I was recently lucky enough to win a copy of Diana Henry’s wonderful book, A Bird in the Hand, full of tempting things to do with chicken. I’ve found two great recipes already and have little post it notes marking many more I want to try out. The book came from Morley Butchers – so a big thank you to them!
A few weeks ago we stayed with the Cardiff branch of the Battenburg clan and as my brother in law (the chef on that side of the family) was working late, I stepped into the kitchen and made Diana’s mustard chicken, with spicy black beans and avocado salsa. The children rejected out of hand all the accompaniments but loved the chicken. Although they were slightly taken aback afterwards to hear that there were spices involved. The grown ups loved the lot.
By coincidence my brother in law was staying with us for my second foray into the book. Everything was rather delayed by Missy B leaving her braces at my brother’s house in Essex, meaning I had to deposit her with her London grandparents to get some homework done, while I went back to meet up with my brother halfway back to Colchester to retrieve the braces… So dinner was late and we were all too hungry to worry about taking photographs. This is the aftermath.
I chose thyme roasted chicken with Breton onion sauce – a nice warming dish for a horrible wet day (first day of September…) Due to earlier delays, I had texted the shopping list to my brother in law, who was able to get everything except Calvados. Well, he could have got some from Prohibition Wines, but the man there very reasonably suggested that a bottle at around £50 was not right for cooking. I would only have used a couple of tablespoons, but even so, I was glad Mark didn’t splash out on that. We debated whether Poire William (bought for a previous dessert and successfully hidden from Mr B) would work instead – obviously a ridiculous first world problem. We decided to give it a whirl – it may not have been right, but the sauce was truly delicious. It’s a béchamel sauce, enriched with lots of finely chopped onion (fortunately Mark ignored my text request for 450 onions – I forgot to specify that I was referring to grammes not individual onions), sweated very slowly in butter, with a bit of creme fraiche plus the aforementioned Poire William. The roast chicken was great – very succulent and tasty. Served with some crushed potatoes and green beans – perfect simple accompaniments for a rich chicken dish.
Oh and Missy B also left her glasses in Colchester, it now turns out…