Spanish Chicken

Here is my recipe for Spanish Chicken – this is not an underhand reference to some gorgeous youth but a really very tasty recipe.

Chicken thigh fillets  – 2 per person if they’re a reasonable size

Potatoes – maris piper or King Eddies work nicely

Red and Yellow peppers – one or two per person
An aubergine – does nicely for two (although I know a few who like to hog the whole thing for themselves….)

Couple of medium sized red onions OR a handful of shallots
shallots boiling on fanny and brenda's hob

A 200g chorizo sausage

Olive oil, sea salt, freshly milled black pepper, as much or as little garlic and either fresh green chilli or dried chilli flakes as you like, couple of lemons and maybe a lime and some paprika  (- I used smoked paprika )

OK so here goes……

Boil a kettle full of water.

Take some potatoes (the amount depending on how many you’re feeding but 8 seemed to be more than enough for two folks……..) and peel casually – no need for perfection as I rather like the slightly earthier taste you get by leaving small areas with skin remaining but this really is down to personal taste. Chop spud into pieces about the same size as a medium-size tub of Vaseline. By now your kettle should have boiled so you’ve made a bit of a start on the process of par-boiling the spuds which should take about 15 mins.

While that’s happening, peel your onions which, if red and medium size, will need quartering. Leave the root intact so your quarters don’t fall apart (and for God’s sake if there are any Australians around, this root has nothing to do with your husband or toyboy). Frankly, slightly easier with shallots which can be left whole but , they are also smaller and fiddlier to peel so you choose. Plop these into your potatoes for the last 5-10 mins of cooking just to soften a bit.

aubergines make wonderful vegetables in dishes like this

Although everyone says salt your aubergine, you can if you want but I challenge anyone to taste the difference once the thing has been roasted at nearly 200 degrees centigrade for something over an hour – I’d like to see flubbalump  Fanny retain any water after that . So, do it if you like, but probably not worth it. Instead, just slice lengthways into halves and then again into quarters (I did it again into eighths but there’ll be just too many “people whose first language  is not English” reading this who won’t be able to say that so let’s just keep it simple). I then slice them again across, in the middle. (So, your quarter lengths then give you 8 pieces – or in my case, 16)

Likewise, chop up your peppers into strips (get 6 to 8 out of each pepper, depending on size) -  chop out the green stem and get rid of little seeds first – duh!

Now get your chorizo and slice it up (think of WHATEEEEVVVVER you like while you do it..) into bits about one cm wide…..

Finally, before the assemblage at any rate, take around 30-50ml olive oil and squeeze your lemons, tipping the juice into the olive oil and then add your chillies (either sliced, if fresh, or some flakes, if dried), squish the garlic from your crusher straight into the oil/juice, then add good couple of pinches of sea salt, couple of shakes of paprika and black pepper. Stir this lot altogether with a fork.

this is a wondefully flavoursome and colourful dish

Now wrap each piece of chicken round a red/yellow pepper slice (the veggie in the middle helps keep it moist plus having the chicken in a sort of cylinder rather than just flat also helps it from drying out too much. Place your chicken pieces into your roasting dish then basically cram your (hot!) potatoes, onion quarters/shallots (whichever), rest of the pepper slices, aubergines and chorizo slices in together – arranging reasonably artistically so you get colour variations although you can adjust this half way through cooking.

arrange your ingredients for a colourful look

Pour your oil/juice melange evenly all over then slide the whole thing into you fan-assisted oven at around 190. You’ll know your own oven, ours isn’t great as it tends to burn things on top but even if you’ve got an Aga (really???!!!) you’ll definitely want to look at it after about half an hour and tumble everything about a bit so that if things are getting a bit brown/black on top, you can bring some of the components from below which are not getting so much heat at this stage, up to the surface. However, you really shouldn’t mind any nice crispy brown/black edges as this adds to the look and taste, trust me. After a total of an hour, I like to be a touch braver with those brown edges so I leave it maybe an hour and ten mins…. you should take the roasting dish out and you will find this gorgeous sizzling one-pot dinner, with the spuds just starting to roast, the aubergine gooey with some charred edges, some nice tender peppers (also nice dark edges)and your chicken cooked but still juicy enough.

delicious one pot dinner

The whole thing will be immensely spicy (if you do it like me), soft but crunchy and oozing with red-paprika-stained olive oil and chorizo which will also have some soft and some crispy bits. Satisfying and cheering, just what you want during a British winter and when you’ve got Fanny as a dining companion.

delicious one pot dinner

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Even people of my prodigious talent sometimes go wrong

Yes quite my dears I know it’s hard to believe. I was handed a recipe by Fanny who suggested that we might like to try it. It involved a leg of lamb, and as I have subsequently learnt, you either roast it fast and hot and have some delicious pink meat if you want it that way, or you cook it long and risk dry grey meat as the end result. Despite following the recipe to its fullest, Fanny and I ate part of a very dreary leg the other day and it was desperately miserable. Staring at Fanny as she chews is not a fabulous experience at the best of times  I can tell you.

An experience like this is the learning curve for any budding cook, but remember disappointment should make one strive to kick out and achieve more! Kicked out I did and in the process I  caught Fanny on the shin which did not please her one iota. I wish I had referenced Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s book on Meat beforehand because I certainly turned to it in the aftermath! In this sizeable tome he rightly states just how dry a leg of lamb can be in a long bake. This man knows what he is talking about! Thus, having agreed with his findings,  I decree that this an excellent book and suggest you get a copy if you’re serious about cooking meat well.

cook well knowing your meat

meat – learn about it and cook well

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Brenda doing her thing this afternoon…

So there I was having a crafty fag (even though we’ve been banned from smoking dans la maison) this afternoon and in walks Brenda, tutting again. Nothing was said and I said through clenched teeth just to be polite “Oh hello luvvie do you want a hand with that?” as brightly as I could muster,’cos I could see she was about to start on this evening’s endeavour. It always worries me as I have to eat it too so, bless her, unless I’ve actually had a hand in the preparation I have to pretend to like it – plus I have to wash up by myself, which I loathe….

I enjoined proceedings at the point where she was murdering a couple of lemons and, after much tedious chopping and polite conversation, we assembled this cumin lamb thing and in to the oven  it went – anyway the less said about it the better as five hours later with the anticipation properly ramped up, having got a plate of it each, we stared blankly at one another and declared it fit only for making shepherds pie. . . .  Guess who will end up doing that?  Hmm, can’t really blame the old dear for that one, maybe it’s just because I really only prefer a nice little tender fresh pink chop, rather than a big sweaty, hoary old leg….   many of you, I suspect, will be with me on this one…..


Have a lovely weekend……

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Imagine how you’d feel!

annoyed lemon

So there I was squashing down these half cut lemons on to the squeezer when it occurred to me that actually if I was squashed on a squeezer and had my innards pulverized for somebody else’s delicious recipe I think I’d be really rather irritated. Sorry but I do. From the other side of the kitchen where she was reading the paper between fags, Fanny showed no sympathy for the lemon whatsoever. I, having been the murderer in this case, have to say that for a fleeting moment , felt immediate remorse. However it was all for the good and as always, I’m right about that. BG

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We don't do "slumming it", which is awfully bad English but there we go. Exquisite food for people who appreciate the better things in life.