Chicken with sundried tomatoes and capers

This is cooked in one pot, so is wonderful for a midweek easy meal.  It will serve four, I serve it with rice to soak up the sauce, although polenta might work with this, considering the mediterranean flavours in the dish.

Chicken with sundried tomatoes and capers

Chicken with sundried tomatoes and capers

6 spring onions, slice the white part finely, slice the green part into 1cm lengths;

1 clove garlic, finely sliced.

2 tbsp oil (you can either use olive oil, or the oil that the sundried tomatoes were preserved in);

Four small chicken breast fillets (or two large ones filleted in half);

1 cup of cream;

Half a 320g of sundried tomatoes which have been packed in oil rather than vinegar;

2 tbs capers (the capers should be salty enough that you won’t need to add salt, but you can add a little pepper if you prefer).

 

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based frypan which is capable of taking all the chicken at once.  Add the spring onions, garlic and chicken, and fry until the chicken is cooked almost all the way through (this will vary depending on the thickness of your fillets – to check, skewer the thick part of the breast, if the juice runs a vibrant pink the chicken is still raw inside.  If it is clear, the chicken is done, so you want it to be still a little bit pink, but not much).

Remove the chicken from the heat and keep warm.  Boil a kettle (you don’t want to use cold water or you might crack or warp your pan) and deglaze the pan with a little hot water, scraping all the burnt bits of garlic and onion and making a thick fluid in the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium, and add the cream, tomatoes and capers, and slowly bring to heat, don’t allow the cream to boil or it will split or curdle.

Return the chicken to the pan, and finish off the cooking, turning and basting with the sauce to keep moist and to ensure the chicken is covered with sauce.

Yum.

If you like white wine, you could use some warmed wine to deglaze the pan instead of hot water.

 

Chicken Benny

I know Eggs Benedict is traditionally made with hollandaise sauce, not bernaise, but they are have some very similar flavours (lots of butter, eggs and a little lemon) so that’s what I call this.  The version I have pictured was chicken, avocado and sauce, but I have also made a version with ham, the method for which I will explain below.  If you use really big chicken breasts, you can serve four people with two, if the breasts are small you had better use four, just to make sure everyone gets enough.  You can serve this with a lovely salad (to offset all that rich butter) or even rice to soak up some of the lovely sauce.  If I have the oven going (if I cook the chicken in the oven) I will often cook potatoes or sweet potatoes as well, they go really well with the sauce.

Traditional bernaise sauce makers look away, I don’t strain the flavourings out of my sauce, I love the texture and flavour they provide so won’t strain them out and throw them away!

Chicken Benny

Chicken Benny

Two large, or four small, chicken breasts;

1 ripe avocado;

4 slices of good quality sandwich ham if you are making the version with ham; (optional)

Bernaise sauce:

150 ml white wine;

1 tsp dried tarragon;

6 shakes of freshly ground black pepper (by this I mean turn the grinder six times so you get nice chunky bits of black pepper in the sauce);

2 finely chopped spring onions;

2 tbs white wine vinegar;

3 egg yolks;

1 tbsp iced water;

125g butter, chopped;

Juice of half a lemon.

 

Cook the chicken and keep warm.  You can either pan fry it, or cook it in the oven in a covered dish.  This is the method I use when I do the version with ham.  I cook the chicken for about half an hour at 180 celcius in a fan forced oven, then cover each breast with a slice of ham, put the lid back on the dish and cook another 5 minutes.

At the same time:

Place the white wine, tarragon, pepper, spring onions and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook for five minutes until the mixture is syrupy.  Place into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool.

Beat the eggs together with the iced water.  Choose a saucepan that your bowl will fit in , put a small amount of water into it and bring to the boil (the bowl should not touch the water).  Once the syrup has cooled to room temperature (if you put the eggs in while the syrup is hot they will cook straight away and you will ruin your sauce) put the bowl over the boiling water, and add the eggs, stirring all the while.  Whisk until the mixture is fluffy and has doubled.

Gradually add the butter, a piece at the time, stirring until each piece melts before adding the next.  Once all the butter is melted and mixed through, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.  (Use as soon as possible or the sauce will separate if you leave it to stand too long).

Cut the avocado into slices and arrange over the chicken (or chicken & ham) and pour the sauce over the lot.  Enjoy.

 

 

Spicy one pot chicken

Assuming you have some leftover cooked rice, this is a one pot dinner – everything is cooked in the pot and the rice is put in towards the end for reheating.  This serves four.

Spicy one pot chicken

Spicy one pot chicken

3 large single chicken breasts, cut into strips (small enough for your fork though)

1 tbs olive oil

Aromatics

1 tsp finely chopped fresh chilli

1 cm finely chopped fresh ginger

2 cloves finely chopped garlic

3 spring onions, white part, cut into small pieces on the diagonal (reserve the green parts for later)

1 large carrot, sliced into small pieces on the diagonal

1 tbs finely chopped celery tops (the leaves are more aromatic than the stalks)

Vegetables

1/2 red capsicum, finely sliced

1 green capsicum, finely chopped

4 small tomatoes, quartered

Green parts of the spring onions, cut into 1 cm pieces

 

2 cups leftover cooked rice

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 tbsp gluten free cornflour

1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbsp sour cream

 

Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan (I use a french oven, but you can use a large frypan if you prefer), fry the aromatics until carrot is just starting to soften.  Fry the chicken until browned.  Add the stock, a little at a time, reserving 1/4 cup to mix with the cornflour.  Fry the vegetables until just starting to soften, add the rice and stir to break up.

Stir through the soy sauce and stock/cornflour mix, make sure it is mixed and well blended, cook for two minutes to cook out the floury taste, then season to taste.

Garnish with the sour cream and some parsley or coriander.

Chicken in mustard cream sauce

I do love throwing together dinner using one of those “jars” – you know the type that you add your own meat and veg and the jar has a simmer sauce.  They are tasty and easy, but usually full of sugar (and often contain thickeners that aren’t gluten free).  So, armed with a memory of what flavours go well together, I came up with the following, easy one pot midnight dinner.  It serves four, with a little bit left over to take to work for lunch the next day.

 

Chicken in mustard cream sauce

Chicken in mustard cream sauce

 

500g chicken thighs, cut into 2cm cubes

1 small to medium brown onion, peeled and cut in half, and then into wedges

1 clove garlic, chopped very finely

2 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices

6 small potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup white wine

1 tbs mustard (not powder but whole mustard seeds)

600ml cream

2 tbs gluten free cornflour

1 tbs olive oil

 

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan (I use a cast iron french frypan).  Fry the onion and garlic until just softened.  Brown the chicken.  If the chicken starts to stick to the pan at this stage, I add a little hot water (I boil the kettle before I start cooking – if you use cold water on a hot pan you risk cracking the pan).  Sprinkle the cornflour over then stir.  Add the mustard, wine and cream, then tumble in the potatoes and carrots and mix well.  Turn the heat down to a slow simmer – you don’t want to boil the cream or it will end up looking like butter.  Simmer about 20-30 minutes – it depends on how small you have cut the potatoes and what type they are.  Mix in the peas and cook for a couple of minutes, then turn off the heat and the heat of the pan should do the remainder of the work while you set it up on the table.

I like to serve this with rice or gluten free couscous, just something to soak up the sauce.

 

Enjoy.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Sticks

Really really easy, and more of an idea than a recipe.  I slice chicken breasts, thread them onto a wooden skewer (don’t forget to soak them first so they don’t catch on fire on the barbeque!) and sprinkle them very liberally with lemon pepper – I use a commercial blend.  It is very refreshing and these are always popular.  The thing I love about the barbeque is that although I prepare all the food, I don’t actually do the cooking – himself does that!

We usually cook the chicken first and then hand them around for people to snack on before the rest of the meat is ready.  But you can do it however it works best for you.  They don’t take long to cook, so keep an eye on them because it isn’t long between still being pink, and being dried out!

Lemon pepper chicken sticks

Lemon pepper chicken sticks

For six people I would prepare about 500g of chicken breasts – although I often do  more so there are leftovers (leftovers are the best!)

Cooking on the barbie!

Cooking on the barbie!