Chelsea & Me: Chicken, Chorizo & Butternut Bake

Chelsea & Me

Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of three cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe. And of course, her new book, Homemade Happiness, is on my Christmas wish-list!
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Everything about this recipe appealed to me from the first time I flicked through At My Table. The thought of sweet pumpkin, soft roasted chicken and spicy chorizo set my tastebuds a-tingling. The flavours are very Spanish, and the addition of creamy cannellini beans means this is essentially a one-pan dinner. A marvellously-delicious one-pan dinner.

Chicken, chorizo, butternut bakeThe chicken was soft and tender; the flavoured oil had permeated nicely into the meat. The pumpkin was super-sweet, and combined with the chorizo and lemony onions…heaven on a fork.

My boys (all three) aren’t big bean fans, and the littlest ones don’t like pumpkin, but they enjoyed the rest of the dish. I thought the flavour and texture combinations were sublime, and this has quickly become one of my favourite Chelsea recipes.

It’s a great dish to prepare as a meal for someone else – lay everything in an aluminium tray and it can be easily transported and cooked (or vice versa) in the same dish.

And the best news is that you can find the recipe for Chicken, Chorizo & Butternut Bake online.

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Chelsea & Me: Quick Honey Mustard & Herb Roast Chicken

Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of two (nearly three, eeeeeek!) cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.

Chelsea & MeThe mention of roast chicken usually elicits a polite smile from my husband, followed by a subtle hint towards a different, “tastier” meat to roast. The fact that he had two helpings of this Quick Honey Mustard & Herb Roast Chicken speaks volumes about how tasty it was.

Quick Honey Mustard & Herb Roast ChickenButterflying the whole chicken myself was oddly satisfying…although the handle of my kitchen scissors snapped partway through, which meant it took a little longer than it probably should have.

The marinade was really tasty – garlic, honey, mustard and herbs – and permeated throughout the chicken to really flavour the meat. I left the chicken to marinate all day on the bench (it was a cold day, and my kitchen stayed fridge-like for most of it!).

As for the onion and lemon mixture the chicken was roasted on….oh my goodness. The lemon was sticky and sweet, and we fought for the last slices, while the onion was alternately soft, sweet, crispy and caramelised. Yum.

This recipe features in Everyday Delicious.

Chelsea & Me: Chicken Cacciatore

Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of two (nearly three, eeeeeek!) cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.

Chelsea & MeChicken Cacciatore has always been a dish I’ve enjoyed, but one I’ve never been able to fully master. The balance of flavours has always been slightly askew, and while I’ve managed to create a tasty version, there’s just been something missing. Most of the recipes I’ve tried have used chicken drumsticks, which are a bit tricky to eat when smothered in a rich tomato sauce.

Enter Chelsea’s Chicken Cacciatore. The ingredients are uncomplicated and few, and the method couldn’t be simpler. Brown chicken breasts? I can do that. Throw a few sauce ingredients into a pan to simmer and thicken? Yep. Add a few more bits and pieces to create that balance I’ve been searching for? Done!

The first time I made this recipe, the whole chicken breasts took a little longer to cook through than I expected, but we all went back for seconds and basically licked our plates clean. The second time I made it, I started cooking earlier and yep, same as before – clean plates.

Chicken Cacciatore - Chelsea WinterI’ve also made it using chopped chicken breasts, in an effort to make it s-t-r-e-t-c-h a little further – the cooking time is drastically reduced this way. I’ve made it without capers, and the flavour wasn’t quite right, but it was still very tasty. I chargrill fresh peppers – throw quarters under the grill at the same time as you brown the chicken, then pop them in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave the skins to basically sweat loose.

It was easy to make a gluten free version for a kindy teacher and her family following surgery, and it is already dairy free which is perfect for me. It’s a healthy dish, and a great meal for a family – I normally use half the number of chicken breasts (unless they are tiiiiiiny), and there is enough to feed my family of four, with plenty of leftovers for Tall’s lunch.

This is one well-spattered page in At My Table, and a dish I keep returning to when I’m feeling uninspired.

Kid-Friendly Chicken Curry

We eat a lot of curries, therefore my boys are not afraid of a little bit of spice. I do try and tone the heat down a bit when making a curry for the whole family to enjoy, but I love that both boys will happily tuck into a dish that is verging on a medium heat.

This curry is full of flavour, but not particularly spicy; it would be a good dish to make as an introduction to curry for a child (or an adult!) who was a little bit wary. Westerners have a tendency to believe that a curry is always going to be spicy, but this is often not the case, and we’re making a conscious effort to ensure our children are aware that a curry comes in a variety of flavours and styles.

Kid-friendly chicken curryChicken Curry – serves 4

4t tikka masala paste (or kashmiri masala paste, if you can find it!)
4T tomato sauce
1t Worcestershire sauce
1t five-spice powder
1t sugar
pinch of salt
8 chicken drumsticks, skins removed
3T rice bran oil
5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely shredded
4 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
fresh coriander leaves

Mix the masala paste, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, five-spice powder, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Leave to stand until the sugar has dissolved.

Place the chicken in a large roasting dish and rub the marinade all over with your hands. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan. Fry half the ginger and all the garlic for a few minutes.

Add the chicken (in batches, if necessary) and seal on all sides. Lower the heat, cover and cooks until the chicken is tender and the oil has separated from the sauce.

Remove the wok or frying pan from heat. Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred the meat from the bones*; add the meat back to the pan with the lemon juice and remaining ginger, and mix well before heating through gently.

Serve with plain basmati rice, garnished with the coriander leaves.

* if you prefer to get messy, you can keep the meat on the bones – since getting my braces, I find it easier to eat if pulled. It also goes a bit further, and my kids will eat it better.

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Recipe adapted from Curry, by Mridula Baljekar

Meal Planning

Much like last week, most of this week’s meals come from my new Chelsea Winter cookbook, At My Table. It’s been a long time since I bought a new recipe book (I got rid of a whole lot earlier in the year and vowed not to replace them), and I’ve been giddy with excitement at trying some new recipes. I did browse through others in my collection for inspiration this week, but the pull of Chelsea’s recipes is rather strong.

Meal PlanningSunday: Greek-style meatballs with yoghurt sauce and pita bread – enjoyed by all, but the meatballs were even tastier the following day.

Monday: crispy fish wraps with mango salsa – the mango salsa was divine, and combined with a mild fish like hoki, it was a very tasty meal indeed.

Tuesday: roasted pumpkin, beetroot and feta tart – meant for last week, but pork from the farmers’ market was calling our names instead.

Wednesday: steak and bacon sandwiches – I love a good steak sandwich, and the paprika mayo served with this one sounds goooooood.

Thursday: mushroom soup with crunchy mushroom toppers – it will be interesting to see whether my boys will eat this one!

Friday: chicken quesadillas – a family favourite that I make up as I go along.

Saturday: quick tomato macaroni cheese (from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners) – sundried tomatoes and mozzarella should make for a delicious twist on this family favourite.

As for last week’s dinners, I’d say they were all a rollicking success. The salmon and cabbage red curry was amazing, the mediterranean sausage bake went down well-enough (except for the beans. None of my boys like beans.), and the creamy chicken pie was deeeeelicious.

Cheap-As Tuesdays

Now that I have spare time again, and I’m used to my braces, I’m enjoying getting back into my kitchen. For the past few weeks, I’ve been cooking fairly simple, similar dishes, meals that I know won’t take long to prepare, and that I hope will be eaten with little or no protests from my boys. While Tall was away, I made three meals, and we ate leftovers or variations for the eight days. While we were on holiday, we ate a lot of salad-based meals, with fish or meat on the side, but it’s a bit cold for salads in Dunedin right now.

I took great delight in sitting down with recipes on Sunday, planning our week’s meals before doing the groceries. It felt so nice to spend time doing one of my favourite things – thinking about food – and it felt great to plan meals that were different, healthy and hopefully delicious. An added bonus was that Tiny was watching me flick through Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals, and chose two of this week’s meals based on the pictures he liked.

PizzaInspired by Elizabeth’s post about meal planning and food budgeting over at To Find a Silver Lining, and by SAHM I am‘s current What’s Cooking Wednesday series, and the distant memory of posts I used to do long ago, here is this week in meals in the Tall, Short, Tiny & a Pickle household:

Sunday: malai kofta with rice – a recipe given by a friend, which takes a while to prepare, but is definitely worth the effort! Everyone ate and enjoyed this curry, which was very mild but so flavoursome.

Monday: Thai red prawn curry – one of Tiny’s choices, a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals. It was spicy, and de-heading the whole prawns saw me retching into the kitchen sink, but the flavours were delicious and the near-voms were an acceptable trade-off. The fish lady at our local supermarket wanted to get rid of her last few prawns, so discounted the lot by $10/kg for me, making this dish much cheaper than it might otherwise have been!

Tuesday: sweet and sour pork – a recipe from Tana Ramsay’s Real Family Food that I’ve made before and we’ve all enjoyed.

Wednesday: Thai-style chicken soup – another Tana Ramsay recipe, but one I’ve not tried before. The spices will be much more muted than the prawn curry above, as this book is aimed at families with children who may not have tried spices before.

Thursday: Pregnant Jools’ Pasta – another Jamie O. recipe, and another of Tiny’s choices. Pasta and sausage-meatballs, essentially – but very tasty and appealing to my pasta-loving boys *this week’s Cheap-As Tuesday meal*

Friday: pizza (pear and blue cheese; salmon and cream cheese) – our classic favourite variations.

Saturday: orange chicken bake – a Tana Ramsay recipe that I’ve made before and we’ve all enjoyed. Leeks, potatoes, oranges and chicken pieces, baked and served with crusty bread to mop up the juices. Yum.

All of these meals will be completely home-made, and I was quite proud of myself for managing to buy everything we needed for these dinners, plus kindy lunches, breakfast staples, fruit etc, for about $40 less than I had been spending. Winter (and June, particularly) is an expensive time of year for us, so keeping the weekly shop cost down is something that’s on my mind at the moment.

Fun with Food: Chicken in Green Masala Sauce

I’ve mentioned previously that my Curry recipe book was the best £2.00 I spent when we were living in England. The pages are spotted with spices and splashes of sauce, and it is the most prized cookbook in my collection. Whenever I make a curry, my husband always asks, “Is this from the book?”, and my answer is, inevitably, always “Yes.”

This chicken curry is beautiful, and really simple to make. It is slightly sweet and slightly salty, with the merest hint of spice.

Chicken in Green Masala SauceThe original recipe calls for chicken breasts, but I prefer chicken thighs, which work just as well, and also for sultanas as a garnish. I can’t stand sultanas (they are grapes that just couldn’t be bothered, in my opinion), so I omit them, and the dish is still delicious. Feel free to adjust the amount of fresh chilli for your own heat preferences – I use one if my babies are going to be eating this, which gives a hint of spice, but isn’t the overriding flavour.

Chicken in Green Masala Sauce and Nut Pulao

Chicken in Green Masala Sauce – serves 4

1 green apple, peeled, cored and cubed
3T fresh coriander leaves
2T fresh mint leaves
2/3c natural yoghurt
3T ricotta cheese or fromage frais
2 fresh green chillies, seeded and chopped
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
1t salt
1t sugar
1t crushed garlic
1t fresh ginger, grated
1T vegetable oil
225-300g chicken breast or thighs, skinned and cubed
1T fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
(25g sultanas, for garnish)

Place the first 11 ingredients into a food processor, and process for one minute. Scrape around the sides of the bowl and process for a few seconds more.

IMG_3053Heat the oil in a wok; pour in the processed mixture and cook gently over a low heat for two minutes.

Add the chicken pieces and stir well. Cook over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.

Serve over basmati rice or a nut pulao (recipe to come!); garnish with extra coriander and sultanas, if using.

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Recipe: Curry – Mridula Baljekar

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Fun with Food
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