Poached Chicken

Most Sundays we have a traditional roast dinner. This week I only had skinless chicken breasts in the fridge and I have always found roasting chicken breasts usually results in dry tough chicken. If using chicken portions, my preference is to use chicken thighs and legs.

So, in the end I sliced into the chicken, added a stuffing consisting of onion, mushrooms and basil. This I then wrapped in foil before poaching for twenty minutes. After cooking, I let them rest for at least five minutes before opening the foil parcels and slicing them.

PotatoesWith them I did some roast potatoes. Firstly you need to use the right kind of potatoes. It’s not as simple as buying any kind, the cheapest or whatever. This time I went with King Edward (as that was all that was available in the shop, well there were other varieties, but no Maris Piper.

After peeling and cutting into chunks the potatoes are blanched in boiling water for about 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks. Now the size if dependent on how you like your roast poatoes and how long you have to cook them. Obviously smaller chunks means a shorter cooking time, whilst larger chunks though take longer are preferred by some people.

While the potatoes are blanched, place the roasting tray into the oven, with a good splash of olive oil and one of sunflower oil. The key here is to heat the pan and the oil. I put the pan into the hot oven (with the oil added) for at least five minutes, not too long though.

After blanching the potatoes, drain and the key here is to let the heat dry the potatoes. If they go into the pan “wet” they won’t crisp up well. The next stage is to slightly “bash” the potatoes by shaking the colander or sieve, this will aid the crisping process too. Then remove the roasting pan from the oven and add the potatoes, turning them and maybe a little more “bashing”.

You should also ensure that the potatoes are not too crowded, in other words they need air to be crisp.

Cooked for thirty to forty minutes (larger potatoes take longer). It is a good idea to turn the potatoes half way through to ensure a more even crispness. The end result should be tasty, crisp potatoes with a fluffy centre.

I also roasted some parsnips, carrots and onions. These I just cut into chunks. Place in a bowl, add some olive oil, mix to ensure the vegetables are well coated before placing in a hot oven for about twenty to thirty minutes.

Ready for roastingIn addition in another roasting pan, I took some diced onion, sliced courgette, mushrooms and halved cherry tomatoes, these I roasted with a good dash of olive oil for ten minutes before adding some cubes of bread that soak up the juices and crisp up. Usually I will add these ingredients to the roasting tray I have roasted the meat in. However as I was poaching I just used a plain tray.

For gravy I made my own with a roux of butter, oil and flour to which I add stock and some red wine. Cook for at least five minutes.

To add colour and freshness I steamed some carrots, green beans and broccoli to serve with the meal.

Herb Roasted Chicken

Take some fresh herbs and mince finely. I used flat leaf parsley, rosemary, sage and basil (basically what I had available).

Add to a bowl of chicken thighs and drumsticks, add olive oil and back pepper. Though you can use a spoon, generally your hands work better, mix the chicken in the oil and herb mix until all the chicken is coated. Leave for at least ten minutes, thirty is better.

Roast on a bed of root vegetables for about 30-40 minutes.

I served the chicken with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli.

A nice green salad

 A nice green salad

One of the things I like to have with a meal is a nice and simple green salad.

A few mixed leaves, maybe some tomato. Dressed with olive oil and white wine vinegar and some freshly ground black pepper.

Simple yet delicious and refreshing.

Poached Chicken

I do quite like poaching chicken, it allows me to cook chicken quickly and keep is tender and moist.

However the downside is that it can look a bit unappetising.

Here is what I did recently when poaching chicken, though it might be worthwhile talking about the poaching itself.

I take a pan of water, add some herbs, some onion, a carrot and if I had other veg I add that.

I bone the chicken and place in the pan and simmer for ten minutes.

Remove allow to dry for a while.

I then place the cooked chicken onto a roasting tray, and drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

I then roast them in a hot oven for ten minutes to give them some colour.

As a result quickly cooked moist and tender chicken with colour.

I served it with a vegetable risotto.


Pan Roasted Chicken

One dish I seem to make much more on a regular basis is pan roasted chicken.

Pan Roasted Chicken

This is an easy and quicker dish than a simple roast chicken in many ways.

Start off with some chicken, either joint a whole chicken, or buy some thighs and legs (they have more flavour).

Place them in a pan with onions, pepper, pancetta, mushrooms, cubes of bread, herbs and a good dash of olive oil.

You can add other things as well such as sweet potato, parsnip, partially cooked potato, tomatoes, sausages and courgettes if you so wish.

Roast in a hot oven for about thirty to forty minutes.

The bread is a key as this will soak up the wonderful juices.

Mozzarella Salad

This is a quick and easy salad or starter.

Take a mozzarella ball and cut into thin slices, arrange on a plate.

Add some sliced tomatoes, I actually used halved cherry tomatoes. You can either interleave the tomato with the mozzarella or place the tomato halves in the middle of the plate.

Scatter some small basil leaves across the cheese and tomato.

Dress with some white wine vinegar, some fine olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.


Pork with white wine and pancetta

Last night I cooked a very nice meal and it only took 15 minutes from scratch.


Pork medallions (or you could use loin steaks, pork chops or tenderloin)

Olive oil

Black pepper


Green beans

For the sauce





White wine

Creme frache

So first boil the kettle with fresh water to cook the rice and the green beans.

Whilst the kettle is boiling put two pans on for the pork and the sauce. Add a dash of olive oil to both pans. When the oil is hot, add the pork (ensure it is dry) to one and the pancetta to the other.

Ensure the rice is washed, I now use basmati rice all the time, in the main as it cooks easily without sticking and only takes ten minutes. Put separate pans on for the rice and the beans. Time the rice for ten minute, the beans should be cooked after ten minutes as well.

Once the pancetta is cooked, add the onion, finely chopped.

Check the pork, turning if needed.

Once the onion is softened add a spoonful of flour to the pancetta and onion and stir well, then add a good dash of white wine. When it starts to thicken take off the heat.

When the pork is cooked, remove to a warm plate and allow to rest, this will make it tender.

Deglaze the pork pan, by adding a good dash of white wine. Add the pancetta and onion sauce and a couple of large spoonfuls of creme frache, add the parsely and freshly ground black pepper.


Put the rice on the plate, you can just spoon it on, if you have more than fifteen minutes then I use a ramekin, spoon the rice into the ramekin and then upturn onto the plate, looks neater than a spoonfuls of rice.

You can either leave the pork whole, or slice depending on what you prefer.

Cover the pork with the sauce.

Serve with the green beans.

Fifteen minutes from entering the kitchen to on the table.


Cannelli Bean Salad

I was inspired to make this by a cannelli and chorizo salad I found in Morrisons, but decided I wanted to make it myself using fresh(ish) ingredients.

Cannelli Bean Salad

I took one can of cannelli beans, I did think about using dried, but tinned are so much easier (no cooking required). These were washed, drained and put in a bowl.

I added some good olive oil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, cooked pancetta and red pepper, chopped sun dried tomatoes and a good grind of black pepper.