Asian-influenced chicken and coconut “paella”

This is Tyler Florence’s Asian version of a Spanish paella which is gorgeous. The chicken thighs are lightly crusted with crushed coriander seeds then sauteed and tucked into basmati rice that has been simmered in sweet coconut milk and ginger. Need I say any more?

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Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup coriander seeds
8 chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups basmati rice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Pea Salad
1 cup frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
A small handful of fresh mint leaves
1 bunch watercress
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Mint leaves for garnish
Lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Coarsely crack the coriander by either pulsing in a spice grinder, wrapping the seeds in a tea towel and crushing them with a rolling pin or grinding them in a pepper grinder on a coarse setting.
Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper and sprinkle all over with the cracked coriander.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep ovenproof skillet. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down and give them a good sear for 4 to 5 mins to develop a nice crust.
Turn and cook for 4 to 5 mins on the other side to brown the meat. Take the chicken out of the pan.

Put another 2 tbsp of olive oil in the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, ginger and bay leaf, and cook, stirring for 4 to 5 mins, until the onion is soft but not colored.
Now you’ve got all this great flavor going on in the bottom of the pan; chicken drippings, onion, ginger and bay leaf. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two until the grains are well coated with oil. Stir in the lemon zest. Now add the broth and coconut milk and bring that to a simmer.
Tuck in the chicken thighs, put the whole thing in the oven, and bake, uncovered, until the rice is tender and bound by a creamy sauce and the chicken is entirely cooked through,about 30 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf.

When the chicken is done, put the peas, mint and watercress into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and give it a good toss. Taste for seasoning. To serve take a big spoon and scoop out some chicken and rice and garnish each plate with the pea salad

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Lemon-poached chicken with lots of roasted garlic

This is a Tom Kine recipe from rural France. Don’t be put off by the quantity of garlic – when roasted, it becomes very sweet and loses it’s pungency. A great way to eat – just roll up your sleeves and dig in! This dish can be made with a whole chicken in much the same way, but you will need more wine and stock and will have to cook the meat for longer.

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Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
Chicken thighs, drumsticks and chicken breasts, skin on (enough for four people)
20 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 glass dry white wine
Zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1 lemon
Sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
17 fl oz chicken stock
1 French baguette
20 flat parsley leaves

Heat a heavy-bottomed casserole pan over a medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the chicken pieces, skin-side down, to cover the bottom of the pan. If the chicken won’t fit in one layer, you will have to cook it in two batches. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Add the garlic cloves. Tip off any excess oil, add the wine to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until reduced.

Add the lemon zest and juice, thyme and bay leaves. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the stock. Cover the pan with a lid and turn down the heat. Gently simmer for 20 minutes.

After this time, check to see that the chicken is cooked by inserting a small sharp knife into the chicken flesh, just by the bone. If the juice runs clear then the meat is done. If the juice is still pink then cook for a little more time.

Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish. Roughly chop the parsley and scatter over the top.

Cut the French bread into slices and toast them.

Place the slices of toast in a bowl alongside the chicken. Let each person squeeze the soft garlic out of its papery skin on to the pieces of toast, which can then be used to soak up the juice.

Coconut-braised chicken with chorizo and potatoes

This is a wonderful mash-up of Central and South American ingredients – coconut, Mexican chorizo, cilantro and lime.

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2 tbsp canola oil
6 whole chicken legs (2 pounds)
Kosher salt
Pepper
1/2 lb fresh Mexican chorizo
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 dried chili de árbol, broken in half
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 lb baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Gremolata
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus sprigs
7 coffee beans, finely crushed (1/2 teaspoon)
2 tsp finely grated lime zest

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 425°.
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Working in 2 batches, brown the chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes per batch.
Transfer the chicken to a large plate.
Add the chorizo and onion to the casserole 
and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the ginger, garlic and chili and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add the coconut milk, potatoes and chicken to the casserole and bring to a simmer.
Cover and braise in the oven for about 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through.
Stir in the lime juice and butter and season with salt. 


Meanwhile, make the gremolata.
In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
Spoon the braised chicken and potatoes into shallow bowls.
Garnish with the gremolata 
and cilantro sprigs and serve with lime wedges. 


Make Ahead
The braised chicken can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently

Asian lemongrass coq au vin

Fresh, sliced lemongrass, shiitake mushrooms and a whole tablespoon of chopped garlic make this dish lighter and brighter-tasting than the traditional coq au vin. It’s Cat Cora’s sublime makeover and you will adore it

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Serves 4-6

1 Organic Free-Range Chicken, 4lbs, skinned and cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 legs and 2 thighs)
Salt & coarsely-ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus about 3 1/2 tbsp softened unsalted butter, if thickening the sauce
1 1/2 cups shallots, chopped
5 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, quartered
4 to 5 stalks fresh lemongrass
1 tbsp garlic, minced
3 cups dry vermouth
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, if thickening the sauce

Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry, then season each piece with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat 2 tbsp of the oil and the 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a plate and set aside.
Add the mushrooms to the hot pan and another 1/2 tbsp oil if necessary and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are evenly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the plate with the shallots. Add another 2 tbsp oil to the pan and brown the chicken in batches, taking care not to crowd them in the pan. Transfer the pieces to a separate plate when they are fully browned.

Meanwhile, cut the bottom third from each stalk of lemongrass, peel off any outer fibrous skin, and finely mince the tender portion inside; you should have about 1/4 cup minced lemongrass (don’t worry if it’s a little more or a little less). Cut the remaining upper two thirds of the stalks into 2-inch lengths and set aside.

Turn the heat to low, add the minced lemongrass and the garlic to the pan, and cook for 10 to 25 seconds, until they release an aroma but are not browned. Turn the heat to high, add the vermouth, and deglaze the pan by scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Boil until reduced by about a quarter, 8 to 10 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and add the stock. Scatter the 2-inch pieces of lemongrass around the chicken, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and discard the pieces of lemongrass.

If you want to thicken the sauce (I often don’t), knead the remaining 3 & 1/2 tbsp butter with the flour until thoroughly mixed and whisk into the pan juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the floury taste is gone and the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
If it’s not thick enough, knead together an additional 2 teaspoons flour and 1/2 tbsp butter and whisk it in, simmering until the liquid has thickened.
Add the chicken, mushrooms, and shallots to the pan, lower the heat, and baste with the sauce. Cook until the chicken pieces are heated through, about 10 minutes, and serve.

** Don’t make this dish unless your supermarket has fat, fresh-looking lemongrass stalks; pass up stalks that look discolored, dry, or wooden. You can freeze lemongrass, so when you find good fresh stalks, wrap them tightly in plastic and place in the freezer for up to a month. Let them thaw for 24 hours in your refrigerator before attempting to slice them.

Chinese chicken salad

Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients in the dressing. It is well worth it and you will mostly have them in the pantry if you like Asian-style cooking. This is one of my favorite salads.

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Serves 6

For the Sesame-ginger dressing
3 tbsp Chinese mustard
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 medium piece of ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp hoisin sauce (available in most supermarkets)
1/2 tbsp sweet chilli paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the dressing;

Put the mustard in a blender and then add the sesame oil, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, hoisin sauce, sweet chilli sauce and salt and pepper (go lightly on the salt because of the soy sauce).
Give it a quick blend and check for seasoning.

For the chicken salad

1 medium Napa cabbage, washed and shredded
1 medium iceberg lettuce, washed and thinly sliced
1 medium romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 cup snow peas, sliced
4 green onions, chopped
3/4 to 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
6 chicken breasts, (6 oz each) cooked and diced
Garnishes for the salad
crispy wontons (available in supermarkets)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted

To make the salad

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lettuces, peppers, snow peas, peanuts, green onions, carrots, beansprouts and diced chicken.
Toss together with the sesame-ginger dressing until well combined.
Divide the salad among 6 plates and garnish with the crispy wontons, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.

Slow roasted garlic and lemon chicken

There is nothing nicer than throwing everything into a roasting pan and watching it caramelize slowly, turning each ingredient into a mouthful of sweetness. The beauty of this dish is that the lemon turns sweet and incredibly tender and you can pop the chunks straight into your mouth, skin, pith and all! Thanks to the irrepressible Nigella Lawson.

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Serves 4 but can easily be augmented

1 chicken (approx 4½lbs) cut into 10 pieces
A bulb of garlic separated into unpeeled cloves
2 unwaxed lemons (preferably thin-skinned) cut into chunky eighths
1 handful fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup white wine
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add the garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later. Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.
Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavor-intensifyingly low heat, for 2 hours.
Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 400ºF. Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelize at the edges.

I like to serve this as it is, straight from the roasting tin: so just strew over some thyme sprigs, warm some lovely bread and make a quick green salad and Bob’s your uncle!

Chicken with potatoes, prunes and pomegranate molasses

Again, here is another gem from Yotam Ottolenghi with a stunning mixture of flavors.
It is SO easy that you just throw everything into a bowl, mix well together then throw into a large baking/roasting dish. Bingo!
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Serves 4 to 6

8 whole chicken legs (each with a drumstick and thigh attached, about 4 1/2 lbs in all)
16 medium fingerling or baby Yukon potatoes, peeled
3 large onions, peeled and quartered
5 oz pitted prunes
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp maple syrup
5 oz sweet mango chutney
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 tbsp oregano sprigs, plus a few picked for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 F
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, then tip it all into a large ovenproof roasting or baking dish.
Cover with a lid or thick foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Lower the heat to 350 F, remove the foil and cook for 1 1/2 more hours, stirring every now and then. If it starts to burn a bit, replace the foil or lid.

When the time is up, remove the dish from the oven, stir once more, cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes to rest and allow the flavors to mingle. Garnish with a few oregano leaves and serve with a sharp green salad and some good bread to mop up the lovely juices