Tag Archive for Chicken

Caesar salad

Ceasar salad is another one of those classic salads. They become classic because the ingredients complement each other perfectly: crisp and fresh lettuce, a tangy dressing with the savoury kick of parmesan, soft and rich cooked eggs and salty bacon. For me that’s enough, but crunchy croûtons and hearty salty anchovies fillets also are part of the classic recipe.
Add a few bits of smoked or grilled chicken breast and a few slices of crusty sour dough bread and you have a lovely lunch or dinner.

Caesar Salad

Ceasar salad (4 servings)
Adapted from “Marie Claire de ultieme keuken – Michele Cranston”

1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg
125 ml olive oil
3 tbsp grated parmesan
salt and pepper

4 eggs
4 tbsp olive oil
8 slices bacon
3 thick slices of sourdough bread
2 heads romaine lettuce
4 anchovies fillets, chopped (if you don’t like anchovies, leave them out, in a salad they can be quite punchy)

Whisk together the dijon mustard, lemon juice and egg. Add the olive oil gradually while whisking. Stir in the parmesan. Taste and season with salt and pepper
Boil the eggs, I like them soft cooked (place them in hot water, bring to the boil, turn down and cook for 6 minutes, then dunk into cold water). Peel and quarter.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Cook the bacon until browned and crisp, set aside. Slice the bread into cubes. Add to the olive oil (that now has a nice baconny flavour) and fry until golden and crisp.
Slice the romaine lettuce. Place on a serving platter or in a salad bowl. Add the dressing and the chopped anchovies, mix well (in this way the lettuce is coated in dressing). Arrange the eggs, bacon and croûtons on top. Serve immediately. When you make this salad in advance, prepare everything, but mix it only just before serving.
When you make this salad for 2, make the whole batch of dressing, since it is quite difficult to make half a batch. It is really too much for a salad for 2, but can be kept a few days in the fridge.

Coq au Vin

Coq au vin (literally rooster with wine) is one of the most famous dishes of France. And with all traditional and popular dishes, there are many recipes available, good and bad, fast and extensive. This is my version, which I love to cook and eat on cold winter nights. I like to serve my coq au vin with rice, this is not very traditional, but works perfect to absorb all the delicious juices. You can also serve it with bread, which is more traditional. Other less traditional things that I do are: using only legs or thighs, not marinating the chicken, not binding the sauce and adding all the accompaniments (shallots, bacon, mushrooms) already at the beginning of the stewing time.

Some people like to remove the skin from the chicken, but I just leave it on as it protects the meat and gives extra flavour. If you don’t like skin, remove it before browning the chicken and fry it in a small pan with a little coconut oil. With a sprinkling of salt this is a delicious appetizer. Or remove it after cooking and give it to someone who does like skin. I think throwing it away is a waste.

Depending on the wine you use the chicken will be more deep red or more purple, but it should be a decent wine and be quite robust for a good result. Burgundy is the traditional choice, but a Shiraz, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon is also nice.

Coq au Vin

Coq au vin (2 generous servings)

2 chicken legs or 4 chicken thighs (with bone)
200 g bacon, in lardons
200 g small shallots, peeled but left whole
150 g small mushrooms, whole (or quarter larger muhsrooms)
1 bay leave, few sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper
1/2 bottle of wine

Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy based pan with lid suitable for stewing.
Fry the bacon until the fat is rendered out and the bacon is brown and crisp. Take out of the pan and set aside.
Make sure the pan is nice and hot again and add the chicken. Brown on all sides. Add the shallots and mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes. Add the bacon back in, together with the bay leave, thyme and some pepper (no salt, the bacon is salty). Add the wine, cover the pan and stew for about 1 hour. Chicken thighs are smaller so will be ready earlier, legs will take a little longer. Check for seasoning and serve immediately.
Alternatively you can leave out the mushrooms at the beginning and fry them in a separate pan just before serving.

Club sandwich

The club sandwich is one of the real classics, containing flavours that complement each other perfectly. It is usually made with two layers of filling between three slices of white bread (sometimes toasted), sliced diagonal to form two triangles and pinned with a cocktail stick to prevent falling apart. I make my variant with a multigrain demi-baguette to make it a bit more substantial as a diner sandwich.

Classic accompaniments for sandwiches are chips, soup, coleslaw, pasta salad, fruit yoghurt or a baked goodie like a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie. Because the sandwich alone is already quite a substantial meal I usually choose a soup, coleslaw, another vegetable salad or some fruit yoghurt to prevent the feeling of eating ‘just’ a sandwich for diner, but not upping the calories/fat/sugar content too much.

Club sandwich

1 multigrain demi-baguette
3 slices of bacon
1/2 chicken breast
pepper (optional: herbs and spices of choice)
1 slice of cheese
a few little gem leaves or other lettuce (enough to cover the baguette generously)
a few slices of tomato
2 gherkins, slices thinly (enough to just cover the baguette)
1 tbsp mayonnaise

Fry the bacon until crisp. In the remaining fat, fry the chicken until cooked. I think the flavour of the bacon fat together with some pepper is enough to season the chicken, but of course you can add all sorts of herbs and spices.
Slice the baguette in two. Divide the mayonnaise over both halves and spread it out. Then start layering the ingredients on the bottom halve. I start with the lettuce, then the tomato, then the gherkins, then the chicken, then the bacon and then the cheese. Top off with the other baguette halve. It is the tastiest when you divide the ingredients in such way over the sandwich that you have a little of everything in each mouthful, for example by slicing the chicken and cheese in longish strips.
Serve immediately or wrap tightly in cling film to eat in a few hours. The bread will get a bit soggy when you make the sandwich in advance, so if you don’t like soggy bread, choose another sandwich to make in advance.

Winter salad with spicy red cabbage and chicken

This delicious salad comes from one of my favourite cooking shows: Dagelijkse Kost (on the Belgian television). Chef Jeroen Meus cooks something every day and always has lots of variation. This dish shows that salad doesn’t have to be the same old lettuce over and over again, that it can be a meal in itself and that it is suitable for all seasons. Red cabbage is one of my favourite seasonal vegetables and the warming spices make this dish perfect for wintery days. The list of ingredients seems long, but the process to cook the dish is very easy, so don’t let the ingredients withhold you from making this delicious dish!

Red Cabbage Salad

Winter salad with spicy red cabbage and chicken (2 servings)
From Jeroen Meus – Dagelijkse kost

1⁄4 red cabbage
1⁄2 orange
75 g brown sugar
375 ml red wine
100 ml red wine vinegar
1 clove
2 juniper berry
1⁄2 star anise
1⁄2 cinnamon stick
1⁄2 small red chilli
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic

1 chicken breast
water cress (I used 1 bag/75 g)
1⁄2 orange
20 g walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
15 g fresh ginger
1 1⁄2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp honey
1⁄2 tbsp mustard
pinch of chicken spices
splash of sesame oil
50 ml vegetable oil
knob of butter
pepper and salt

Heat the red wine and the red wine vinegar together until barely simmering. Add the sugar, clove, star anise, cinnamon and bay leaves. Crush the juniper berry, add to the marinade. Also add the chilli and the zest of halve an orange.
Slice the red cabbage very finely. If you have one, use a mandolin. Add to the marinade, cover the pan with a lid. Leave to cool, then place in the fridge. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but preferably longer.
When finishing the dish, start with peeling and slicing the orange. Rinse the water cress (not necessary when buying pre-washed) and remove the big stalks. Leave to drain. Take the red cabbage from the fridge (cold foods are less tasty).
For the dressing, mix the honey, mustard and sesame oil together with a whisk. Add the neutral oil gradually until a dressing has formed. Add the sesame seeds and grate in the ginger. Taste and season with a little bit of red wine vinegar, pepper and salt to taste.
Slice the chicken into strips. Melt the butter in a skillet. Fry the chicken until golden in the butter. When cooked, season with pepper and chicken spices.
Pile a mount of cabbage on a big plate (leave it to leak out a little bit, too much marinade will drown the plate). Mix the watercress and orange segments with the dressing. Pile on top of the cabbage. Then divide the warm chicken strips over the plates, sprinkle with the walnuts and drizzle the remaining dressing on top. Serve immediately.

Chicken wraps with vegetables and garlic-yoghurt dressing

There are days you are in a hurry and do not have time to make an elaborate evening meal. Often I make a familiar fast recipe on those days. But sometimes you just want something else…. So sometimes I experiment even though I need to be fast. As you will understand, sometimes this goes horribly wrong and you end up with a dish that failed miserably. But sometimes it does work out, and you end up with something delicious. That was the case with this wraps. They are fast, filling and healthy, exactly what I wanted, and it matched what I wanted to make/fancied for dinner.

The spices I used together resembled shoarma, but with more depth of flavour. And of course by using chicken fillets and cutting them yourself you bypass using the rubbish meat that is often used for shoarma. By roasting the paprika vigorously it gets slightly black and smoky on the outside, but is still nice and crisp and raw inside. I always find that paprika should either be raw or cooked completely, the soggy-crunchy stuff in between I just don’t like. By heating the chicken a little bit, it gets more flavour and it will blend in better with the paprika and chicken, because it is the same temperature. The garlic-yoghurt dressing is (in some variations) my standard creamy dressing that I use for everything that needs a creamy dressing, like potato salad, a dip for raw vegetables, a dip for hasselback potatoes, etc.

Chicken wraps with vegetables and garlic-yoghurt dressing (4 wraps)

2 chicken fillets, in strips (no bone, no skin)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chicken seasoning mix (mine is with salt)
pinch of chili powder
1/2 bouillon cube, crumbled (beef)
1 tsp sambal badjak
1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/3 cucumber, cubes
1 red paprika, strips
4 wraps

4 tbsp greek yoghurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise (you can also swap the yoghurt and mayonnaise for creme fraiche)
1 small clove of garlic, pureed
salt and pepper to taste
splash of Worcestershire sauce
splash of lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder

For the chicken, heat the vegetable oil and add the chicken. Cook until brown, then turn down the heat to cook the chicken completely through. Meanwhile, add the spices and mix well. Turn of the heat and add the cucumber cubes.
For the paprika, heat a pan until very hot, grill the praprika until the outside is slightly black, but the inside still quite raw. Add to the chicken and cucumber.
For the sauce, mix everything together and check for seasoning.
Prepare the wraps as stated on the package. Smear some sauce on the wrap, add the chicken-cucumber-paprika filling, fold and enjoy.

Courgette ribbons with goats cheese, lemon and pine nuts

A very fresh and light dish. To add some earthiness, I served it with quinoa and smoked chicken. Also great for when you are in a hurry, but still want a nice and healthy meal: this dish can be prepared in 15 minutes.

I like the taste and texture of raw courgette, but it is also possible to cook the courgette for a minute, or to grill it.

Courgette ribbons with goats cheese, lemon and pine nuts

Courgette ribbons with goats cheese, lemon and pine nuts (2 servings)

1 courgette, in ribbons or thin slices
100 gram fresh soft goats cheese, crumbled
juice of 1 lemon
40 gram pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: a drizzle of olive oil

Mix everything together. Serve at room temperature.
Serve with quinoa cooked in stock, and smoked chicken.

Note: to make this recipe truly vegetarian, make sure you use a goats cheese that is suitable for vegetarians (i.e. does not contain animal derived rennet).

Moroccan chicken

For some reason there is not much to find about Arabic food, or at least not in the places I check out regularly. Chicken tajine is the most often mentioned dish, but most of the time I don’t like the recipes because they are often very plain or sickly sweet. But this recipe isn’t! It has a nice balance between the spices and the sweetness and is nice and savoury. With the tajine I served naan (because I had it left, but it is really a nice accompaniment), couscous and some broad beans and mangetouts. The dish is not that rich in vegetables so to have some as a side-dish is a good idea.

Moroccan Chicken

I don’t like broad beans at all, usually they are tough, fibery, bitter and to make them edible you need to pod them double: first the outer shell and then the whitish layer around the beans. But the broad beans from my allotment are lovely! Removing the outer pods does takes some time, but it is really worth it. Because we don’t let them get too big, the whitish layer around is not tough at all and they taste so incredibly fresh! It is important not to overcook them, put them in a pan with a small layer of water, bring to the boil and drain immediately, or throw in a frying pan with some butter or olive oil, for 30 seconds. Dress with some butter or olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Lovely!

Broad Beans

Moroccan chicken with apricots, almonds and chickpeas (2 servings + some leftovers)
Slightly adapted from The Kitchn

2 chicken legs
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb piece ginger root, minced
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chicken stock (or 1 stock cube + 1 cup of water)
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Accompaniments: naan bread, couscous (cooked with stock and fluffed with a bit of butter), broad beans

Heat some oil in a large pan and place the chicken legs in there. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Sauté the onions and carrots with some salt until soft and slightly caramelized, then add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin and cinnamon. Add the stock, scrape the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the apricots, bring everything to the boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat and stew for about an hour.
Take out the chicken. Add the honey, almonds and chickpeas to the pan and mix with the veggies and apricots. Increase the heat, bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened slightly. Check for seasoning, add some salt and/or pepper when necessary. Serve the chicken and the sauce with accompaniments.

Paella with chorizo and chicken

Paella is a versatile dish, easy to prepare in many different variations. Especially on colder nights I love this warming and filling dish, it is real comfort food! I served it with some cucumber sticks for extra vegetables and to counterbalance the spice in the rice.

Because of the chorizo, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and cumin this dish has a warm, deep and spicy flavour. The smoked paprika gives it a hint of smokiness, it is really worth looking for because it can enhance the flavour of not only this paella, but of many dishes. In Groningen you can get it at the herb stand on the market, but if you cannot find it anywhere use ordinary paprika instead… take care to use a nice one from a toko or something, because the stuff you get at the supermarket just tastes like bitter dust.

Paella with Chicken and Chorizo

Paella with chorizo and chicken (2 servings)

150 gram paella or risotto rice (I used arborio)
100 gram chorizo, diced (I used the already cooked variety, because cooking chorizo is not available around here)
2 chicken thighs
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red paprika (or yellow or orange), diced
olive oil
1 tin tomatoes
1 stock cube
2 bay leaves
2-3 tsp smoky paprika powder (depending on the strength/your preferences)
1/2 tsp cumin
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper

Heat some olive oil in a heavy, big pan. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent, then add the chorizo, garlic and paprika. After frying a bit, add the rice, paprika powder, cumin and cayenne. This should be fried until the rice is coated with oil/chorizo fat and the spices are fragrant. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, stock cube and chicken, and cook in a lidded pan on low heat until the rice and chicken are cooked. Stir regularly and add some extra water when the mixture is looking too dry. When cooked, set the rice aside and take out the chicken. Heat some oil in a frying pan until quite hot, put the chicken in here skin side down (this will splatter!). Cook until it has a nice, crispy skin. Season the rice with salt, pepper and cayenne if necessary.
This dish can be made in advance, then leave the chicken in the rice and fry it only when serving, reheat the rice on low heat with a bit of extra water.

Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a classic, hearty and warming dish, a regional speciality of the Languedoc (France) consisting of meat and white beans. Its more autumn/winter than summer food, but when I cooked it, the weather was definitely not summery and I could use something warming. Lets hope that at the moment of posting this, its more like summer than it is now.

Classical cassoulet is very serious business, there are important requirements for cooking cassoulet. There are three French towns that claim to have the original recipe: Castelnaudary makes it with confit d’oie (goose), pork shoulder, sausage and pork rind; Carcassonne with partridge and lamb; Toulouse with confit de canard (duck) and Toulouse sausage. Cassoulet is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides, which of course is the only vessel to make cassoulet in. The origin of the beans and the water that is used, is very important as well, as is the cooking method (in a wood food fired oven, with specific wood).

And of course I made my own version of cassoulet. I used some soup pieces of chicken to make my own stock fresh and tasty stock, and used a lot of that to reduce down while cooking the beans in it. I also used borlotti beans instead of white beans. And I added some bacon, to give de stew a more hearty and savoury flavour.

Often beans from a tin are quite mushy and slimy, and of course they are already completely cooked, so you cannot let them stew any more. So I used dried bean for this dish, which was a first for me. Actually it worked really well, you do need to soak them, but once you put them in the water you don’t have to do anything but wait. The most notable was that the beans were much more firm than tinned beans, even when cooked through/stewed for a long time. It gave the dish a lot more texture, and a more filling feeling.

Oh, and if you’re making this, which you certainly should do, make a bit more: it keeps well and the flavours will be even better the next day.

Cassoulet

Cassoulet (2-4 persons)

Bouillon
1 kg soup chicken (bone-in, whole or pieces)
1 onion, unpeeled, big chunks
3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled, crushed
3 carrots, big chunks
4 stalks of celery, big chunks
1 leek, washed, big chunks
1 tsp pepper corns
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
3L water

Cassoulet
250 g beans (white or borlotti), soaked overnight (8-12 hours) in cold water, and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, minced finely
100g bacon, in lardons
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
5 cloves
the bouillon
the soup chicken, flaked in pieces; bones, skin and sinews discarded
salt and pepper
good extra vergine olive oil

Start with making the bouillon. Put all the ingredients in a big pot an put on a very low heat. Leave it there for at least 4 hours, to infuse all the flavours into the water. Leave to cool for at least an hour with the chicken still in there, to keep it nice and moist. Take out the chicken, flake it into pieces, discard bones, skin and sinewy bits. Pour the bouillon through a sieve, pushing out the liquid from the vegetables (but not so much that you press through vegetable mash). Set aside 1/3 of the bouillon for other purposes (risotto!). Don’t add salt at this moment, that will make the skins of the beans tough when cooking the cassoulet.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or other suitable stewing pan). Add the onion, fry until translucent. Add the bacon, fry a bit more. Then add the beans and garlic (in this way it will not burn), toast for a while. Then add a couple of ladles full of bouillon, the bay leaves, cloves and thyme, and let it bubble away. Check the cooking time of your beans, mine was 1-1,5 hours. Let the bouillon evaporate, but don’t let the beans get dry! So every 15 minutes or so, add a couple ladles of bouillon again. After 1,5 hours this will make a lovely full-bodied sauce and your beans will be nice and tender. Add in the chicken and heat it through, and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, drizzled with good olive oil (some chopped parsley would be nice as well) and accompany with a nice red wine. Cassoulet is a meal on its own, but if you want, you can accompany it with some nice crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Pasta with tomato and chicken

This dish is fast, easy, fresh, tasty and healthy. It is perfect for a weeknight dinner on a sunny day, or on a day you want to remind yourself of sun and holiday. Important with simple dishes like these is the use of good ingredients, because you will taste everything. So go for the best pasta, the best chicken, the nicest tomatoes, the nicest olive oil and the best parmesan cheese. I found out that the parmesan I bought at the cheese-monger is not only more tasty, but it is also cheaper and keeps better than the cheese I bought previously from the supermarket. So now I can buy it and use it bit by bit without worrying about the cheese spoiling after a few days!

Pasta with Chicken and Tomato

Pasta with tomato and chicken (2 servings)

150 gram farfalle or penne
1 chicken breast
300 gram small tomatoes, cut in halve
olive oil
salt, pepper
parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta al dente. Meanwhile cook the chicken breast: heat a frying pan with a little olive oil, fry on high heat until brown and crisp on the outside. Season with salt and pepper. Cook further on low heat with a lid on the pan. Take the chicken breast from the frying pan, slice or cube. Fry the drained pasta on high heat in the frying pan used for the chicken (don’t clean!), add a little more olive oil, some salt and pepper, the chicken and the tomatoes. Fry only slightly longer to warm up the tomatoes a little. Put on a plate, grate some parmesan over everything and enjoy.