Mammy’s Chicken Curry

This recipe has been a stalwart of my parents’ catering repertoire for many years.  Its fed many family dinners and big gatherings.  It’s quite quick and easy to prepare and scales up pretty well if you’re feeding a party. It also ‘stove matures’ well, so you can prepare it ages in advance which is very handy for entertaining. In fact I think its flavour improves if it’s prepared ahead.

When I flew the nest (many, many moons ago) I took the recipe with me, scribbled on a scrap of notepaper.  I still refer to that scrap of paper to this day when I’m cooking this.  I’m recording it here for posterity (and in case I lose that piece of paper).

I have made a small variation of my own:  I add peas (petit pois to precise) which didn’t form part of the original recipe (’twas far from petit pois I was reared!!). So, strictly speaking this should probably be Mammy’s Chicken Curry 2.0.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

(makes 4 big servings, 10 minutes preparation, 45 minutes cooking time)

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or other vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, washed and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mango chutney
  • 1 stock cube (vegetable or chicken), crumbled
  • 200 g/ 7 oz frozen peas or frozen petit pois.

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Fry the onions over a medium heat until they are soft but not browned.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for one minute.
  3. Mix the curry powder and flour in a mug.  Add a small amount of hot water and mix to a paste.  Fill the rest of the mug with water and mix.  Add this curry powder mix to the onions and garlic.  Add an extra mug of water.
  4. Add the carrots, chicken, cider vinegar, mango chutney and stock cube.
  5. Bring the curry to the boil then turn down the head to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the carrots are tender.
  6. Add the peas and cook long enough to defrost them and heat them through (add the peas just before serving as they don’t cope well with being cooked for a long time).
  7. Serve with rice and/or naan bread.  If you’re feeling adventurous add slices of banana on top.
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Tip For Moist Roast Chicken

Easy Tip For Moist Roast ChickenWhere does the time go?  Honestly, I didn’t realise it has been so long since my last post (‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…’).   Well, I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get back into the swing of posting.  To kick things off for 2016 I’m keeping my first post of the new year short and sweet.

You like really moist roast chicken?  Here’s a quick and very easy tip for delicious, moist roast chicken:  roast the chicken upside down!  Ok, that’s not quite all but its the most important step.

Here’s the full story:

Ingredients:

  • 1 free range chicken
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 handful of herbs, torn – use whatever you have to hand whose flavour you enjoy.  I typically throw in some sage, parsley, rosemary and a bay leaf as I have these growing in my garden year-round.
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 C / 390 F.
  2. Remove any packaging from the chicken and place it upside down (breast-side down) in a large roasting tin.   Placing the chicken upside down encourages its own fat to melt and flow into the fleshiest parts, keeping them deliciously moist.
  3. Shove the onion, lemon and herbs inside the chicken. (I didn’t say this was going to be glamorous.) These add moisture and flavour from inside during cooking.
  4. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Place the prepared chicken into the oven.  Roast for 20 minutes per pound plus an extra 20 minutes (for luck?)
  6. (If you’re preparing roast potatoes or roast vegetables to accompany your chicken, now is a good time to get them started … but that’s another day’s post!)
  7. When its done (check the juices run clear, no signs of pinkness in the juice), take it from the oven and let it rest, right-side up, for 15 minutes before carving.  This method means the ‘crown’ of the chicken doesn’t become as browned as with the more conventional right way up technique.  If you want to brown the skin of the crown turn the chicken right way up for the last 20 minutes of roasting.

 

Chorizo and Chick Pea Jambalaya

Jambalaya Ingredients

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

This is a Tweatfeast tweaking of an excellent recipe from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com.    Its a lovely one-pot dish that is pretty easy to prepare.  Pure comfort food.

Fry the onions and chorizo

Fry the onions and chorizo

Ingredients (Serves 6-ish):

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 100g chorizo, finely sliced
  • 2 peppers (any colours), deseeded and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 250g easy cook brown rice
  • 500ml chicken stock (made from a cube is fine)
  • 400g tin of chick peas, drained
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 1 tin sweetcorn, drained
add peppers

Add the pepper and fry until they begin to soften

Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a on a medium heat in a wide-bottomed pan with a lid.   Fry the chorizo and onion.  The chorizo will quickly start to release some of its fat and the onion will fry in this.  Fry for about 5 minutes until the chorizo is cooked and the onion is soft and sweet.
  2. Add the chopped peppers and cook for further 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the smoked paprika and Cajun seasoning and cook for one minute.
  5. Add the chick peas, tomatoes, rice and stock.  Stir to mix.  Cover and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes.   Check the rice after 30 minutes.  If its not quite cooked, replace the lid and cook for another 10 minutes (you may need to add a little water if its drying out)
  6. Once the rice is cooked stir in the frozen peas and sweetcorn and cook for about 5 minutes until heated through.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
add spices

Add the spices and cook for a minute

add tomoatoes

Add the chopped tomatoes

add stock chick peas and rice

Add the stock, chick peas, and rice

add corn and frozen peas

Once the rice is cooked add corn and frozen peas and heat through

chick pea and chorizo jambalaya

It’s ready! Chick pea and chorizo jambalaya – Dig in!

 

Beef and Stout Stew

Ingredients for Beef and Stout Stew

Step 1 – Gather the Ingredients for Beef and Stout Stew

Oh it’s just bitterly cold today!  The beautiful blue skies outside belie the necessity of hats and gloves and warm woolly jumpers. It’s perfect weather for a warming winter stew.  This beef and stout stew is a recipe I’ve tweaked and adapted over the years.  I think I’ve just about got it right now.  It’s a rich stew that is pretty forgiving and will accommodate a few extra veg if you have them knocking about and in need of use (though avoid more delicate veg that will struggle to withstand the long cooking time).

Chopped Veg

Step 2 – Chop the Veg

A word of warning:  this is a very straightforward recipe but its essential secret ingredient is time!  It takes less than twenty minutes to prepare but hours to cook. Cook it for as long as possible (ideally 4 hours) in a very low oven for a delicious, tender stew.

Browning the Beef

Step 3 – Browning the Beef

Ingredients:

  • 450 g / 1 lb Stewing beef – a cheaper cut with a bit of fat that makes for a rich and tender end product
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 3 medium onions, coarsely chopped (this is a rustic recipe, no need for delicate knife skills here)
  • 4 – 5 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 200 g / 8 oz button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 3 sticks of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves (give them a squeeze to break them a little to release the flavour)
  • 3 beef stock cubes, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 litre / 2 pints stout (I used Aldi’s Irish Stout.  Guinness works well too.  Let me know if you have success with other brands of stout.  Do choose a rich, flavoursome beer – it needs to be able to stand up to the other flavours)
Adding the Veg and Seasoning

Step 4 – Adding the Veg and Seasoning

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 150 C/ 300 F
  2. Brown the beef in a large oven-proof roaster/casserole dish with a lid. Don’t over-do it – you just want to brown the meat, not cook it through.  The less you cook here the more tender the stew will be.  You may need a drop of oil depending on how fatty your beef is.
  3. Once the beef is just browned take the pot off the heat and stir in flour
  4. Add the chopped onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms.
  5. Add the thyme, mustard, salt, pepper, beef stock cubes and bay leaves
  6. Add the stout. Stir it all about.  You may need to add a bit of water to just barely cover the ingredients.
  7. Put the lid on and put in the pre-heated oven for four hours. Check every hour or so to make sure its not drying out. You may need to give a it a stir.  If its still very liquidy after three hours leave the lid off for the rest of the cooking, checking every 20 minutes or so just to be sure its not drying out too much.
  8. Serve hot.  This stew is delicious with buttery mashed potato and peas or green beans.  Its also lovely with crusty bread.  Or even just on its own.  Mmm.  It also keeps well for a few days (cover and refrigerate it as soon as it cools to room temperature)
Add the Stout

Step 5 – Add the Stout

Beef and Stout Stew Finished

The Finished Stew

Hill of Beans

Veggie Chili

Veggie Chili

On my ‘it’s not a diet’ drive at the moment I’ve been determined to try new, healthy recipes.   I’ve found a useful source of recipes on the ‘Operation Transformation’ website.   ‘Operation Transformation’ is RTE’s (Irish TV) answer to the internationally franchised ‘Biggest Loser’ shows.

I’ve tried a number of the ‘Operation Transformation’ recipes over the past few weeks and have found them pretty reliable (with a few minor tweaks), very straightforward and, for the most part, tasty.  Each of their recipes is designed to provide about 500 calories.

Here’s my adaptation of their vegetarian chili.  It makes a substantial, satisfying and flavourful dinner.  The main changes I made to the original recipe were in the method and to the seasoning.

Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded & chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 400g can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 100g of red lentils
  • 400g of mushrooms, chopped
  • 250 ml vegetable stock

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan.
  2. Add the onion, peppers and mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes
  3. Add the garlic and saute for a further 2 mins (adding the garlic later prevents the garlic becoming bitter)
  4. Stir in tomato puree, canned chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the stock, kidney beans and lentils and stir.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until the red lentils are tender and beginning to break down.  (You may need to add a little water if the mix is becoming too dry but remember it is supposed to be a thick stew, not a runny soup)
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with wholegrain rice (50g uncooked per person to stick within the c. 500 calorie limit), cous cous or tortillas.

Stuffed Pepper Risotto

stuffed pepper risotto

Stuffed Pepper Risotto

I got a bit creative in the kitchen over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised with the results which I share with you here.   It’s a risotto-stuffed roasted pepper.  Very tasty it was too!

Although this is a ‘meatatarian’ recipe, it could easily be adapted to vegetarian by omitting the chorizo.  That said, the chorizo imparts a lovely, smoky, spicy, full flavour to the dish.  This is my kind of ‘meatatarian’ recipe:  the meat is there but in small quantities used to maximum effect, the supporting cast to the veggies that are the star of the show.  Nom!

Ingredients (I made this for 2 but honestly this could feed 4 easily – just add 2 more peppers)

  • 2 peppers, top lopped off and seeds and pith removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 – 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 50 g (ish!) chorzio, finely sliced
  • 140 g risotto rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 glass (c. 200 ml) white wine
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (I make mine from Marigold Bouillon Powder)
  • 8 sundried tomatoes (in oil), finely sliced
  • 120 g frozen spinach, defrosted (in the microwave is fine)
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over a medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and saute for 8 – 10 minutes, until tender.   You want to soften the vegetables and bring out their sweetness but not brown them.
  2. Add the chorizo and saute until it releases its fats (everything will turn paprika-y orange!) and it starts to crisp a little.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the risotto rice, giving it a good stir to coat all the grains.
  5. Add the wine and stir, cooking until all the wine has been absorbed.
  6. Add a ladle of stock and stir, cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Repeat this step until the rice is cooked (tender, with no ‘chalkiness’ in the grain)
  7. At this stage pre-heat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F
  8. Stir in the spinach and sundried tomatoes.
  9. Stir in the mozzarella cubes.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste (note that it may not need much salt, depending on the saltiness of your chorizo)
  11. Spoon the risotto into the peppers and place their tops back on like little pot lids.
  12. Roast in the oven for 20 mins (you want to sweeten and tenderise the peppers and ensure the risotto mix is heated right through so the mozzarella is all melty and gooey and delicious)
  13. Serve hot and enjoy!

 

Caramelized Onion, Goat’s Cheese and Portobello Mushroom Pizza

Happy Goat

Goat pic via Sophie Venables @Sophie_Venables

Bad foodie!  Bad!   Yesterday I made a delicious caramelized onion, goat’s cheese and Portobello mushroom pizza.  It was rich and tangy and looked dark and sultry.   I promised myself I’d take a photo of it before I tucked in but hunger got the better of me.  Just one slice and then I’ll take a pic… ok, just two.   Well, I could show you a photo of the board where the pizza *used* to be?    Ok then, well a happy goat pic will have to do.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 150 g Pasta flour (’00’ if you can get it, alternatively use any strong white flour)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 0.5 sachet (c. 3.5 g) instant yeast
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Semolina, for dusting

For the topping

  • 100 ml passata
  • A few fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Two small red onions, finely sliced
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or a few sprigs of fresh thyme)
  • 75 g goat’s cheese, crumbled (for Irish readers, I have a soft spot for a ridiculously rich and creamy, slightly sweet Goat Honey Log available at Supervalu at the cheese counter)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to at least 240 C/ 450 F.   If you have a pizza stone or pizza tray put it in now.
  2. Dough:  Sift the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into a large bowl.   Make a well in the centre and add the olive oil and about 75 ml of hand-hot water.  Bring together into a soft dough.   Tip out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for 10 mins (a good upper body workout!).   Place back into the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.
  3. Sauce:   Add the torn basil and 1 crushed garlic clove to the passata and let sit to allow the flavours to develop.
  4. Onions:   Heat a little of the olive oil on a saucepan.  Add the onions and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.   Cook over a medium heat stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes until the onions are really soft and sweet.
  5. Mushrooms:  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, the thyme, soy sauce and red wine in a large pan.   Allow to bubble and reduce a little then add the Portobello mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and the whole thing reduces a little.
  6. Assembly:   Knead the risen dough briefly before sprinkling the work surface with semolina and stretching and rolling the dough on it into the thinnest base you can manage.   Spread a few tablespoons of the passata sauce over the entire base with the back of a spoon.    Spread the mushrooms (pick them out of the liquid if there’s any left – you don’t want a soggy pizza) and onions evenly over the base and sauce.   Crumble the goat’s cheese over the whole lot before throwing into the really hot oven for about 12 minutes.
  7. Eat and enjoy!   Maybe one of you, dear reader, will have more self-discipline than me and will share a photo of your pizza creation here?