Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chicken Casserole

What an unromantic name for what was a gorgeous dinner. One of the great things about being single (i'd count on my fingers to find the others but strangely i find myself mittened) is that you cook what you want ALWAYS. My Always tends to include multiple cloves of garlic (memo to self-please cross reference with being single....).A great recipe for the workin goyl with an oven timer is the following:

chicken thigh and drumstick, skin banished to the bin where it belongs if you want to wear the trousers you wore last year. I rarely use breast cos it's basically chicken cardboard.

2 cloves of garlic, crushed _buy a a microplane grater-expensive but you'll never regret it

about 6 cherry tomatoes, halved, or use 2 normal ones cut in quarters

salt n' pepper-try to use sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3 shallots, cut up roughly or use an onion

lots of fresh herbs plus a half tsp of fennel seeds-use a chopped fennel bulb if available-more about that anon

separate the leg and thigh and put it in Pyrex dish or any ovenproof dish that has an accompanying lid (tinfoil will work too but just not as well-wrap it tightly if using). Add the other ingredients plus a dash of any kind of wine-i usually have a slug left over from my nefarious doings the nite before when i have come to my senses and think that as long as i don't drink the whole bottle, my GP sister won't give out to me...  Add in about 2 oz or about 1/3 cup of rice (I used Arborio this time-great!) Put the lid or tinfoil on. Put in oven and don't do as i do and go to work and forget to set the timer. If you don't know to use the timer-learn!!

About 1 hour cooks this wonderfully. You come home to gorgeous smells and voila, you can watch Dr. Who and feels smug at the same time. What's not to like? This works also with a pork or lamb chop. Adapt your herbs accordingly-mint or rosemary for lamb-sage for pork. 

About fresh herbs: i buy them fresh and then chop them up with a mezzaluna-try to get double bladed but a big knife will do. Then i freeze them in little bags in one big herb bag.  Just ladle them out with a spoon-they retain all the freshness of fresh herbs.Thyme will separate after a while from its stalks so just bung it all in and wait! Rosemary-not so good but will do for a casserole. Basil will only chop with a knife. Roll it into cigars first. Use everything with coriander-stalks and all. the same applies to ginger -peel it and chop it into 1" chunks. Chillies- chop up with mezzaluna!! Use gloves or wash your hands and don't touch your eyes (or balls so a male friend tells me-better not ask...) for ages after. Between the herbs, chillies and ginger, you can make all sorts of stuff and only buy the meat and veggies for it. I also always have a tin of coconut milk in the house, likewise naam pla, chinese rice wine, dark soy sauce and sesame oil.

It's funny to write this knowing that no one's reading it! Who cares? Better that way than i should set myself up as some kind of blog clown. 

On a completely different note, i included the above recipe cos it's really low fat and i am currently a Weight Watcher slave.  Have lost 21 lbs since January and god, i'd really go a round of my Mum's roast spuds right now! Down 4 lbs at WW yesterday-went shopping for holidays clothes as a result. As usual, arms like hams but eventually found 2 tops. Buoyed up by this, i insouciantly entered the 3/4 length trouser nightmare. Emerged 20 minutes as a size 20 having gone in as a size 14. Will i never learn?? As Etta James could well have put it (judging from her photos)-I'd rather go blind, than to see those treetrunks, walkin away with me...

Oh well, bring on the Melba toast-bet Nellie Melba never envisaged herself as a WW flagbearer-weren't those Edwardians toasting this rather rotund soprano for her voice rather than her rotundity?


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