Friday, October 31, 2014

Chicken with paprika

This is a very simple dish, which can go wrong if the ingredients exude too much liquid. The key is putting on the lid of the pan and taking it off again as required. Serves 2.

Oil for frying
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into fork-sized chunks
100g chestnut mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1tbsp paprika
1tsp caraway seeds
1/3tsp salt
2 chicken supremes, cut into fork-sized chunks
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
150ml sour cream or crème fraiche

Warm a couple of tbsps of oil in a heavy pan, throw in the pepper and mushrooms, cover, and cook over a gentle heat, stirring regularly. Both vegetables should exude some liquid.

After 10 to 15 minutes, when the peppers are starting to soften, add all the rest of the ingredients, and cook over a moderate heat with the pan uncovered, again stirring regularly. The chicken and onions may disgorge a good deal of water, most of which you want to evaporate. The chicken should cook through in 15 minutes or so.

Pour in the cream, and let it bubble and thicken. (I find that factory-produced crème fraiche tends to split. In France, I buy crème fraiche fermière, which never splits.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Steeping coffee revisited

A while ago on here, I wrote that my preferred way to prepare coffee was to use a lot of it, but to steep it only briefly. After the four minutes of steeping that many people recommend, coffee can be bitter, I find.

Since I started using my Hario grinder, I've realised that I need to refine these rules. It all depends on how course is the ground. Most pre-ground coffee you buy is fine, and imparts the best part of its flavour very rapidly. Coarser grounds require lengthier steeping - but not four minutes. About 90 seconds should do it.