Hi guys, remember me?
I realise VSPP has gone slightly AWOL in the past couple of weeks due to my ineptitude with technology, accidentally breaking the Wi-Fi on my first night in my new flat. Luckily I live with a so-laidback-he’s-practically-horizontal flatmate, who hasn’t killed me much for my wonderful first-impression mistake. So my first chance to get back on the web has seen me brush Lovefilm aside and get cracking with some blog posts. Who knows when I will finally get the net back? I’m not taking any chances.
So here I am in a First Class seat (not a big expense, the seat was £3 more expensive than standard) heading up to Aberdeen after a fabulous weekend of wine and food, with a little Cosmopolitan Blog Awards thrown in the middle. It was such good fun; I met a ton of lovely people and will give you a little insight to what it was like in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!
Anyway, I suppose I should get down to business and update you about my move to Aberdeen. A couple of weeks ago I made the thrice life-changing move to the top of Scotland to a new city, new flat and (most importantly) new job. It’s terrifying, fast paced and completely different to anything I have encountered before. I utterly love it.
The move up north hasn’t come without its pitfalls. There was the insane weather a couple of Tuesday’s ago that left my connecting bus accidentally hit by a rather large tree, my brolly fancying an adventure and sailing off into the sunset and my central belt winter coat pointing and laughing at me, when what I really need is an arctic puffa. Yes, the weather is at best cold and at worst hurricane like, but I am battening down the hatches and diving headfirst into one pan cooking.
This recipe was earmarked as soon as Shutterbean had clicked publish on WordPress. The large Le Creuset pan filled with liberally curried chicken and fluffy coconut rice practically screamed MAKE ME when I read it. I dutifully obliged and I have been snacking on the leftovers ever since.
The beauty of this particular one pot dish is that it is rather cheap to make. Although expensive items like coconut milk and fresh herbs (which I left out as I had forgotten to buy them) may seem like needless commodities, you are actually allowing yourself to buy nicer store cupboard items due to the fact you are jointing a £4 chicken into ten tasty pieces. 40p for a piece of chicken! It’s an utter bargain! Of course, you do need to take a little time to do it, but the results are worth it. I am conscious of the fact that mere words cannot really do instructions for this kitchen essential justice, so feel free to YouTube to get a visual guide. The extra added bonus is a fresh carcass for stock making, and if you take a slow Sunday to bring a pan of cold water with said carcass, half an onion and two garlic cloves to the boil for a few hours, you will have an unbeatable reduced stock that is perfect for a chicken noodle broth.
As for the eponymous dish, the flavours are extraordinary. Crispy skinned chicken flavoured with beautiful curry spices baked with fragrant coconut rice, nestled with sweet onion and garlic. So simple and delicious, yet packing a delicious punch. The best part is settling down on the sofa on a Sunday with a glass of wine and a big bowl, safe in the knowledge that no matter how many times you go for seconds, there will still be plenty left for lunchboxes for the coming week.
Adapted from Shutterbean
You Will Need
1 whole chicken
1 teaspoon ground cayenne chilli pepper
4 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 white onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons tomato puree
400g can of light coconut milk
2 cups of basmati rice
2 cups water
Firstly prep the chicken. Remove the string and place breast side down on a chopping board, legs nearest to you. Using a jointing knife (long, slightly curved and thin knife) slice a line right down the backbone, just hitting the bone. Tilt your knife so it is on a slant, and begin to make small cuts along the ribs down one side, removing the meat from the bones. As you slice down, you will find the joints for the wings and thighs. Simply wiggle each joint a little to loosen and cut through any silage to remove from the main bones. Cut as far as possible then stop. Repeat on the other side so that the bird is mostly flat. Begin to carefully cut up the breast bone, trying to keep as much meat as possible on the bird. You will be able to cut right through, but the one part that will remain is the wishbone. Carefully cut down this fiddly bone to remove from the meat and you should have a flat chicken with the ribcage removed.
Now to portion. Begin by slicing down the middle of the breasts to create two halves. Then find the wing joint and remove from the breast, cutting to separate the two. Remove the tip of the wing (the pointed part) as this has barely any meat and is much better used in the stock. Cut the breast lengthways to create two smaller pieces. Separate the thigh from the leg in the same manner, cutting between the joint and separating. Remove any excess skin as this will add unnecessary oil to the overall dish. Repeat with the other half.
Now you should have 10 pieces of chicken, a carcass and wing tips. You could freeze the breasts to use in another dish or create stock with the bones. Try to use as much as possible, as it is far better to use the whole bird well than throwing out needless waste.
Whisk together the cayenne pepper, curry powder and salt and sprinkle over the portioned chicken. Coat well and either leave to rest or continue cooking. On the hob, heat a small amount of oil in a large casserole pot and begin to brown the chicken in small batches, skin side down first to crisp up and then the other side to a golden brown colour. Rest on a plate as you prepare the vegetables. Turn down the heat a little and fry the onion, garlic and ginger together until golden, roughly 7-8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute, then add the coconut milk, rice and water.
Bring to the boil then nestle the chicken on top. Cover and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the rice tender. Sprinkle with fresh herbs such as parsley if you have any and serve in warmed bowls with a glass of wine. Perfect winter comfort food.