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Friday 27 March 2015

Recipe: Succulent Chicken Breast Rigatoni (aka Teriyaki Mac n Cheese)

This recipe is really nothing more that a bit of chopping and mixing, simple and tasty. The key is succulent chicken and pasta a touch softer than al dente. You don’t want it to come out as if it came form a tin can, but make it too al dente and it all becomes to much effort to eat!!

Who likes sucking on a cross between a rubber bullet and a piece of chalk? Meh . . .  not so much! Who likes raw chicken? Nobody! 

So, the key to succulent chicken, is not to over cook it! 

Teriyaki Mac and Cheese is fast and simple comfort food, some soft cheese and some cured Mediterranean sausage and you’re ready for bliss!

ingredients (serves 2)
2 chicken breasts (cut into chicken tenders, and left to marinate)
400g rigatoni pasta (dry weight)

for the marinade
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp medium peri peri sauce
1 tbsp chilli sauce

for the sauce
2 onions (diced and cooked translucent)
50ml EVO
50g italian salami (diced)
50g chorizo (diced)
200g soft cheese

for the spring onion vinaigrette (enough for 8)
250ml EVO
200ml cider vingar
1 tbsp sugar
4 spring onions (chopped into thin rings)

This dish is, as with most cooking (specially with pasta), all about timing! Definitely don’t want hard chewy chicken and soggy pasta. It’s about a smooth sauce with a little kick, succulent and tasty chicken, with morsels of Mediterranean cured meats, all mixed with a pasta that holds a little shape and plenty of sauce . . . . now we’re talking!!

Before starting put a kettle of water on to boil.

Pull the centre piece out of the breast, the kind of mini breast (the bit you make chicken tenders with), and cut the remaining breast into 3 slices the same size, put it all into a food bag or a take away box with the marinade, 30mins is fine, while you put the kids down or a have a glass of wine. Thinking about it the kids will love this recipe! When you feel the chicken is ready put the olive oil into a medium hot frying pan, and using tongs shake off the excess marinade and put it into the pan. Keep the excess marinade. Turn the chicken once to colour each side. The chicken pieces should be golden when you turn them and should be cooked on the outside. Put them on a plate to one side.

Add 2L of boiling water to a pot, add 1tbsp salt and bring the water to the boil. Add the pasta and boil for 9-10min, the pack I had said 12-14mins but if you put it in that long it would come out as mush at the end. Secondly it’ll be inedible if you keep it for lunch tomorrow. Whereas if it’s al dente, it will be fine for tomorrows lunch!! : )

Using the pan from the chicken, fry off the onions until translucent.
Then add the diced cured meat, and let it render a little fat into the pan. 
Add 2 tbsp of garlic onion reduction (alternatively 1/2 a crumbled chicken stock and a little garlic salt, and 200ml water). Then add the soft cheese and stir in until all the lumps have gone. Add a little water if it’s too thick. It should be the same consistency as cream. Turn the heat down until it’s bubbling lightly, then cut chicken tenders into 1/3’s with a pair of scissors add them to the sauce.
Leave for about 5 mins then turn off the heat and wiat for the pasta.

to serve
Once the pasta is ready drain it and add it to the sauce. Mix well. Serve immediately.
If it’s come out a little under seasoned you can grate some parmesan on it but it shouldn’t need it.

A touch of parsley for that retro garnish look? It’s up to you!!
Personally I went with a rather sharp vinaigrette and spring onion to balance the cheese sauce and compliment the spiciness.

Friday 13 March 2015

Leftovers - Recipe: Duck & Date Pie

I hate food waste, so very important to cook nose to tail! (Ahem - parsons nose to bill in this case!) 
I’ve been developing a couple of new duck dishes recently. Our ducks come with giblets, which includes neck, heart, liver, and kidneys. The liver and kidneys are easy to use, the wings and neck on the other hand? 

Well I decided to make a stock out of them, after about 2 hours of slow braising I pulled them out. 

Turns out there’s quite a lot of meat on duck necks!  The wings have bizarrely little meat on them because the muscle is in the breast obviously!!  If you’re roasting a duck, the wing dries out in the oven and becomes tough and chewy, if you braise them however you get a fair amount of meat form them!! Which is a good reason to cut the wings off before roasting. 

So from making the stock I got a great sauce and wing and neck meat, I picked them both, reduced the stock and turned them into pies!!!  And jolly good they were too!

I served them with a tangerine cauliflower cous cous - light and fruity - great combo!

ingredients (makes 8 pies)
for the duck stock
4 duck necks
8 duck wings
leftover carcass
1 tomato (diced)
1 onion (diced)
2 chillies (chopped into rings)
2L water

for the pie
duck meat (picked from the carcass, wings, and neck)
8 dates (copped)
2 onions (medium dice)
chilli sauce (to taste)
3cm ginger (peeled and fine dice)
180g haggis (cooked, crumbled)

for the pastry
700g flaky pastry
1 egg

duck stock
This is really simple, chuck all the ingredients into a pot bring to the boil, then set to simmer. Leave for 2 hours.
Then take out the wings, necks and any carcass and pick the meat from them once they’ve cooled a little but are still warm.
Sieve the remains of the stock and reduce it by half. A quick taste check to make sure it’s nice, if it needs more reduction to develop the flavour then crack on! If it’s too salty add some water to loosen it a little.

for the pie
Sweat off the onions until they’re translucent, add the duck and let them brown a little.
Add the ginger, dates and chilli, this should make a meaty pie filling!!
Next add enough of the reduced stock to give the perfect pie filling!

Finally mix in the haggis.

for the pastry
Get some flakey pastry (or make you own).
Dust the pie dishes with a little flour. 
Once you’ve line the pie dishes with pastry, put a piece of cling film or baking paper in them and fill them with ceramic beads or pulses of some sort. (lentils, chick peas, rice works too, as do coins!)
Put them in the oven, 180C 15mins.
Remove them from the oven and turn it up to 200C.
Remove the pulses and cling film from the pie cases and brush them with egg wash. This serves two purposes: to make them shiny and to water proof them - no soggy bottoms here!!  
Put the pie cases back in the oven for 5 mins @ 200C.
Fill the pies with the filling, then brush the rims with egg wash. 
Put tops on the pies and put them back into the oven for 15-20mins.
If you’re a perfectionist you should probably crimp them around the edges!!!

thinking ahead
These will freeze.  Re-warm from frozen, at 160C for 15-20minutes - AWESOME!

to serve
Since this is quite a naughty dish I served it with a tangerine cauliflower cous cous, which is cous cous made 50% out of cauliflower, really tasty an really healthy with a nod to that classic Duck L’Orange.

and I quote . . . . "Oooh, so sooo tasty!!"

I served it w/ tangerine cauliflower cous cous

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More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes
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