The days are growing colder and darker, and it’s the time to break out some comfort food. It maybe wholesome, but it doesn’t need to be bland!
Curries are super versatile and go well with most types of carbs, but I decided to try potatoes, with toasted onion seeds.
I usually make this at the weekend, but you can make a double batch of the curry and freeze it if you want rustle this up for a quick mid week dinner. It’s also a great way to use left over boiled potatoes.
For the curry
500 Grams Chicken (I used breast meat because it’s what I had, but thighs also work), cut into bite sized pieces)
5-6cm Piece of ginger
4 Cloves of garlic
100 Grams Mushrooms (cut into thick slices)
150 Grams Green beans (I used frozen and they were fine)
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Tumeric
1 Tsp Ground coriander
250ml Chicken stock (it’s fine to use a stock cube)
1 Tbsp Oil
For the topping
1Kg Potatoes (a floury variety is best), cut into cubes
50 Grams Butter
2 Tsps Onion (Nigella) seeds
Heat a large dry frying pan, and toast the onion seeds. When you start to hear them crackle and pop remove from the pan and set to one side
Add the peeled and roughly chopped onion, garlic and ginger to a food processor as well as the chillies. Blitz the ingredients until broken down to a pulp
Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large pan. Add the onion mixture and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the rest of the ingredients for the curry to pan and simmer for 25-30 mins, or little longer if needed. This should be quite a thick curry
While your curry is cooking boil your potatoes until soft (I like to leave the skin on, but peel them if you prefer)
Once cooked, drain your potatoes, roughly crush with a fork or potato masher. You aren’t making mashed potatoes, you just need to break them up
Add the butter and toasted onion seeds and mix well
Top the curry with the potatoes and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees for 30 mins or until the topping is golden brown and crunchy
Like most people who eat meat, chicken is a staple for me. Lets admit it, it can get a bit boring after a while. I was looking for something different and remembered that I had something similar to this in Mexican restaurant years before.
I like to use chicken thighs because I think they have more flavour and are cheaper than chicken breast, but use these if you prefer (just reduce the cooking time so they don’t dry out).
The ingredients for the marinade are pretty straightforward and packs lots of fresh clean flavours. I only marinade the chicken for 30-60 minutes, which is good that you don’t have to plan to far in advance. If you don’t like coriander, I would still recommend giving this a chance, as cooking does change the flavour. I finish these in the oven, but they would also be great on a barbecue. I serve these with some rice, and avocado, but it’s also great served along with salad if you’re going low carb.
4 Large or 8 small chicken thighs
Juice and zest of 2 limes
2 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 Tsp Chilli flakes
2 Tbsp Olive oil
Handful of coriander (roughly chopped)
Combine oil, chilli flakes, garlic, zest and juice of a lime, and coriander in a bowl
Add chicken and marinade for 30-60 minutes
Heat a large pan (ideally one that is oven proof), on the stove top, and add the chicken. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees
Brown the chicken quickly on both sides, add any remaining marinade, and place the pan in the oven. If you don’t have an oven proof pan, transfer the chicken to oven proof dish, and make sure to scrape in all the yummy juices and chicken bits in pan
Bake for 30 minutes, and check that chicken juices run clear, (if not cook for another 5-10 minutes before checking again
This takes a bit longer than my normal recipes, but since we’re all stuck at home, time is the one thing we all have plenty of.
In my bid to use up what’s been hanging around my cupboards I found some pearl barley. I was craving carbs and since selfish wingnuts have cleared the super market shelves of rice and pasta this made a nice change. It takes a bit longer to cook, but is worth the time.
I used chicken thighs with the bones left in, and removed the skin to make “chicken crackling” . I know this is probably not especially healthy but sometimes a little indulgence does no harm, it’s not like you’re going to eat it everyday. If you want to give it s miss, this still makes a really delicious and satisfying meal.
150 Grams Pearl barley
4 Large chicken thighs
10 Grams Dried mushrooms
100 Grams Fresh mushrooms
250 Grams Spring greens (you can use broccoli, spinach or any other green vegetables you like)
250 ml White wine
250 ml Chicken stock
Large sprig of rosemary (finely chopped)
2 Cloves of garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp Oil
Large knob of butter
Salt and pepper
Soak the dried mushrooms in a small amount of warm water
Heat the oil and butter in a pan
Roughly chop the onions and mushrooms. Add to the pan and fry until soft. Remove from the pan and set to one side
Remove the skin from the chicken, and set to one side
Add the chicken thighs to the pan and seal on both sides
Add the barley, dried mushrooms and the water they soaked in, wine and stock to the pan. Cover with a lid, bring to boil and simmer over s low heat for 30-40 minutes (check the cooking instructions on the packet of barley, and cook for the recommended time
Trim the chicken skin and flatten on a baking sheet before sprinkle with salt. Place another baking tin on top of the chicken skin to keep it flat and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees for 20-30minutes, or until golden brown
if using Spring greens, remove the stalks and roll up the leaves, cut these into 2cm strips
After 30 minutes of cooking, check on the barley, adding more water if necessary
Add the garlic, rosemary, and spring greens to the pan, cover again and cook for a further 10 minutes until the barley is tender and has a creamy consistency, and check the seasoning (a bit like a risotto)
Serve chicken and barley with shards of the chicken crackling, you can also crumble it across the dish
I make no claims that this recipe is anywhere close to being an authentic hot pot. But it was topped with finely sliced potatoes, so in my mind at least this is a hot pot.
If any one follows this blog regularly, you’ll know I hate food waste. So before I go food shopping. I always have a whiz around the fridge and cupboards to see what I can make rather than letting food spoil. That’s how this recipe came together. This doesn’t stop it being properly delicious comfort food on a frosty day. Chicken and vegetables in a creamy mustard sauce topped with a crispy potato crust, yum! Before you freak out, yes I know there is alot of cream/sour cream, but I was trying to use up left over cream. If you want be a little healthier you could halve the amount of cream and replace it with chicken stock. Just remember to reduce the sauce for a little longer so that it’s not watery.
1 Tbsp cooking oil
4 Large or 6 Small Chicken Thighs (cooked)
1 Onion (finely sliced)
2 Celery Stalks (finely sliced)
150 Grams Sweetcorn
300ml Double Cream
250ml Sour Cream
1 Tsp Grain Mustard
300 Grams Potatoes (finely sliced)
1Tbsp Melted Butter
Salt and Pepper
Heat oil in a large frying pan, and fry onion and celery until soft
Add the chicken and sweetcorn and heat through
Add the cream, sour cream, and mustard to the pan, cook for another 5 minutes until the sauce thickens a little
Check the seasoning and transfer to an oven proof dish
Evenly lay the finely sliced potatoes on top of the chicken mixture
Brush the potatoes with melted butter and sprinkle salt and pepper
Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are crispy and golden brown.
Moroccan food is amazing, and healthy to boot. I had a proper tagine pot (authentic clay pot with a cone shaped lid), for all of 3 weeks before breaking it. The good thing is that you can make in any pot or dish with a well fitting lid. I cooked my tagine on the stove top, but can bake it in the oven if you prefer.
Tagines are slow cooked stews, and can be made with a variety of meat, and vegetables. Authentic tagines often use dried fruit such as prunes or apricots to add sweetness to balance out the heat of the harissa. I didn’t have any dried fruit, but this is still delicious. This is pretty hot, if you can’t handle alot of spice use less harissa or do what it did and add a dollop of yoghurt to cool things down.
8 Small Chicken thighs
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Large carrot
1 Large onion
1 Large courgette
1 Red pepper
1 Tsp Ground cumin
2 Cloves of garlic (minced)
1-2 Tbsps Preserved lemons (I made these myself, but you can also buy them from most supermarkets
1 Tbsp Harissa Paste (Again I made this myself, but you can buy this in supermarkets)
500ml Chicken stock (I used a stock cube)
400gm Can of chickpeas
In a large pan with a lid, add the olive oil, and when hot add the chicken thighs and seal
Cut the vegetables into chunks (I like this quite rustic)
Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes
Chop the preserved lemons finely and add to the pan along with the other ingredients and stir
Put the lid on to the pot and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 45 minutes
If you like quick easy mid week dinners then check this out. An easy delicious dish that’s is good enough to crack out for company.
This can be made in advance and reheated if you fancy some weekend cooking. I usually serve with rice or crusty bread to soak up all the yummy juices this cooks in. It’s colourful, tasty and smells fantastic,
4 Large chicken thighs ( I used ones that still had the bone in, and left the skin on. But you can use the boneless skinless ones if you prefer)
100 Grams Green beans (I use frozen ones that I have defrosted)
100 Grams button mushrooms (halved)
1 Red pepper (Cut into chunks)
1 Yellow pepper (Cut into chunks)
1 Red onion (cut into quarters)
12 Black olives, (optional)
8 Cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tsp Smoked paprika
1 Tbsp White wine vinegar
2 Cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
In a baking dish, mix the olive oil and smoked paprika and put into an oven that has been preheated to 200 degrees, for 5 minutes
Add the vegetables and garlic to the dish and coat with the oil and paprika mix, and bake for 10 minutes
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper
Remove the vegetables from the oven add the white wine vinegar and stir, set the chicken thighs on top and bake for a further 25 minutes
Remove from the oven and check that chicken is fully cooked, serve when ready.