Roast Chicken and Ratatouille

Ratatouille and Roast Chicken

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…

Ratatouille Ingredients

Serves 2-3

  • 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.

IMG_0539-imp

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.

Ratatouille MixedIMG_0566-imp

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Really Quick Pork and Beans Chilli

Pork and Bean Chilli

Sometimes, but only sometimes mind you, a meal just comes together completely unplanned and turns out better you’d expected.

Last night was the end of a very long week and I’d planned to phone out for pizza to be honest. But, after a quick route forage through the fridge, freezer and cupboard (much to Helen’s despair – the kitchen was immaculately tidy until then) I came across these ingredients and the “pork and bean chilli” was ‘on’.

I had some minced pork in the freezer and chorizo, which to be honest I always seem to have, in the fridge. I added a lot of chilli to this though as I had quite a few to use up that were beginning to look a little long in the tooth. I’m not one of those pretentious guys who insist on sweating and wincing their way through a meal if it involves chilli as some form of ‘test’, but occaisionally I’m in the mood!

I used a carton of pasata for speed along with chipotle sauce and some sweet smoked paprika for a rich smoky background. I realised after these are most of the flavours in pulled pork – maybe that was the secret….

300g pork mince
100g chorizo. Skinned, halved and thinly sliced.
1 garlic clove
2 green chillis, sliced thinly – seeds and all plus extra to serve.
1 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
1tsp cumin, ground
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chipotle sauce
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced.
1 can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pasata (400g)
Salt.

In a large pan, simply fry off the garlic, onions and chilli and continue until the onions have softened. Add the pork and chorizo and brown nicely

Next put in the paprika, cumin, and beans and stir well.

Cover with the pasata, a little water,  the sugar and chipotle sauce and simmer for a few minutes with the lid off.

Serve with rice and extra sliced chilli ( 😉 )

Pork and bean chilli chipotle