Chicken potpie

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In short, this is such a good chicken pie,  it is totally worthwhile to endure cooking process. It is arguably one of the best I have ever had. It is hard to believe this dish actually start from, God forgive, leftovers…

A few shortcuts, though: I used pre-made pastry. I know – home made pastry is not that hard to do. But, I didn’t feel brave enough for it… and, the one in the supermarket is also perfectly fine for this purpose…  If you don’t have any chicken leftovers, and need to cook it from scratch, add some herbs and vegetables when boiling it (this recipe work just fine). Everything else is so tasty, it is a crying shame to put in some bland rubbery chicken.

Chicken potpie (adapted from Thomas Keller‘s Ad hoc at home)

Ingredients

2 sheets of basic pie pastry

Chicken Pie Filling

  • 1 cup of potatoes cut in about 6cm  pieces
  • 1 1/4 of carrots cut diagonally in 6cm pieces
  • 12 white pearl onions
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 24 black peppercorns
  • 1 1/4 cups of 4-6cm of pieces of celery,  cut on the diagonally
  • 2 cups of shredded cooked chicken

Béchamel sauce

  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups of whole milk
  • 1 salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

Roll out the dough and line the baking tray with one of the sheets. Put the other one a plate. Refrigerate both.

Place the potatoes, carrots and onions in a saucepan with the bay, thyme and peppercorns.  Top with cold water to cover. Gently bring to a simmer. Cook  until just tender, about 8-10min (the original recipe asked for each vegetable to cooked in individual pans, but I just put everything together in the same one). Once cooked, drain the water and discard bay, thyme, and peppercorns. Cut the onions in 2 and set aside to cool.

Blanch the celery for just over a minute in a large pot of boiling salted water, until they are tender/crispy. Drain and let it cool in a bowl of iced water. Set aside with the other vegetables

You can now start the béchamel. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed so the mixture does not brown. Whisk in the milk, lower the heat to keep the bechamel at a gentle simmer, and cook, whisking ofter to ensure it doesn’t burn. It should take about 30-40minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 2 cups. Season to taste with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and cayenne.

Put the oven racks in the lower third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 190 oC (about 375oF).

Remove the pastry sheets rom the refrigerator. Scatter the vegetables and chicken into the pie shell. Pour the béchamel over them. Moisten the rim of pie shell with some of the beaten egg. Cover the filling with the top crust and press the edges of the dough together to seal. Trim away the excess dough that overhangs the rim. Brush the top crust with the egg. Cut a small vent in the center of the dough with the tip of a paring knife to allow the steam to escape.

Bake on the lower oven rack until the crust is a rich golden brown, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If necessary, move the pie to the centre rack during the last 10 minutes of baking to brown the crust. On the other hand, if crust is browning too quickly, cover with aluminium foil.

Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes.

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Baked chicken with chorizo and roasted vegetables

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Everyday food with low calories… Not sure why Hairy Dieters claim this is a Spanish style, though. Probably is the chorizo and the roasted garlic…  In any case, it is cheap and cheerful with delicious flavours, from the sweetness of the baked onion to the spiciness of the chorizo.

Baked chicken with chorizo and roasted vegetables (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, cut in 8 wedges
  • 1 medium red onion, cut in 8 wedges
  • 500g new potatoes, quartered lenghways
  • 8 whole garlic, unpeeled
  • 8 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 75g chorizo, preferably hot and spicy
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken tights
  • ½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 green pepper, deseed and cut into strips
  • salt and pepper

 Method

Pre heat the oven to 200oC. Put the onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin and season with salt and lots of freshly grounded black pepper. Toss everything together lightly and roast for 20min

While the vegetables are roasting, skin the chorizo and cut the meat into thin slices. Put the chickens on a board and carefully slash each one 2 or 3 times with a knife. Season all over with black pepper. Mix the paprika and oregano together and set aside.

Take the roasting tin out of the oven, scatter the chorizo over the vegetables and turn everything a couple of times. Place the chicken on the top of the vegetables and chorizo and sprinkle with paprika and oregano. Return to the oven and adjust the temperature to 220oC. Leave in the oven for another 20min, or until the chicken is golden and crisp. Every now and again, take the tin out of the oven drizzle the juices over the chicken. As you eat, squeeze the garlic out of the skins.


Roasted new potatoes and asparagus with baked eggs

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Summer is apparently today, with a whooping 23 oC expected… And, oh praise the Lord!, it is a not a weekday! Before rushing to the lake, my favourite recipe for this season… Have already done it several times this “spring”-   not minor thing, considering I have a childhood trauma related to asparagus (swallowed hairpin, please ask my mother for details).

Roast new potatoes and asparagus with baked eggs (adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients 

  • 600-700g new potatoes, cleaned and cut into small chunks
  • 5-6 whole garlic cloves, bashed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 400g asparagus
  • 4 eggs

Method

Heat the oven to 190 oC. Put the potatoes into a roasting dish with the garlic. Sprinkle over the oil, add plenty of salt and pepper, toss and roast for 30 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, snap the woody ends off the asparagus and cut the spears into 3-4cm lengths. When the potatoes are tender, add the spears, toss and roast for 15 minutes more, until the asparagus is tender.

Now create four little spaces among the veg for the eggs, arranging the potatoes and asparagus pieces into holes more or less stable. Working quickly, so everything stays hot, break an egg into each space, then return the dish to the oven for about four minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks still runny.

Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the eggs, serve.


Baked onions and potatoes with romesco sauce

Autumn flavors – roasted potatoes and onions with a nutty sauce to go with it….. hearty food with rich flavors, different textures and enough substance to satisfy your appetite. And, once you have enough romesco sauce on stock, very easy and quick.

Romesco sauce  (adapted from Ferran Adrià’s The Family Meal)

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 60mL of olive oil
  • 70g toasted blanched hazelnuts
  • 200 of sliced white country-style bread
  • 50 mL of sherry vinegar (fifty, not five hundred)
  • 240g of roasted peppers (Adrià recommends Chorizero pepper paste, but I was not able to source. I replaced it an equivalent quantity of with preserved roasted peppers)

Method Pre heat the oven to 200 oC Put the tomato and head of garlic in a roasted tray and cook for about 45min or until is tender and blackened. Peel the tomatoes and garlic cloves and put into a big bowl (more likely, you will have to squeeze the garlic). Roast the hazelnuts in a pan with a bit of olive oil over medium heat, until they are dark golden. Remove, drain with a kitchen paper and set aside. Fry the bread with a bit of olive oil, and break to small pieces with your hands. Add the vinegar, nuts, bread, fried bread and peppers to the bowl where the tomato and garlic are. Process with a hand held blender to make a coarse paste. Blend in the olive oil until smooth. Baked potatoes (adapted from Ferran Adrià’s The Family Meal) Ingredients 

  • 1 baking potato per person
  • 2 small onions per person
  • Salt to taste

Method Pre heat the oven to 200 oC Wrap each potato in aluminum foil Put in a roasting tray and bake for about 45min or until the potatoes are soft  and onion skins are charred. Cut the potatoes and the onions in half. Season with salt to taste. Serve with the romesco sauce.


Pizza Bianca with Potato and Anchovies

You don’t like tomato sauce on your pizza? Don’t worry, we have  have something for you: a pizza bianca, courtesy of Gary Mehigan and Masterchef Australia  This elegant combination of flavours and textures is so good, you  will have you wish you had made two pizzas. The Classic Pizza Margherita  is good, but this one is something else…

Pizza Bianca with Potato and Anchovies

Ingredients

  •  semolina and plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 x 120g dough portion (I used already made pizza dough)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated (I replaced it with granna padano)
  • ½ cup aged provolone, coarsely grated (I replaced it with Gruyere)
  • 1 waxy potato, such as Desiree, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup wild rocket leaves, washed, drained (I replaced it with baby spinach)
  • 60g buffalo mozzarella, torn
  • 6 anchovy fillets (optional) (only had anchovy filled with cappers, so used it instead).

Method 

Place an unglazed terracotta tile into an oven and heat to 250°C. Sprinkle a clean work surface with semolina and flour and use your fingers or rolling pin to stretch out the dough until about 25cm in diameter or to desired thickness. Dust a wooden paddle or sheet of baking paper with semolina and flour and place dough on top.

Step 2: In a small bowl add garlic, 1 sprig of rosemary, 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt. Brush the dough with the oil.

Step 3: Combine cheeses and scatter over dough, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Strip leaves from remaining rosemary and sprinkle over dough.

Step 4: Lay the potato slices evenly over the dough. Brush with oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

Step 5: Slide pizza onto hot terracotta tile and bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove pizza from oven. Brush the crust with olive oil.

Step 6: Mix rocket with remaining olive oil and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Scatter mozzarella, anchovies, and rocket over pizza. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve.


Mash with a twist

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A mash is a mash is a mash. That is, mashed potatoes. Boil the potatoes, add butter and milk, salt and pepper and then mash. But, a special dinner calls for a special dish. After a brief consult with Todpop, I decided to give it a go to Nigella‘s mash with a twist.

Mash with a twist

Ingredients

  • 1.2 Kg starchy potatoes
  • 0.6 Kg parsnips (also known as pastinaki)
  • 300 mL buttermilk (or diluted cream)
  • 1 root of ginger broken down in pieces.
  • olive oil
  • Asian sesame toasted oil to taste

Method

Peel the potatoes and the parsnips and put them to cook with the ginger root. When cooked, take out the ginger.

Put the potatoes in a big glass bowl, and add the sesame oil, the olive oil,  the buttermilk and salt&pepper to taste. Mash the all the ingredients. Once they are mashed, fluff them with a wooden spoon.

Nigella – also know as the Queen of porn food – explains how to do this mash in this TV appearance.


Tortilla de patata [Spanish omelette]

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No matter how much effort, love and care you put into it, someone mother’s tortilla will be always better than yours. And don’t even mention the supreme interpretation of this Spanish classic done by all Mothers-in-Law – specially yours. To stay away from trouble, I use the recipe I found in the book: Tapas: Simple Flavours, Striking Combinations by Carlos Horrillo and Patrick Morcas, and call it potato and caramelized onion omelette.

Tortilla de patata [Spanish omelette]

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Kg Desiree red potatoes (I use 1Kg of parboiled roesti potatoes. Most Spanish Mothers and Mothers-in-Law would be horrified if they knew).
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion (always a controversial topic. For some, a proper tortilla de patata has nothing but eggs and potatoes; others would call the thought an heresy).
  • knob of butter
  • 10 eggs (no typo: it is indeed ten eggs you are going to need).
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Peel the potatoes, cut them in half, and then cut each half into slices 1.5cm thick. Place in a pan of cold, salter water ad bring the to the boil. Parboil, or until just tender enough to pierce with a knife. Drain and leave to one side.

In a large, non-stick frying pan, around 30cm in diameter (preferably with slopping side because it will make turning the tortilla easier later on), place 12 dashes of olive oil and put on a low to medium heat (this is liberal quantity of olive oil – enough to cover the bottom of the pan with a thick film). Toss in the sliced onions and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and start to fry them. Once the onions start to sizzle, turn the heat down to low and add the knob of butter. Cook the onions until they are soft and golden, and then remove them with a slotted spoon and place to one side.

Return the pan to medium heat, and add the par-boiled potatoes, a generous pinch of salt and a small pinch of pepper. Fry gently for 2 minutes, turning frequently or until the potatoes are lightly crisp and and golden on the outside while soft on the inside. Just before they are done, return the onions to the pan, stir them well and cook them together for about a minute. When done, remove everything with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to one side. You will need the oil that was left at the pan for later.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add 2 generous pinch of salt, a small pinch of pepper and beat lightly together. Add the cooked potato and onion mixture and still well. Leave to stand for a few minutes, to allow the ingredients to marry.

Return the pan to medium to high head, add 6 more dashes of olive oil (again, until you have a thick oil film that covers the surface of the pan. Tilt the pan until the bottom is well coated. Do not forget to do is, or else you have parts of the tortilla firmly sticked to the bottom of the pan. Not a nice tortilla technique…). Heat the oil until smoking hot, then poor in the egg mixture, moving the pan in a gentle, circular motion to distribute the ingredients evenly and prevent the eggs to stick and burn. Cook for about 30 seconds, then turn down the heat to medium low, and cook for further 4 minutes, shacking the pan gently every so often. Do not stir! (Seriously, do not! If you stir, it will be a completely different dish). When the tortilla start to bubble on the side, it is time to turn over. If this the first time at doing this, prepare for a mess (let’s face the facts – it will get messy. It took a few times before Mr Burntsugar got the hang of it, but now he is an expert. I am more on the supervision and management side of things).

Find a suitable plate, large enough to cover the face of the pan with space to spare, and sit it face down on top. Hold firmly onto the handle of the pan with one hand and use the other hand to press down firmly the plate. Now, in one fast move, lift the pan of the stove and flip it over onto the plate. Remove the pan (hopefully, there’ll be little, if anything, left stuck to the base, and not a horrible mess to clean in the kitchen). Clean thoroughly the pan with kitchen paper roll. It is very important the bottom of the pan has no egg leftovers and burnt egg stick to it. Set down the pan while you add 12 more dashed of olive oil and tilt the pan to make sure the bottom is coated with a thick film of olive oil. When the oil is smoking hot, carefully slide the half cooked tortilla into the pan to cook on the other side. You might need to shake the pan gently and tuck in the sides of the tortilla with a wooden spatula because they will probably look a bit jagged. Allow the tortilla to cook in hight heat for about 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to medium low heat and cook for further 4 minutes. This should leave you with a tortilla moist in the middle (when the tortilla is this cooked to its point is another heated controversy). If you are the ones who prefer it firmer, cook it for a few minutes more, preferably before carbonization. When the tortilla is cooked to your taste, slide it onto a clean plate to cool down slightly. Serve it warm, at room temperature, cut in slice, in little cubes…