Friday, 11 September 2009

Curried Chicken Tagine

After the ad hoc tagine meal my brother and I created in Holland a couple of weeks ago it got me thinking that I should drag out my tagine again and cook something different in it. Normally I cook lamb dishes slowly or homemade meatballs in a tomato sauce in my tagine, but I thought why not a chicken? The recipe needs a bit refining and probably would have been aided by not having a knock at the front door just as I was frying spices which subsequently ended up a little burnt, but on the whole it was alright.

1 small corn fed FR Chicken
1 Onion chunky sliced
2 cloves sliced garlic
1 heaped teaspoon each of ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and curry powder - mixed together
Chicken stock
1 cup cous cous
Handful spring onions
Handful chopped parsley

Heat the oven to 190oc and place the tagine in to warm with some water inside.
I took a huge knife and cut the chicken in half length ways. Coated it in half the spices and seasoning. Added the chicken halves skin side down into a frying pan with oil in until the skin was crispy and brown, turn to get all the chicken sealed.

Remove the chicken a place to one side whilst you add the onions, garlic and remainder of the spices to the frying pan - at this point don't burn it like I did! Add the chicken stock approx 2 cups worth and bubble away for a while.

Transfer the onions and stock to the hot tagine (having removed the water first) place the chicken halves on top, cover and put back into the oven for 45mins. Next time I think I will try adding olives or lemon pieces to give a tang.

After this remove the tagine lid and continue cooking for a further 15 minutes to crisp up the skin.

Whilst this is crisping make up your cous cous, 1 cup of cous cous per one cup of hot stock, cover with cling film and leave for 10 mins. It will end up light and fluffy, stir in the chopped parsley and spring onions.

Remove the chicken from the tagine and place onto a heap of the cous cous, thicken the remaining sauce slightly with a little flour or tomato puree and pour over.

The chicken remained very juicy and tender with this way of cooking, certainly will try this method again.

Chorizo, Vegetable & Mozzarella Pasta Bake

As you all know or can tell from my previous posts I have a great love of Chorizo, Aubergine, Cheese and Pasta and I am always on the look out for a new recipe combining all these ingredients, so I have pilfered from the great site A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit the following recipe for Chorizo, Vegetable & Mozzarella Pasta Bake, I took on board suggested alterations and combined them to make the recipe below:-

Olive oil
250g Chunky chopped chorizo
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 aubergine
350g Penne Pasta
125g Mozzarella ripped into chunks
1/2 cup grated cheddar

Heat oven to 200oc

In a frying pan add the chopped garlic to heated oil, frying for 30 seconds and before burning the garlic add the tomatoes, I then added a teaspoon each of Marjoram and Oregano. Add a little bit of sugar to take the sharpness out of the tomatoes and season. Simmer the sauce whilst you get on with the veg.

I cut the aubergine length ways into 4 and the same with the pepper, popped them skin side down into the frying pan with a dash more of oil and fried them for several minutes until they started to get a blackened skin, then turned them over for a few more mins.

Whilst all the simmering and frying is going on the pasta can be cooked in boiling water until al denté. Once drained mix with the tomato sauce in a baking dish.
Cut the cooked vegetables into bite sized chunks and mix into the pasta.

I lightly pan fried the chorizo to release all the fat from them, but before they got crispy added them to the pasta.

Topped the dish with the mozzarella and cheddar and baked in the oven for 20 mins.

Scummy, not drowning in sauce, the cheese was molten and stringy, the aubergines had a wonderful char grilled flavour.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Lamb Tagine with Sundried Tomatoes

I think was so cold at the weekend as mentioned in my last post as I had just come back from a spur of the moment trip to visit my Brother and family on Holland for my Nephew's 10th Birthday and they were having glorious weather 28oc clear blue skys and hot sunny days - it was just like being on holiday - 5 days there and I did not want to return. There was lots of glorious food on offer - I have already told you how wonderful my sister in law is at cooking so I was looking forward to a great rest and indulgence, until my brother told me that he wanted to expand his little cooking repertoire and that we were going to cook a lamb tagine. Now if he had given me warning I could have prepared a suitable recipe, but as it was I had to play it by ear. I don't think we did too bad a job.

Lamb is not a popular meat in Holland, but we did find a Butcher who had a frozen rump of Lamb - 1.5kg (their cuts are slightly different to ours) so once thawed I got Dan (the Bruv) to cut into chunks, along with a large onion.

Then pan fried them in oil with random spoonfuls of spices Cumin, Paprika, Coriander.

Pour over a jar of passata 500ml and season. Adding a couple of teaspoons of sugar to take the sharpness out of the tomatoes.

Transferred to a warmed Tagine and the into the over at 150oc for 2 hours, then we added a jar of sun dried tomatoes and returned to the oven for a further 1/2 hour.

Served with a huge bowl of cous cous cooked with a vegetable stock and lots of finely sliced spring onions.

The meat was lovely and tender and although codged together it turned out tasty enough and not too spicy for the kids to enjoy.

Lamb Shoulder with Shallots

Autumn has sprung upon us! Not the usual stealthy drift from sunny summer days to lazy Autumn warmth - No this was a subtle as a brick - 1st of September cold, blustery weather knocking all the leaves off the trees. I think even the weather was fed up with the truly awful Summer we had endured and decided on a clean break into Autumn.

Shh, don't tell hubby but I had to put the heating on briefly yesterday as I was so cold, but it did mean that I felt justified in defrosting a half shoulder of lamb ready for a long slow cook - perfect Autumnal comfort food.

I got a pack of shallots - approx 20 fairly small and sweet, peeled them and put them in the bottom of a lidded ovenproof pan.
Seasoned and oiled the lamb popped it on top of the shallots, tossed in a few sprigs of rosemary added some chicken stock - up to halfway covering the lamb and the into the oven at 160oc for 2.5 hours.

Remove the lamb and some shallots onto carving dish and then I put it back into the oven turning the heat off - this gave enough time to brown the meat on top and leave it to rest with out drying it out.

With the remainder of the shallots and stock, which are pretty mushy at this point, mush them up even further and add flour and further seasoning to make a lovely sweet and herby gravy. Served with crushed potatoes and peas (I know, I know my favourite accompaniments).