembering to leave a border that will form your crust.
  • Crumble and evenly distribute about two thirds of your cheese over your onions.
  • Now lie your pastry over your onions and cheese so that it covers them and leaves a little border for a crust.  You might want to tuck your edges in a little bit.
  • Pop it in the oven, with the pastry on the top for about 35 minutes, until the pastry is golden and beautiful.
  • When cooked, remove the tart from the oven. Carefully (use an oven glove or a teatowel) lightly put a chopping board on top of the pastry and then turn it all over (so the board is underneath and the baking tray on top).
  • Lie the board on a flat surface and carefully remove the baking tray.
  • Some of the onions might be stuck on the foil – that’s no big deal, just gently scrape them off and put them back on the tart.
  • Top with the remaining cheese and garnishes of your choice!

 

 

The step-by-step guide to making a Roast Chicken Dinner to Impress Your Mum and still have time to put on some make up and hoover the flat…

So I was going to post all of these with photos.  But it seems my SD card is corrupted…GAH!…I’m just posting the recipes for now and am setting about either rescuing the SD card, or just cooking everything again to photograph it.  So watch this space. 

So this post does not contain any new recipes.

It is, if you will, a synoptic that gives timings for how you would put together all the various elements of the Roast Chicken to Impress Your Mum series so that you can really impress her.

A lot of people (The Boy, I’m looking at you) find that timing things is the most stressful part of cooking, and with so many elements in an impressive roast, that is a valid concern. But fear not.  I’ve done it all for you.

The following is based on a roast made with a 2kg chicken and eaten at roughly 2pm  and gives you time to pop a bit of make up on and send your beloved running around the flat with a hoover and a duster.  Of course if you want to eat at a different time just add or subtract the timings accordingly.  (So if you’re eating at 1pm subtract an hour from each time.  If you want to eat at 3pm, add an hour.  You’re not an idiot.  You don’t really need me to tell you that.)

The roast includes the following recipes (with links to their stand-alone page):

Boursin Roast Chicken

Beaumont’s Signature Roast Potatoes

Thyme and time Roast Carrots and Onions

Barely-needs-a-recipe Leek Confit

Courgettes with Lemon and Chilli

 

SO! On y vas!

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • One chicken, free range, 2kg
  • One lump of Boursin cheese (or half a tub of Garlic and Herb cream cheese)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A lemon

For the Carrots and Onions:

  • 4 good sized carrots
  • 3 white onions
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper

For the Courgettes:

  • 2 courgettes
  • Olive oil
  • Two cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • A good shake of chilli flakes
  • 3-4 tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters depending on size (optional)
  • Half a lemon
  • Salt

For the Potatoes:

  • 1kg new potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley, a handful

For the Leek Confit:

  • 3 big leeks or 4 smaller ones (not baby leeks though, obvs)
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

 

Method:

To eat at 2pm:

10:30 Take the chicken out the fridge.

11:00 The chicken:

  • Snip the string holding the chicken‘s legs together and unhook her legs.
  • Pop half a lemon in the cavity.
  •  Now for the stuffing.  Take off your rings, unless you want your diamonds encrusted with Boursin or raw chicken. Trust me.  Gently prise the skin from the chicken’s breast, starting at the neck end.  You may need to use a sharp knife to snip the membrane slightly.  Make sure you can slide your hand all the way to the other end.
  • Take about a sixth if the lump of Boursin in you hand and slide it between the skin and the breast,  getting it as far down towards the end as you can.
  • Keep adding the cheese until you’ve used it all, or you can’t possibly get any more in.  It’s not the nicest sensation ever, but it’s worth it.  Trust.
  •  Once it’s all in, smooth it out by sliding your hand over the skin, towards the legs, to really smooth the cheese into the end if the breast.
  • Drizzle the top of the breast and legs in olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and give it all a good rub in.
  • Pop in a roasting tray and preheat your oven to 200’C ready to put her in at 12:00.

11:30 Leeks:

  • Run your leeks under the tap to ensure there’s not grit left on them.
  • Slice the end off each leek and then slice the white and light green bits as thinly as you can. Save the dark green tops for stock.
  • Melt the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When melted add your leeks to the pan and give them a good stir until they are all covered in the butter and oil. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Turn the heat right down and cook the leeks for around 45 mins, stirring frequently to stop them sticking or colouring too much.

When the leeks are done (12:20), turn off the heat, ready to reheat later.

11:45 Courgettes: (your leeks will still be cooking, but will only need minimal stirring now, so you can totally do this simultaneously.)

  • Slice your courgettes lengthways, and then on a diagonal slice them into 5mm thick slices
  • Heat a good slug of oil in a pan on a medium high heat.
  • Add your courgettes, garlic, salt and shake of chilli flakes to the pan.
  • Cook them on a medium high heat to give them some colour and then turn down the heat a little to soften the courgettes.  This takes about 20 mins.
  • If you’re adding tomatoes add them now, stir through and heat gently until they soften.
  • Once you have reached this stage, squeeze in half the juice of a lemon, stir then turn off the heat and leave to one side to reheat later at the same time as your leeks.

 

12:00 Put your stuffed chicken in the oven at 200’C.  

 

12:20 Turn the oven down to 180’C, the leeks and courgettes should be cooked by now, so turn off the heat.  We’ll reheat them later.

12:40 Potatoes

Pour about 3 tablespoons of oil into the roasting tray that you will cook them in.  Put the tray in the oven to get the oil nice and hot.

12:45 Meanwhile have a little look at your potatoes. You’ll want them all to be roughly the same size, so you may need to cut some of the bigger ones in half. Do not peel your spuds.

  • Pop them in a large pan with a good sprinkle of salt and pour over the kettle of boiling water.
  • Whack a lid on your pan and bring to the boil for 5 mins max.
  • After 5 mins drain your spuds.  You will be putting them in the hot oil in the oven in a few minutes.

12:50 Carrots and onions

  • Cut your carrots into batons: halve each carrot both vertically and horizontally. Cut each chunk into about three or four batons.
  • Peel your onions and cut each onion into six, keeping the layers of each segment as best as you can.
  • Arrange your carrots and onions on a baking tray. Drizzle over a good glug of oil. Squiggle your veg around on the tray to help coat it in the oil.
  • Sprinkle over some thyme and season with salt and pepper.

13:00 Put your carrots and onions in the oven, towards the bottom.

Take the tray with the hot oil in out of the oven and put in your spuds.  Give it a gentle shake to coat all the potatoes in the oil.  Whack straight back in the oven.  They need about an hour. You are going to throw in 4 cloves of garlic about 20 mins before the end.

13:05 There’s about 35 mins of down time here, where you don’t have to do anything, except maybe keep an eye on the bits in the oven.  This is when to put your make up on and run around cleaning the flat and setting the table.

13:40 Take your chicken out the and test for doneness by pricking the thigh and checking that the juices run clear (by clear we mean no sign on blood, no red, no pink).

Put the chicken on a plate and cover with foil.

13:42 (after taking chicken out) pop your garlic cloves in with the potatoes and give the tray a good shake to redistribute.

13:55 Ask someone to carve the chicken (or do it yourself if you feel confident to do it whilst reheating your other bits) and pop the slices on a plate.  Take the plate to the table.

13:57 Reheat your courgettes and leeks on a medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes.  You might want to take a few spoonfuls of the chicken juice out of the chicken roasting pan and add them to the leeks.  When warmed through, transfer them to attractive bowls (or ugly ones, there are no rules) and take them to the table.

14:00 Take the potatoes and carrots and onions out the oven. Pop them in an attractive bowl.  Garnish your spuds with sea salt and parsley and take them to the table.

14:02 You’ve done it! Hurrah! Have a glass of wine.  Sit down at the table and just look at how impressed your mum is.  Eat.  I bet you’re hungry.

 

 

Boursin Roast Chicken

So I was going to post all of these with photos.  But it seems my SD card is corrupted…GAH!…I’m just posting the recipes for now and am setting about either rescuing the SD card, or just cooking everything again to photograph it.  So watch this space. 

The Boy and I had been living together for two years before I got round to making any semblance of a roast dinner.  I know, I know.  Poor show, Beaumont.

Being the fussy individual that I am, I wanted something that was a bit different.  Enter: The Boursin Roast Chicken.

The first time I made a roast for my mum it was this. And it impressed her. And as a result we have the Roast Chicken to Impress Your Mum series.

The idea is really simple – a lump of Boursin cheese stuffed between the skin and the breast of the chicken.  The effect is really lovely – the breast is moist and subtly flavoured by the garlic and herbs in the cheese.  But you still get a gloriously crispy skin that you can snaffle in secret whilst carving.

There’s hardly anything to it. And it looks and smells pretty amazing too.

Ingredients:
One chicken, free range – (this recipe is for a 2kg chicken, which will feed 6 people with leftovers.  For a bigger or smaller chicken just adjust the timings. The BBC Good Food website has a good calculator for this.)
One lump of Boursin cheese (or half a tub of Garlic and Herb cream cheese)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
A lemon

Method:
– Take the chicken out the fridge about an hour before you want to cook her.
– Preheat your oven to 200’C.
– Snip the string holding the chicken’s legs together and unhook her legs.
– Pop half a lemon in the cavity.
– Now for the stuffing.  Take off your rings, unless you want your diamonds encrusted with Boursin or raw chicken. Trust me.  Gently prise the skin from the chicken’s breast, starting at the neck end.  You may need to use a sharp knife to snip the membrane slightly.  Make sure you can slide your hand all the way to the other end.
– Take about a sixth if the lump of Boursin in you hand and slide it between the skin and the breast,  getting it as far down towards the end as you can.
– Keep adding the cheese until you’ve used it all, or you can’t possibly get any more in.  It’s not the nicest sensation ever, but it’s worth it.  Trust.
– Once it’s all in, smooth it out by sliding your hand over the skin, towards the legs, to really smooth the cheese into the end if the breast.
– Drizzle the top of the breast and legs in olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and give it all a good rub in.
– Pop in a roasting tray and pop in the oven for 20mins at 200’C.
– After 20 mins turn the oven down to 180’C for 1hr20mins.
– Test the chicken for doneness by pricking the thick part of the thigh and checking that the juices run clear.
– Leave to rest for about 20 mins before carving (or in my case attempting to carve, failing, getting frustrated and then sort of hacking away at it.)
– Eat.

 

 

– Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3 or 4 days for scrummy chicken sandwiches or any number of leftover chicken recipes.
– Don’t forget to make stock with the bones.