Halloween Chicken with Roast Beetroot & Butternut Squash Mash with Sage (Serves 4-6)

This is a delicious roast chicken recipe, the beetroot is cooked beneath the chicken and so becomes really tasty having soaked up the chicken juices. You must serve it with the butternut squash (recipe here), as its sweetness really compliments the earthy flavours of the beetroot, plus it makes the dish incredibly colourful! Despite its name, this roast chicken recipe is not just for Halloween, it is a winner throughout the colder months!

I found this recipe on Nina Parker’s website, she is the also the author of one of my favourite cookbooks, ‘Nina’s St Tropez’.

1 chicken, approx. 1.8kg

3 red onions, sliced

5 beetroot, cut into 6ths

20 garlic cloves, skins on, lightly smashed with the back of a knife

2  lemons, 1 quartered and the other juiced

Small bunch of sage

4 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Place a few of the smashed garlic cloves, the lemon quarters, and a few sage leaves in the cavity of the chicken.
  2. Put a little olive oil in a large roasting tin and place the chicken in the centre.
  3. Place the chopped beetroot, sliced red onions and the remaining garlic cloves around the chicken. Pour over the juice of the lemon, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper – mix everything around to get a good coating.
  4. Place in a preheated oven, 190’c, for 25 minutes then turn over the chicken, and return to the oven for a further 25 minutes.
  5. Remove the tray from the oven, stir around the vegetables – remove any that are cooked and place to one side covered with foil. Turn the chicken back over to crisp up the skin, placing in the oven for a further 15 – 25 minutes by which time both, all of the vegetables and chicken should be cooked.
  6. Serve the chicken with the roast beetroot, onions and garlic and mashed butternut squash with sage (recipe here).

Chicken Korma (Serves 4)

This is a really lovely, delicately spiced curry from Marcus Wareing’s cookbook,’ Marcus at Home’. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, they are mostly spices which you’ll have in your cupboard. It is important to marinate the chicken, I like to leave mine overnight as I really do think it enhances the flavour, but you could leave it for just a couple of hours.

It is a mild curry, so if you prefer more heat serve it with some chilli flakes sprinkled over. I serve this with Steamed Aromatic Basmati Rice – another recipe from Marcus Wareing (recipe on my Side Dishes page). On the side I like mango chutney (I use the brand ‘Geeta’s’ which is available in most supermarkets) and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or crème fraiche, you could also serve it with some poppadoms!

This recipe does make more curry paste than you need, but you can keep it in the fridge for a quick meal another day.

*A tip: rather than peeling the ginger with a knife try peeling it with a teaspoon, just hold the spoon firmly near the base of its bowl and rub the concave side down the knob of ginger, scraping off the skin. Seriously you will be surprised how much easier it is! (Click here to see the video!)

For the Marinade:

500g skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed into 2.5cm pieces

100ml groundnut or olive oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated (see tip above)

Freshly ground black pepper

For the Curry Paste:

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon garam marsala

Pinch of flaked sea salt

1 garlic clove, crushed

1cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (see note above)

50g ground almonds

For the Curry Sauce:

2 tablespoons groundnut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

4 cardamom pods, crushed

100ml white wine

400ml tin coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra sprigs to serve

Plain Greek yogurt or crème frâiche to serve

Mango chutney to serve

  1. First marinate your chicken for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight – see note above). Place the chicken in a bowl with 100ml oil, garlic, ginger and few turns of freshly ground black pepper, mix well. Cover and place in the fridge.
  2. To make the paste, simply pound the spices together in a pestle and mortar with a good pinch of flaked sea salt, the garlic and ginger. Once combined add 100ml of water and stir in the ground almonds.
  3. To make the curry sauce, heat a large saucepan over a moderate heat with 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, cinnamon and cardamom and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft but not coloured.
  4. Stir in about 4 tablespoons of the curry paste and cook for a couple of minutes to allow the spice flavours to come out. (The remaining sauce can be kept in the fridge for another day).
  5. Pour in the wine, let it bubble to reduce down. Slowly add the coconut milk, stirring. Finally add the fish sauce, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the carrot is tender.
  6. Meanwhile heat a dry frying pan over a high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off the excess oil, add to the hot pan and quickly brown the chicken pieces all over – do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan.
  7. Add the browned chicken pieces to the sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Season to taste, remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods, sprinkle with the chopped coriander.
  9. Serve with Steamed Aromatic Basmati Rice (recipe below), a dollop of yogurt (or crème frâiche), mango chutney and more chopped coriander. If you want extra heat sprinkle over some chilli flakes.

Chicken with Cider (Poulet au Cidre) (Serves 4)

This is a classic dish from Normandy and Brittany, the apple growing regions of France. The sauce, with the apples, is perfect for an autumnal evening meal. This recipe is taken from a  French recipe book I have had for many years, ‘The Food of France’ .

8 chicken thighs, skin on

2 dessert apples, such as granny smith

Juice of ½ lemon

60g butter

½ onion, finely chopped

½ celery stick, chopped

10g plain flour (gluten free if required)

80ml Calvados or brandy

375ml cider

100ml créme frâiche

  1. Peel and core the apples. Finely chop one half of one apple and cut the rest into 12 wedges. Toss in the lemon juice (this will stop it browning).
  2. Heat half the butter in a large frying pan and brown the chicken thighs, skin side down. Turn over and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken. Pour away any fat and heat 20g more of the butter in the same pan. Add the celery, onion and chopped apple. Fry over a moderate heat for 5 minutes until softened but not browned.
  4. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour, stir, then add the calvados (or brandy). Gradually add the cider, stirring.
  5. Bring to the boil, return the chicken to the pan, cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (make a cut on the underside of the thigh beside the bone to check).
  6. Meanwhile heat the remaining butter in a small frying pan and fry the apple wedges over a moderate heat until browned on each side, and tender.
  7. Remove the chicken from the pan, keep warm. Skim off any excess fat from the sauce. Add the créme frâiche, bring back to the boil, and boil gently for 3-4 minutes until the sauce it slightly thickened – enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Check the seasoning.
  8. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken with the apple wedges on the side. I like to serve this with Green Beans and Concetta’s potatoes (recipe here).

Chicken & Pea Traybake (Serves 4)

This is a great, quick midweek meal, and because it is so easy to cook I am also sharing it on my MenuMistress @Uni page. I found this recipe in Nigella Lawson’s ‘At My Table’ cookbook, a great book full of tasty recipes which are also very straight forward in that very special ‘Nigella’ way. The peas and leeks are cooked underneath the chicken thighs, so soak up all their delicious juices while the leeks become beautifully caramelised. The original recipe called for dill, however, I prefer tarragon so I use this but you could, of course, use dill if you prefer!

8 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in

900g frozen petit pois

400g leeks, cut into 3cm slices

2 fat cloves garlic, crushed

4 tablespoons dry white vermouth or white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons sea salt flakes

Small bunch of tarragon, roughly chopped (or dill – see note above)

  1. Place the peas in large roasting pan, large enough to give space between the thighs. Add the leeks, garlic, vermouth (or wine), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and most of the tarragon. Mix everything together.
  2. Arrange the chicken thighs on top, skin side up, then drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Roast in a preheated oven, 180’c, for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and give the peas a stir, so that any on top are mixed into the liquid and are not drying out too much. Don’t worry about the leeks, as you want the bits peeking out to caramelise.
  5. Put back in the oven for a further 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through with a golden and crisp skin.
  6. Scatter over the remaining tarragon and serve with some simply steamed new potatoes!

Chicken Escalopes with Lemon Sauce – ‘Pollo al Limone’

A classic Italian recipe, often made with veal escalopes as well as chicken. One of my staple dishes, as it is really easy to ‘whip’ up. It’s delicious with baby roast potatoes (recipe here), but more often than not I serve it with plain white rice as when I make this I’m normally in a hurry and rice is quick and simple to make – also I like the way it mops up the lemon sauce!

By marinating the escalopes in the lemon juice for 30 minutes before cooking it tenderises the meat, you will notice the difference, but if I’m in a hurry I must admit that I often omit this part.

I normally cut my chicken breasts into three or four pieces, lengthways, and then flatten them out into escalopes by covering them with clingfilm and hitting with the base of a saucepan – not the most elegant way but it works! Alternatively you could ask your butcher to do it for you. Because you are flattening out the breasts, I find that they go a long way, so rather than 4 chicken breasts for 4 people you could get away with less depending on how hungry you are. If you haven’t any white wine to hand you could use all chicken stock, but the addition of wine does enhance the overall flavour.

*Watch the video here of how to make escalopes out of a chicken breast!

*To watch the video of this sauce being made click here!

3-4 chicken breasts (see note above)

8 tablespoons of lemon juice, plus a little more to taste (about 2 lemons)

40g butter

150ml dry white wine

150ml chicken stock (or 300ml if not using white wine – see note above)

1 teaspoon softened butter

2 teaspoons flour(gluten free if required)

1 lemon thinly sliced to serve (optional)

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into 3 lengthways, cover these slices with clingfilm and flatten by hitting with the base of a heavy saucepan (see the video of me doing this here!).
  2. Sprinkle the escalopes with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and leave aside for 30 minutes. Then dry with a piece of kitchen roll and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the escalopes, fry on each side over a fairly high heat, until they are evenly browned. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  4. Pour the remaining lemon juice and the wine and stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Boil for about 3-4 minutes, until the liquid it reduced slightly.
  5. Meanwhile mix the softened butter with the flour to create a paste – a ‘Beurre Manié’.
  6. Add the butter paste (Beurre Manié) to the sauce, mixing well until the sauce is smooth (I often use a whisk for this). It will thicken the sauce. At this point check the seasoning, you may want to add a little more lemon juice, I sometimes add an extra knob of butter at this point – just go with your taste buds!
  7. Return the escalopes to the pan to reheat, sprinkle over the chopped parsley.
  8. Serve the escalopes with the sauce and the sliced lemon for decoration, and either baby roast potatoes (recipe here) or on a bed of white rice.

Chicken with Mushrooms, Chickpeas & Tarragon Oil (Serves 4)

This simple recipe is cooked in one pan, the chickpea ‘stew’ is cooked under the chicken thighs so catches all of  their beautiful juices. I found this recipe in Nina Parker’s cookbook ‘Nina St Tropez’, a favourite book of mine. The tarragon oil it also a great dressing for salads, particularly with chicken and avocado.

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in

3 shallots, thinly sliced

400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

400g chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size

2 star anise

3 cloves garlic, sliced

Bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked

For the Tarragon Oil

¾ teaspoon chopped garlic

6 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

12 tablespoons olive oil

6 teaspoons cider vinegar

6 teaspoons lemon juice

¾ teaspoon sugar

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish (with a lid). Season the chicken thighs and place in the hot pan, skin side down. Cook for about 6 minutes until golden.
  2. Remove from the pan and add the shallots, stir and cook for a minute or two, then add the mushrooms cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Now add the chickpeas and the star anise, stir well before finally adding the garlic and thyme, stir again.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, on top of the chickpea mixture. Cover with a lid, turn down the heat to barely simmering and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until any liquid has been absorbed by the chickpeas and mushroom mixture. Check the thighs are cooked (make a cut on the underside of the thigh beside the bone to check).
  6. Meanwhile make the tarragon oil by pounding the garlic with a little salt in a mortar and pestle, then add the remaining ingredients, mixing well.
  7. Remove the star anise from the chicken and chickpeas, and  serve with tarragon oil.

Tarragon Pot Roast Chicken (Serves 4)

This is probably one of my all-time favourite chicken recipes – have I sold it to you?!… Seriously, it is very good and is super easy; the sauce is created from the delicious juices which are caught under the chicken in the pot. Tarragon and chicken are, of course, a classic combination, so you honestly can’t go wrong with this recipe! I serve it with Garlic Green Beans, which are amazing – try them – and also with either Concetta’s Potatoes or Roast Potatoes .

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

1 garlic clove, crushed

50g unsalted butter, softened

1 x 1.6-1.8 kg chicken

2 teaspoons oil

150ml chicken stock

30ml white wine

1 tablespoon plain flour (gluten free if required)

1 heaped tablespoon tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

150ml double cream

  1. Mix together half the butter with the 2 tablespoons of chopped tarragon and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and place inside the cavity of the chicken, then tie the legs together.
  2. Heat the remaining butter and the oil in a large casserole dish, and brown the chicken all over.
  3. Add the wine and chicken stock. Cover the casserole and place in a preheated oven, 200’c, for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
  4. Remove the chicken to rest in a warm place, making sure that you drain any juices from it back into the pan.
  5. Skim a tablespoon of the surface fat from the cooking liquid and put it in a small bowl. Skim off any remaining fat and discard.
  6. Add the flour to the reserved fat and mix to a smooth paste.
  7. Whisk the paste into the cooking liquid over a moderate heat until the sauce boils and thickens.
  8. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan and add the heaped tablespoon of chopped tarragon leaves, simmer for 2 minutes and then add the cream, reheating without boiling. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Carve the chicken, serve with the sauce spooned over and with Garlic Green Beans, Concetta’s potatoes or Roast potatoes (Click here for recipes).

Leek and Chicken Risotto (Serves 4-6)

This is a fantastic recipe for using up leftover chicken. It is a lovely unctuous, satisfying supper dish. The recipe originally called for twice as much cheese but I really think that it overpowered the flavours of the dish so I have halved the amount and suggested that you sprinkle over more cheese at the table. As I like this risotto to be more substantial, I have doubled the amount of chicken the recipe originally called for –  but feel free to reduce or increase the amount to taste (and depending on the amount of leftover chicken you have!). This recipe is taken from Rachel Allen’s cookbook ‘Recipes From My Mother’, as the name suggests it contains lots of homely recipes.

1.5 litres chicken stock

25g unsalted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium leek, chopped

500g risotto rice, such as Carnaroli or Arborio

75ml dry white wine

40g Parmesan Cheese, finely grated plus more to serve (see note above)

2-3 generous handfuls of leftover roast chicken, chopped (see note above)

Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste

2 tablespoons of parsley

1-2 teaspoons chopped thyme

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to keep it at a gentle simmer.
  2. Meanwhile melt the butter and oil in a large pan – I like to use a deep frying/sauté pan. Add the leeks and season with salt and pepper, cover and sweat gently until soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the rice, stirring to coat it in the oil. Then add the wine, turn up the heat and let it bubble to evaporate (about 2 minutes).
  4. Lower the heat and now add a ladle of the hot stock, stirring continuously until it has evaporated. Continue to add ladle after ladle in the same manner until the rice is cooked and it has a creamy consistency. It should take around 16-18 minutes.
  5. When you are happy with the texture (the rice should be al dente, retaining a little bite), stir in the cheese, chicken, parsley, thyme and some lemon juice to taste. Check the seasoning and serve with more cheese sprinkled over according to your individual tastes.

Pot Roast Chicken with Figs (Serves 4-6)

I  love pot roasting chicken as once in the oven it just looks after itself. It is less fatty and messy to cook than a traditional roast, plus the juices caught in the bottom of the pot create a lovely sauce and the chicken comes out perfectly moist! This recipe with the figs is rather luxurious, and naturally very tasty. Any leftover figs are great the next day cold (and sticky!) with prosciutto or other cold meats – what a beautiful lunch!! I found this recipe in Diana Henry’s wonderful cookbook ‘A Bird in the Hand’, which concentrates purely on chicken recipes – it is a very comforting cookbook. I like to serve this dish with either Perfect Roast Potatoes or Concetta’s Potatoes (recipes here)

1½ tablespoons olive oil

1.8kg chicken

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons Armagnac

125ml dry white wine

125ml chicken stock

4 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

12 -18 figs, stalks snipped, halved

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

20g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, heat the oil in a large casserole dish (with a lid) and brown the chicken all over.
  2. Pour off most of the fat and fry the onion until soft and golden.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the Armagnac, scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove all the sticky bits, then add the wine, stock, thyme and bay leaf. Season with black pepper.
  4. Return the chicken and any juices that have run out of it. Cover, put in a preheated oven, 180’c, for 70 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another 20 minutes. Baste every so often
  5. Remove the Chicken from the pan and keep warm. Skim off the fat from the cooking juices and strain into a frying pan. Boil to reduce them, until they become slightly syrupy.
  6. Reduce the heat and add the figs, vinegar and honey. Cook for about 4 minutes.
  7. Remove the figs with a slotted spoon and whisk in the cubed butter to make a rich and shiny sauce.
  8. Serve the Chicken, either whole or jointed, on a warm platter with the figs surrounding it and the sauce in a jug on the side

Carnival Chicken Rice with Plantain (Serves 4 – 6)

A subtly spiced dish, if you want a little more heat, you could serve it with a chilli sauce – I recommend the Encona Original Pepper Sauce which is readily available in supermarkets. The plantain is an important addition to this dish so don’t omit it, as it lifts the whole dish, the plantain must be ripe; it should have a dull yellow colour with patches of black, if you can’t find it in your local supermarket you should be able to buy it from a Indian/African grocery store. This is a recipe that I have ‘tweaked’ from Diana Henry’s ‘A Bird in the Hand’.

200g white long grain rice

Olive oil

250g tomatoes, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

4 spring onions, chopped

2 red chillies, halved and finely sliced

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

3 ripe plantain, peeled and sliced (see note about plantain – above)

3 limes

Sea salt and black pepper

Hot pepper sauce – optional (see note above)

  1. First cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.
  2. Meanwhile in a frying pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the tomatoes for about five minutes, then add the garlic, spring onions, chillies, oregano and cumin. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  3. Wipe clean the frying pan and heat another 2 tablespoons of oil, season the chicken thighs and fry on both sides until cooked – a total of about 9 minutes. Once cooked cut into strips and keep warm.
  4. In the same frying pan heat enough olive oil to cover the base of the pan to shallow fry the plantain. Cook the slices on each side until golden brown – it will take about 5 minutes in total. Remove and drain on kitchen roll. Sprinkle with salt and a little juice from one of the limes.
  5. Finally, add the rice, chicken and tomato mixture to a clean frying pan and gently heat through. Stir through the chopped coriander, and about 2 tablespoons of lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the chicken rice with the sliced plantain, the remaining limes, quartered and, if desired, some hot pepper sauce on the side.

Spiced Chicken breast with Sweet Potato Mash (Serves 4)

I must admit that before tasting this recipe I had never truly liked sweet potato, but the lime and coriander in this dish cut the sweetness of the potato, it really is delicious. So if you aren’t a lover of sweet potato please try this recipe – you will be converted! This subtly spiced chicken dish is very easy to make, making it a perfect midweek dinner.

4 boneless, skin on chicken breasts

1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 level teaspoon coriander seeds

1 level teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

2 level teaspoons ground paprika

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons groundnut oil

75g unsalted butter

1 bunch of coriander, chopped – keep a few sprigs back for decoration

Lime wedges, to serve

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Place the sweet potato in a steamer, sprinkle with salt and steam for about 20 minutes until cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, place the coriander, cumin and fenugreek seeds in a small frying pan and ‘dry-roast’ for about  1 minute until they smell aromatic. Finely grind in a mortar and pestle. Add the garlic, ginger, paprika, 1 tablespoon of lime juice and the oil, mix to a paste.
  3. Make 2-3 cuts about 5mm deep in each chicken breast. Rub each breast all over with the paste.
  4. Place the chicken breasts on a baking tray in a preheated oven, 200’c for 25 minutes until cooked through.
  5. When the sweet potatoes are cooked through, place in a bowl and mash, adding the butter, remaining lime juice and plenty of black pepper. Stir through the chopped coriander.
  6. Pile the mash in the centre of 4 plates, top with the a chicken breast and garnish with the coriander sprigs and serve with lime wedges.

Chicken Breasts with Cucumber, Dill and Mustard (Serves 4)

I must admit that I had not come across cucumber cooked in a sauce before finding this recipe in a magazine, but it was a revelation, you must try it! It really adds a special dimension to a simple chicken breast recipe. I like to serve it with simple, fine green beans and with ‘Concetta’s Potatoes’, these are named after our Italian friend (and chef), who gave me the recipe many years ago; they are sliced baked potatoes with garlic, rosemary and sage, alternatively steamed new potatoes go very well with this dish.

40g unsalted butter

4 skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon flour (use gluten free flour if required)

100ml dry, white vermouth

600ml chicken stock

1 cucumber

175g créme fraiche

2 teaspoons grain mustard

Juice of half a lemon

A small bunch dill, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Melt 25g of butter in a frying pan. Lightly brown the chicken breasts, season and sprinkle over the flour, cook for a minute and then add the vermouth, reduce by two-thirds.
  2. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to simmer gently. Cover and cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through
  3. Whilst the chicken is cooking, peel the cucumber, cut it in half and deseed, then cut into slices the thickness of a pound coin.
  4. Fry the cucumber slices in the remaining butter. Cook quickly until they are just tender – not floppy – and tinged with gold in places. Remove to a plate.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan, keep warm. Boil the remaining liquid until it is reduced by half and starting to look slightly syrupy. Add the crème fraiche, mustard and half the lemon juice. Cook until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of single cream.
  6. Return the chicken to the pan along with the cucumber and the chopped dill. Taste to adjust the seasoning – perhaps a dash more of lemon juice or mustard.
  7. Serve with ‘Concetta’s potatoes’ or steamed new potatoes and green fine beans.

Spatchcock Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic and Chilli (Serves 4-6)

Spatchcock Chicken is a great way to roast a chicken – it enables the chicken to cook quicker and is a lot easier to carve. The rosemary, garlic and chilli oil in this recipe, is a particular favourite of mine, it is a tasty and very simple way of seasoning the chicken. A great accompaniment to this chicken is the Cantaloupe, Artichoke and Walnut Salad which you can find on my Recipe Pages. If  you get your chicken from your butcher, ask him to spatchcock it for you, alternatively it is very easy to do yourself…

How to Spatchcock a Chicken:

On the backside of the chicken use a pair of strong kitchen scissors to cut along either side of the back bone to remove it, then flip it over and press down very firmly on the breast bones, it will give a satisfying crack as it flattens! Some people like to insert skewers to help keep the chicken flat during cooking but in my experience they make no difference, so I prefer not to use them as they make it more difficult to carve the bird.

Click here to watch the video on me spatchcocking a chicken on my Instagram Page!

1 x 1.8 – 2.25kg chicken

1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes

For the marinade:

1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary (about 3 sprigs)

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 20 grinds of a pepper grinder)

½ teaspoon chilli flakes

Juice of half a lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Firstly make the marinade by combining all the ingredients together.
  2. Cover the chicken all over with the marinade – I use a brush to do this.
  3. Place it breast side up, flattened out, in a roasting tin. Sprinkle over with the sea salt flakes.
  4. Place in a preheated oven 180’c for 45-50 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken.

Tarragon Chicken Pie (Serves 4)

This is an absolute favourite in our house and one which Felix insists that I cook when he is back from university! It is a recipe that I picked up from a magazine years ago and have tweaked over the years.

I’m gluten free, so unfortunately these days I can’t eat the pastry, but the filling is a treat in itself. I usually serve this with buttered new potatoes. I use ‘Jus Rol, Ready Rolled Puff Pastry’, they have started to make a gluten free puff pastry, I haven’t tried it, but I have heard mixed reviews and so for the moment I will continue to be an unselfish ‘head cook’ and stick to the normal pastry that both Nick and Felix love! I prefer to use fresh chicken stock, but you could use a stock cube.

320g pack of ready rolled puff pastry (see note above)

1 tablespoon olive oil

15g butter

3 spring onions, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

75g diced pancetta

500g chicken breast, cut into bite size cubes

225ml chicken stock (see note above)

250g frozen peas

8-10 sprigs of tarragon

3 slices of Prosciutto ham, each slice rolled and cut in to 2cm pieces/ribbons

2 tablespoons of double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk (for a glaze)

  1. First of all, take the pastry out of the fridge as it needs at least 20 minutes to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven 200’c.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the spring onions, shallots and pancetta, fry for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and fry for another 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock and peas, bring to a simmer, and add the chopped leaves of 6-7 of the sprigs of tarragon. Cook for 5 minutes until the peas are tender.
  5. Stir in the prosciutto and the cream, pour into a pie dish. Sprinkle over the chopped leaves of the remaining tarragon.
  6. For the pastry top, gently lay out the pastry. Cut it into a circular shape to top the pie dish. I find that by cutting strips of the remaining pastry, pressing them around the rim of the pie dish and then topping with the pastry top, helps the pastry rise – see photo. I also cut out a few leaves for decoration, but obviously this doesn’t effect the flavour so if you’re in a hurry I’d leave this out! Lightly score the pastry with a criss-cross pattern to help it rise and make sure you cut out a deep cross in the centre to allow the steam to escape during cooking. Brush over with the egg and milk glaze.
  7. Place in the preheated oven, bake for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Serve with new potatoes.

Chargrilled Lemon & Thyme Chicken (Serves 4)

It is important to marinate the chicken before cooking it as it really does improve the flavour – overnight would be the best option. I prefer to cook the chicken on a griddle pan as it gives a lovely crispy, chargrill effect however if you don’t have one, a regular frying pan works. I would serve this dish with baby roast potatoes and a salad with a lemon dressing – you can find these recipes on my Recipes Pages. On the day you’re eating it, start by cooking the baby roast potatoes and preparing the salad/dressing, then 10-15 minutes before the potatoes are ready, cook the meat. This recipe is from Diana Henry’s ‘ Pure, Simple Cooking’.

8 boneless chicken thighs, skin on (if you buy from a butcher ask him to bone them for you)

60ml olive oil

chopped leaves from about 10 generous sprigs of thyme

sea salt and black pepper

juice of 1 lemon

lemon wedges to serve

  1. Flatten out the chicken thighs and make some slits on them. Rub with the olive oil and pat on the thyme leaves. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours.
  2. Heat a griddle pan (or a frying pan) until it is really hot. Season the chicken and put on the pan, skin side down. Let it sizzle for about 2 minutes then lower the temperature and continue to cook until the thighs are cooked through – turning half way through, so that both sides are well browned.
  3. Pour over the lemon juice and serve immediately with the baby roast potatoes and the green salad dressed with the lemon vinaigrette.

Lemon and Chilli Chicken (Serves 4)

Lemon and Chilli Chicken

This is a recipe that I came across years ago in a magazine, despite having chilli in it, it is not a spicy dish, as there is also honey in the marinade; I use orange blossom honey as it is a delicate floral flavour, great for a summer dish, but you could use any runny honey. The key to this dish is remembering to marinate it 24hours beforehand as it really makes a difference, other than that this dish sorts itself out  – just pop it in the oven and serve with a large salad (and if you are really hungry some potatoes or rice).

8 chicken thighs

4 lemons

12 unskinned garlic cloves

2 small red chillies, seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons of orange blossom honey (see note above)

4 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Halve the lemons and squeeze out the juice, reserving the squeezed lemon halves.
  2. Skin and crush two of the garlic cloves, mix them with the lemon juice, chillies, the honey and seasoning. Stir well and pour over the chicken, pack the lemon halves around the chicken. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight (see note above), turning once or twice.
  3. When you are ready to cook the chicken, turn the chicken pieces skin side up and scatter over the remaining garlic cloves(unskinned), keep the lemons packed around the chicken pieces.
  4. Place in a preheated oven 200’c, for about 45mins until cooked through and well browned.
  5. Scatter over the parsley; serve with the lovely pan juices and the garlic cloves which will now be beautifully soft, ready to be popped out of their skins! (you can use the lemon halves for decoration).