Some think that Risottos are scary and problematic. For me, I’ve always been able to knock out a good one. Maybe it’s my knack, I feel I can inject passion into risottos and pastas, so potentially my calling. On Monday, I endured as many do a pretty arduous day at work. Things are not particularly great work wise at the moment. Think it’s Brexit waves that are causing unease in my particular case. I arrived home however in a good mood, this is due to the fact that I have now taken up swimming every morning before work in the intention that I will be less stressed and moody. This has been working well until I pulled up in front of my house. I glanced up at my bedroom window, the light was on so knew the husband was home and probably watching TV. I don’t have a problem with the husband watching his favourite shows. I do have a rule though that whoever is first home should make a little effort on the aesthetics of the domestic dwelling. I sadly wasn’t feeling the domestic vibe, as the way the curtains and blinds were arranged was a dead give away of what was to come. I looked at Jenny’s house next door, spotless curtain arrangement as always, and walked slowly to my front door. It didn’t get any better. The washing up was still there from the previous evening, plus extra. The dog had displayed his affection in the liquid form despite the french doors being open so he may come and go as he pleases to the garden. I decided a little vino would be appropriate at this point, the husband popped his head into the kitchen and asked why I was drinking. I noticed he had a funny hat and glasses on and wondered if I’d missed something or was this a vague attempt to cheer me up or was this now his new look.
I told him to leave me alone to get back control of the kitchen and my inner peace, tidied up whilst mumbling and cracked on with supper.
I grabbed a large pan, glugged a generous amount of olive oil into it, chopped a large onion finely, two garlic cloves and fried gently for 2 minutes. I added 3 teacups of Arborio rice and coated it so it reached the translucent stage. I then added in half a punnet of chestnut mushrooms, a glass of dry white wine and a pint of chicken stock. The next 18 minutes of your life is crucial to your Risotto’s success. I like a wet risotto with a bit of Al dentiness, so took to my stirring a nurturing. This is the stress reliever bit, and does wonders for me. After 13 ish minutes I added my chopped leftover chicken ( around a breast and a half), stirred for a further 3 minutes, then finished with some chopped Tarragon, a good knob of butter, lashings of Parmesan and some black pepper. I was ready to be nice, so called the hubby from wherever he had scurried off to….
I was away this weekend so didn’t manage my token hour of ironing or my weekly roasting of anything mildly interesting ( usually chicken). Tonight I sniffed that my boys felt they had been hard done by, and myself still in the recovery position from several quaffable whites, 3 glasses of champers, a smooth côtes du Rhône, and five baby guinesses ( sang to the tune of 12 days of Xmas) thought that dinner should not be an almighty affair. Here’s what I did…. Bought a smallish chicken ( only 3 of us, feel free to upgrade) placed into a roasting dish with a quartered onion, 3 garlic cloves, 200 grams of New potatoes, and roasted with a glug of olive oil at 190 degrees centigrade. After 40 mins, Chucked in 5 halved carrots, tossed about with some Tarragon. Then 15 mins down the line, added 100 mls of dry white wine, 100 mls of water, a chicken stock pot and 2 handfuls of garden peas. A big mix and you have your favourite flavours with minimum effort. I served with a Yorkshire pud and some cauliflower cheese. Monday delight!!
This dish sits firmly on my top five favourite and non stressful dishes to make. One can use chicken or lamb, the lamb version takes much longer to produce falling off the bones lamb ( suggested 5-6 hours at 140 degrees centigrade). The chicken version is still just as tasty and only takes around 2.5 hours in the oven plus 25 minutes prepping time.
This dish is an ambassador for slow comfort cooking as you can quite literally put it in the oven, go for a long walk, go to the pub or if with friends have drinks and nibbles before enjoying it later. It’s a real hearty dish and the aromas are sublime.
This makes enough for for 6 hearty portions….
Take 4 kilos of potatoes, slice and line the base of a large relatively deep pan. Add 3 sliced onions, mix with the potatoes, sprig some herbs, Tarragon, Thyme and Rosemary work well. Place 2 medium chickens on top, drizzle with olive oil, season well with salt and black pepper and add 2.5 pints of heavy chicken stock. Basically leave in the oven for 2.5 hours on 150 degrees centigrade and chillax.
Once cooked, take out of the oven for 20 mins to rest, in this time you can make your cabbage. This cabbage dish is my daughter’s favourite thing in the world as its fabulously comforting and deliciously moorish.
Take 2.5 cabbages of your choice, shred finely and put into a deep pan with a generous dollop of olive oil. Add 200gms of Olive oil and sauté for five minutes. Add 200 grams of Bacon lardons and cook for a further 6 minutes or until cooked with a little bit of colour. Turn the heat down, and add in 300 mls of double cream, simmer and season with some black pepper. Finally stir in two tablespoons of whole grain mustard.
Enjoy with some crusty bread to mop up the sublime juices and of course a nice rustic glass of vin rouge..
This really easy and wonderfully delicious recipe came to me whilst on way home from work. I fancied a little soupçon of Gewurtztraminer and started to dream of chicken, lardons of bacon, cream, sweetness and suchlike. I visited Strasbourg, the Alsace capital as a teenage gal a couple of times and was affected by its vibrancy and breath taking beauty coupled with stunning back drops. This really easy and very reasonable recipe is a little decadent with a splash of wine and a couple of spoons of double cream to add richness…
Take a 100 gram pack of bacon lardons, and sauté gently in a splash of olive oil. Set aside and use same oil to seal and colour your chicken supremes. Cook for around 3 minutes on either side before placing on some miniture new potatoes and placing in the oven to roast for 25 minutes. Meanwhile chop a bunch of spring onions, 3 garlic cloves and soften for a minute in the same oil. Add in 200 mls of chicken stock, a splash of white wine and reduce for 10 mins. Add in the set aside lardons, a shredded baby gem lettuce and a cup of petits pois and simmer for 3-4 mins. Sprinkle a tiny bit of Tarragon, then take a little of the jus, mix in with 70 mls of double cream then add back into the sauce ( this avoids splitting rather than adding the cream directly). Take out new potatoes, place in centre of plate, place chicken supreme and spoon over glorious sauce in abundance with some chopped chives…..serve with a glass of Alsace wine or as I have done a little Vino Esmerelda by fam Torres……