Oooo this one is a blast from the past! I remember buying this Le Cordon Bleu – Home Collection – Chicken from The Works over 10 years ago. They were two for £3 and I got the Quiche edition too (but that got charity shopped at some point). I’ve used the book a few times, not just for the recipes, but for the chef’s techniques at the back. In fact, it was this book that taught me how to make chicken stock and a bouquet garni.
The book has about 30 recipes and each are marked up as ‘easy’, ‘a little more care needed’ or ‘more care needed’. And yes, some of the recipes are a little fiddly or time consuming, but there are plenty of easy mid week meals which worked out perfectly for me.
First up was lime marinated chicken which was a chicken breast in a yoghurt, lime, chilli and coriander coating. It was incredibly easy and tasty and although I have done similar things to this before, I wouldn’t have thought of using so much lime. I served it with an Asian inspired salad of beandsprouts, carrot, cucumber, mint and coriander which kept the dish light. And, as I’d used low fat yoghurt the chicken breasts were just 282 calories each.
Later on that night I started setting marinading some chicken wings in a Thai sauce to be cooked the next day. Again this was another easy one and the results were amazing. The marinade was heavy on fish sauce and honey which meant that the wings were very fragrant and very sticky. And despite the inclusion of honey there was only 365 calories per serving.
The next dish I tried was chicken jalfrezi. I must admit to being a bit of a fan of Patak’s pastes, the pastes mind, not the sauces. Just coz they’re so easy to use, especially when cooking in the week. Gav cooked this one and as we’d been shopping after work we didn’t get in until 7ish and we didn’t eat until about 9! It was easy enough and it didn’t even call for any toasting and grinding of spices, so I’m not quite sure why it took so long… but it was worth the wait. It was very flavourful without a lot of heat (and I would stick a couple of chillies in if I do it again). It was also very diet friendly with 290 calories per serving (although he did substitute the oil for fry light and skipped the 30g of ghee that was supposed to go in half way through cooking).
For my final dish I wanted to go back and do an old favourite; chicken en croute. I have fond memories of this dish and I’ve used the recipe a fair bit (and used it as a base for alternative fillings). It’s a bit fiddly and time consuming as there’s a lot of pastry chilling time (although thankfully it doesn’t seem to disapprove of the use of ready-made puff pastry). There is also a recipe for a sauce to be served with the dish, but I’ve never actually bothered making it. The chicken is delicious; essentially a posh pie and we all know how much I like pie right?!
I like this book. It’s very well written, there are nice pictures of the finished dishes and there’s quite a lot more for me to try including braised chicken and coriander roulade with turmeric and almonds, chicken fricassee and chicken Kiev. I’m glad that I’ve had opportunity to go back to this one and I’m kind of tempted to look into getting the rest of the books in the series.