Sunday, 3 June 2018

Chicken and Bacon One Pot

Chicken and Bacon, Summer one Pot

This started out with half a pack of streaky bacon staring at me from the back of the fridge, daring me to use it before it went out of date. The idea of a stew/casserole of Chicken with smoky bacon seems overwhelmingly French but I could be wrong

The smokey-ness along with juicy fibres of chicken, with a very liquid sauce give the dish a lot of depth but retains it lightness due to the use of white wine instead of red and keeping the sauce very thin.

Taste is not compromised on bit with this dish and what makes it so brilliant is the simplicity of the ingredients and indeed the process

So if you’ve got a few people to feed on a warm afternoon, you can set this going and kick back with a glass or two whilst the magic bubbles away in the pan

8 Chicken Thighs
8 Rashers of smoked streaky bacon, chopped
3 small onions, chopped
1 Large Carrot diced
3 Cloves of Garlic finely chopped
1 Tbsp of Tomato Puree
6 Sage leaves finely chopped
2 Bay leaves
150ml dry white wine
600ml Chicken Stock

1 Large, flame proof, casserole dish

Start by frying the bacon for a 3 to 4 mins in the casserole dish, until the fat starts to melt but not long enough for the bacon to crisp, then remove from the pot and place to one side

Now fry the chicken in the pot, in batches until brown, remove from the pot and put with the bacon making sure you season with salt and pepper

Fry the onions in the pot for a couple of mins, season, then place the lid on, on a low heat for 5 mins, the onions should be soft and taking on the flavours already in the pot

Turn up the heat, remove the lid and add the garlic, fry for 1 min

Add the tomato puree, stir in and cook for a couple of mins

Add the Sage and Bay leaves followed by the carrots, stir and cook for a couple of mins

With the heat still high pour in the wine, then using a wooden spoon , deglaze the pan, taking care to get all of the bits stuck to the bottom of the pot incorporated into the liquid in the pan. Keep bubbling away until the wine has reduced to a very thick sauce.

Now add the chicken stock, stirring to combine well and bring to the boil

Add the chicken and bacon back into the pot, bring back to the boil, reduce to a simmer.

Place the lid so it’s almost fully on, leave a little gap for the steam to escape

Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally for 2 hrs, if at any point it looks dry, add some water and stir into the sauce

Season to taste and serve with, bread, greens, new potatoes , your choice really

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Beef with Ginger and Spring Onions

Beef with Ginger and Spring Onions – Serves 2

You know it’s hard when you lead a high-octane lifestyle such as mine to find the time to write a blog which nobody reads, which is a roundabout way of saying it’s been an age since I last posted anything

Like Chinese? Of course, you do, well unless you’re the Dali lama, in which case it’s probably not your go to option when you’ve had hard day meeting world leaders and poking the eye of Xi Jinping.

I’m cooking this loads at the moment, purely because I Love it. Warm spicing from the ginger, rich beefy but sweet sauce, freshness from the spring onions and steak, did I mention steak


1 Medium size steak (Fillet or Rib eye are best but rump or sirloin will do) Sliced thinly, against the grain
1 Large Brown/White onion cut into wedges
4 Spring onions cleaned and roughly chopped
2 Garlic Cloves finely chopped
1  4cm long piece of Ginger pealed and very finely sliced (that’s a rough guide, doesn’t have to be 4cm exactly)

200 ml beef stock (I use Knorr touch of taste, that comes in a bottle, that way you can make up as much or as little as you need)
1 Tsp Sugar
1 ½  Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine (Sherry will do but not as good)
 1 Tsp Cornflour

Mix all the sauce ingredients, except the cornflour together, wise to have a little taste, so it suits you

In a small bowl put the cornflour and add 1 tsp of the sauce mix, stir and repeat until you get a very thin and smooth paste, then stir into the remaining sauce mix

In a very hot Wok sear the beef in batches, use about 1 tsp of oil per batch and give it a couple a twists of black pepper, not strictly Chinese but I think this improves the flavour, fry until brown, remove the beef from the pan and put to one side – I would cook for no more than 1 min per batch

Fry the onions in the Wok, with another tsp of of oil, if it looks dry add a splash of water this will loosen things but without extra oil

When the onions are brown and softened slightly, add the garlic and ginger fry for a min

Stir again the sauce and add the sauce to the wok, bring to boiling point then simmer with a lid on, if your wok has one, for 10 mins, stirring every couple of mins

Add the spring onions, simmer for another min

Add the beef and stir through simmer for about 30 seconds as the beef is already cooked

That’s it, good to go – serve with rice

Friday, 4 March 2016

Vietnamese Beef and Lemongrass

This particular dish has served me well on many occasions, not least because it involves a little prep and lot of sitting in the oven whilst you do whatever it is you do whilst you’re whiling away an afternoon

Vietnamese, if I’m honest is not a cuisine I’m overly familiar with, having only been to one Vietnamese restaurant on the edge of London’s china town, which wasn’t all that really
The flavours meld beautify together and reminds me of Thai Chilli beef with basil only different, if that makes sense

The lemongrass lends that slightly citrusy note and marries perfectly with the aniseed given off by the Star Anise. Chilli, Lime and Fish sauce are distinctly Thai, hence the previous comment that it tastes similar to a well visited Thai dish I often cook
But the beef, oh the beef! Braising steak when cooked slowly retains its texture but it really does fall apart and when combined with the aromatic flavours on offer paired with simple steamed rice is a delight

Braising steak 600g , diced

shallots 4 finely sliced
lemongrass 3 stalks  finely chop two of these removing the tough outer leaves
garlic 2 cloves  crushed
red chillies 2 chopped
kaffir lime leaves 3
star anise 2
vegetable stock 400ml
fish sauce 1 tbsp
lime 1 Juiced


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
In a large flameproof casserole dish (needs a lid as well for later on in the process) , brown the steak in a little oil, in batches as you need it to brown not stew, remove each batch as its browned. Try adding a little black pepper to each batch as you go, it adds a level of flavour.
Fry the shallots, garlic, chopped lemon grass and chilli for a minute or two, this will produce quite a pungent and eye watering odour so don’t stand over the dish for too long

Add the lime leaves, star anise and return the beef, finally add the stock and fish sauce.
Cover with a lid and place in the oven 1.5 to 2 hours, come back every 30 mins or so to check the liquid if its too dry add enough water to loosen it . If you do have to add water keep coming back every 15 mins or so to check the liquid level. Really, when finished you should have some liquid left to act as a sauce.

Before you’re ready to serve stir through the lime juice and taste, it should be fragrant, slightly sour and spicy.

You can also chuck loads of coriander at it if all the diners like it, if not just plonk a bowl full on the table
Serve with steamed rice and off you go.