Friday, March 25, 2016

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Pepper

From a Halal butcher I like to buy chickens, cut off their wings and legs with thighs for curries, then cut away the lower carcass to leave the breasts on the bone for roasting and easy carving. Here is an interesting example of a way to roast the breast or a whole chicken.


You will need:
Milled black pepper

Score the skin on a chicken breast in a baking pan and pour over some lemon juice, rubbing it in.
Now shake over some salt and grind over a lot of milled black pepper.
Allow this to marinade overnight. Then scoop up any lemon juice in the baking pan and spoon it over the bird. Add more black pepper (it is surprising how much pepper you can add to the chicken without overpowering the dish).
Roast the bird in the usual way (1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours at around 180), having added to the roasting pan potatoes that have been boiled for 10 minutes, drained, and coated with oil, pepper and salt.
Make gravy with the juices left in the pan by placing it over heat, adding some flour, stirring it around, and adding water, or stock made with a cube dissolved in hot water.
 That’s it. Simple.


Ordinary and Sweet Potato Soup

In market stalls it is the custom now to also be offered bowls of a fruit or vegetable for £1 a time. This was done, I believe, for foreigners not conversant with our currency – just to make it easy for them, and for us. Rather like those supermarket offers of three for the price of two, you find yourself buying more than actually needed. So it was with this dish. I only wanted a few sweet potatoes for an experimental dish and had some left over. As there is usually a supply of ordinary potatoes in the kitchen, and a winter soup finished and one to make, I combined these different types of potato for the dish.


You will need:
Ordinary potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Stock cubes
Salt and pepper

Preferably in a pressure cooker, put a large lump of butter and some chopped onion. Cook the onion slowly until it becomes transparent.
Now add sweet and ordinary potatoes, chopped into smallish pieces, and a chopped clove or two of garlic. Stir. Add pepper and salt and a stock cube or two..
Now add water to make the soup, the amount depending on quantities of vegetables used. Add a splash of vinegar.
Pressure cook the soup (about 15 minutes will do) or boil it until the vegetables are soft. Test for the salt content – the adjustment being vital to success. You might even think of adding another stock cube (I favour beef cubes).
The soup can be eaten in its chunky form, put through a liquidiser, or started chunky and then blended into a smoother, creamy soup.
So it is pretty simple to make.
A note on pressure cookers: They are very safe. Buy a large one. They save cooking time and gas or electricity. In winter they reduce the amount of steam given off when boiling food, thus reducing condensation. And they seem to lock in the taste of the dish. We even had a huge, ribbed one with a dial on the top in the late 1920s. My father cooked cabbage in it so that he could enjoy the resultant liquid. He thought this to be beneficial to his health. I can smell that cabbage water now.