Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chicken sofrito

This dish comes from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, who suggest that you might use a butterflied chicken “if you have a wide enough pan”. That pan would be pretty wide – a 1.5kg butterflied chicken would not fit in my 28cm, shallow, cast iron dish. It might, if I removed the backbone and cooked the bird in two pieces; but the problem, as I have written here before, is that the breast is likely to become tough before the legs are tender. I used instead 6 chicken thighs, which are what my pan will accommodate. Otherwise, I stuck to Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s quantities. The amount of paprika and turmeric may seem modest, but is enough to give the dish a subtle flavour, as well as an appealing, golden red colour.

1tbsp sunflower oil
6 chicken thighs
1stp sweet paprika
1/4tsp turmeric
1/4tsp sugar
2 1/2tsp lemon juice
1 large onion, peeled and quartered (I used 3 shallots, each cut in half)
Sunflower oil, for frying
750g Charlotte potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice (I used Jerseys, scraped)
25 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Salt and black pepper

Put the oil into your dish over a medium heat, and fry the chicken, skin side down, until golden brown. Sprinkle over the paprika, turmeric, sugar, 1/3tsp of salt, and 1 1/2tbsp of lemon juice.

Turn the chicken pieces over, set the heat to low, cover, and cook for 1 hour. Check that there is just enough liquid in the pan to steam the chicken and prevent it from catching. (I find that the chicken thighs give off a generous quantity of their own liquid.)

Pour enough sunflower oil into a saucepan to come 3cm up the sides. Set the heat to medium high, and when the oil causes a small piece of bread to sizzle, add as many potatoes and garlic cloves as the oil will cover. Cook until the potatoes start to brown – the book says that this takes about 6 minutes, but in my experience it may be some time longer. Lift the potatoes and garlic from the oil with a slotted spoon, put them on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt. Then fry another batch.

After the hour is up, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. Stir the fried potatoes into the pan, and put back the chicken on top. Cover again, and cook for 30 minutes.

Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice before serving.

The potatoes, with flavours both from the frying and from the spiced chicken juices, are gorgeous.

Spatchcocked chicken

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Pork and chorizo salad

The flavour of raw spring onions and red onions in salad is often too harsh, I find. My solution is to expunge some of their acidity with boiling water. Slice them, put them in a bowl, pour the water over them, leave for 30 minutes, give them a squeeze in the water, and drain.

If you find that this treatment leaves them too soft for your taste, try soaking them in cold water instead.

Serves 3 to 4

3 slices of belly pork
2 red onions or a bunch of spring onions, treated as above
3 red peppers, turned under a grill on a low setting until blackened, then peeled and sliced (Grilled peppers)
450g Jersey Royal or other new potatoes, scraped and, if necessary, cut into even pieces
1 clove garlic
Splash of olive oil
3 cooking chorizos, sliced
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1tbsp white or red wine vinegar
1/2tsp Dijon mustard
1/6tsp honey
Salt, pepper
2tbsp sunflower oil
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Cover the belly pork with water in a heavy pan, bring to a simmer, and cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours, until very tender. Remove the fatty layer, and shred the meat.

Simmer the potatoes and the garlic clove (unpeeled) in salted water, until tender.

Put the oil in a heavy pan over a gentle heat, and fry the chorizos. Tip in the chickpeas, and cook until their water has evaporated and they are coated with the chorizos’ paprika-spiked oil.

In a large bowl, mix the vinegar, mustard, and honey, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze the poached garlic from its husk, and mash it in. Whisk in the oils.

Slice the potatoes, and mix them with the vinaigrette in the bowl while still hot. Stir through the pork, onion, peppers, and chorizos and chickpeas.

Serve with mayonnnaise.