The problem with writing about food, particularly recipes, on a website such as this is that according to the nifty stats page, it has been viewed by a fair number of countries across the world now. That’s actually great, a testament to the power of the internet, but it creates a problem for me in that I write about dishes FROM across the world. What I mean is, for example, I recently had a hit on my Stir fried Indian recipe FROM India. What did they think of it?
Did they find it interesting, or did they wet themselves laughing at my attempt to create something from their wonderfully rich cuisine. Similarly, I had a hit from China on my Beef Chow Mein post. I hope they didn’t spray their cup of tea all over the screen as they read it (although I think that one was pretty hard to get wrong…).
And so, I often find myself wrapped up in ‘authenticity’. I think it’s a worthy cause and a tribute from the host country who spent years lovingly honing it. However, food IS for enjoying, right? If you prefer cream in your Carbonara, why not put it in? Or Chorizo in your Cesar Salad? I know they are not technically correct but is that the main consideration?
A lot of question marks there then but I think the answer is authentic is often the best as it’s been made that way for a reason. The flavours are well balanced for most people’s tastes.
Today, being short sunny respite in the otherwise shower of ‘number 2s’ that is the British summer of recent years, I felt like something a bit lighter and realised I had all the ingredients of Ratatouille. So, I dutifully took out the the Holy tome that is La Gastronomique which suggested simply tomatoes, courgette, aubergine (Zucchini and Egg Plant my American friends, why do we have such different names for these?) and peppers, sauted in olive oil and unspecified ‘herbs’. The wider internet suggested all sorts of extras and omissions. I was going to write about this but as usual, The Guardian has covered it already…
Roast chicken is a perfect partner for this super-healthy dish and I immediately set about making it less healthy with the addition of Chorizo. I didn’t actually intend to, but it was worth it. I gather this is pretty authentic, but either way, it was pretty tasty…
- 4 tomatoes, halved
- 1 courgette
- 1 aubergine
- 1 onion
- 1 red and 1 green pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp light olive oil
- A little extra virgin olive oil to serve.
- Thyme and parlsey (chopped – about a tbsp)
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 (or 3) chicken ‘supremes’ on the bone.
- 8 (or 12) slices Chorizo sausage.
- A little oil
- Salt and pepper
Start with the chicken: In an oven proof pan, season then fry the chicken, skin side down, under well browned. Flip over and add the Chorizo. Put in a low oven for about 25 minutes.
Slice the onion thinly and finely chop the garlic. Fry in the olive oil in a heavy pan (with a lid) until soft. Chop the vegetables into large chunks and stir into the pan gently. Add the herbs and a little salt and pepper. Put the lid on and gently simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Stir gently occasionally and add a little water to get things going if needed.
Use a temperature probe to check the chicken is just cooked in the middle (65OC/150OF should do it) without overdoing it. Leave to rest in the pan.
Season the ratatouille if needed and serve it immediately with the chicken and Chorizo with a nice Sauvignon Blanc in the garden. Nice.
Fun read! I also often wonder about the “authenticity” of my recipes, but I do think that what matters most is how good the food tastes. And chorizo-chicken-ratatouille sounds like a perfect combination!
Many thanks Darya, glad I’m not alone in thinking this!
Great photos! I like doing posts about France because I have relatives over there and I know they giggle at what I do – I just can’t read what they write in the comment section!
Cheers, but you’ll have to thank my wife for the ‘outdoor’ shoot composition, I just pressed the button 😉 See, I knew it!
Darya is correct, taste is what it’s all about, but at the same time, I’m sure that people all over the world make variations of authentic and traditional foods.
IMHO, one should write what one believes in or feels – that way if people like it, they like something special that you did 😉
Chicken, ratatouille and chorizo sounds good to me – I’ve lived in France and chorizo is quite popular!
Here, here MD! It was very nice actually, perfect for a sunny day. But you’re right, we need more pioneers than ‘me too’ recipes – onwards!
I really enjoy reading your blog. Great photography too. I’ve also had concerns about people in Countries whose food I’ve cooked reading a post I’ve written. But as you say, food is for enjoying and why not adapt.
I’m seriously going to have to use this recipe for my roast chicken blog one week.
Thans very much, much appreciated! I’m starting to get there with the photos, but some way to go. I ‘m glad everyone (so far) is thinking the same, makes my rantings seem reasonable now 😉
Phil, this looks amazing! Perfect for summer – thank you for the inspiration – I forgot how much I love ratatouille!
Thank you very much. So pleased to hear that. Funnily enough, we said the same thing, I really should make this more often!
Thanks Rosemary and many thanks to my wife for the art direction 😉
Much appreciated – thank you!
Authenticity is a tetchy topic, all I know is if it tastes good, looks good, it must be good! Having made ratatouille in class for the head chef (who is French,) almost shaking in my boots I can vouch for the ‘if its good, it’s just good food’ reasoning. By the way, we served it exactly as you have here, lovely bit of golden chicken on the side, no fuss about authenticity and pairings, (just good food!)
Whym thanks – thats great to hear. I agree ‘authenticity’ is a silly hang-up sometimes. Like you say, it’s all about the flavours.