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Two Proper Comforting Chicken Recipes

30 July 20 words: Sharon Stevens and Alex Brinton

As we start to see family members again, it's only natural that we'll want to cook the tastiest food for them. Two of our food writers share their favourite comforting family recipes...

Sharon's Mum's Sunday Roast Chicken

When I was asked about my favourite comfort food, the only thing I could think of is this.  I don’t cook it very often, but traditionally in most Caribbean household, it’s the meal you look forward to on a Sunday. The reason why this came to mind because of the word ‘comfort’ and it’s something I used to regularly enjoy. Plus, with my mother passing away at the end of January, I saw it as a tribute to her. The way she taught me, was to use a little bit of this and a pinch of that, but I’ve tried to find recipes to help those who have never cooked it before.

The first thing we’d start with is preparing the peas on a Saturday night for Sunday morning.  The recipe below is enough for four people.  But generally, I cook 250g of dried kidney beans, black-eyed peas and gungo peas and freeze them in batches, to use when I need them. Because of that, I add my coconut cream/milk, salt and pepper to the deforested peas when I add my rice.

Rice and Peas

Ingredients

400g of dried kidney beans
2 scallions
4 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
1/a Scotch bonnet (optional)
Salt and black pepper
Water
Seasoning all (optional)
600g rice basmati or long grain
60g coconut cream or 400ml coconut milk.

Method

  1. The first thing we used to do on a Saturday night was to pick through the peas and soak overnight in cold water.
  2. In the morning, rinse the peas and drain.
  3. Add coconut milk or coconut cream.
  4. Add thyme and chopped scallion.
  5. Add garlic (slightly bruised, salt and pepper.
  6. Add fresh water approx. 5cm above the peas.
  7. Boil and then simmer until soft (approx. 1hr).
  8. While the peas are cooking pick through the rice and rinse.
  9. Add rice to the soft peas (cook for longer if not soft).
  10. Add more water, (if necessary) stir and place optional Scotch bonnet on top.
  11. Bring back to the boil and simmer (medium heat and covered) (Approx. 20mins). Stirring once or twice.
  12. Add a small amount of water, salt and pepper if needed and stir.
  13. Cook until the rice is soft and remove Scotch bonnet before serving.

Roast chicken

Ingredients

165g/2kg whole chicken
Seasoning (optional) I used a combination of turmeric, cumin and jerk seasoning.
2/3 chopped cloves of garlic
Salt
Pepper

Cooking time: 45 mins per Kg, plus 20mins at Gas 6/180C Fan/200C Electric 

Method

To be done the night before.

  1. Prepare chicken for the oven.
  2. Place chicken in roasting tin or dish.
  3. Complete chicken with your choice of seasonings
  4. Cover with chopped garlic, salt and pepper.
  5. Cover dish with greaseproof paper and or cling film.
  6. Place chicken in the fridge overnight.

The next day:

  1. Take the chicken out of the oven and bring to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven.
  3. Place chicken wrapped in greaseproof paper or foil in the oven, giving enough time for it to be ready when the rice and peas are ready.
  4. 165g - 2kg chicken takes 2 - 21/2 hours to roast. Unwrapping it for the last 10-15mins.
  5. Remove from the oven, checking that it’s cooked evenly through.
  6. Leave to stand while preparing your gravy, if desired.
  7. Serve with rice and peas along with your choice of vegetables.
  8. Enjoy!

Alex's Chicken and Chorizo Traybake

Comfort food is something that we use to boost our spirits and during lockdown the need for comfort food has been more pertinent than ever. Each family has their own go-to recipes and this one is ours; hopefully, it can become one of yours as well!

Ingredients

4 large chicken thighs or 8 small thighs
1 lemon
6 cloves of garlic
3 sprigs of thyme
900g of potatoes
200g of Chorizo
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan oven/Gas mark 4

Method

While the oven is heating up chop up your potatoes into small chunks, spread them over your roasting tray and cover with a few glugs of olive oil. Add your sliced Chorizo, season with salt and pepper and put the tray in the oven. Leave to cook for 10 minutes

In the meantime, slice your lemon into roughly 1cm thick slices. Add the lemon, thyme and garlic cloves to the tray and place your chicken on top. Sit each chicken thigh on top of a slice of lemon. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place the tray back in the oven for 35 minutes or until your chicken is golden and crispy and the potatoes are cooked.

The garlic and lemon are the real stars of the dish for me, the garlic is roasted so you will be able to squeeze it out of its casing and enjoy its sweet flavour. The lemon becomes incredibly soft and loses a lot of the acidity it has when raw, so its nice to eat as well.

This dish is perfectly accompanied by a fresh leafy salad and a sunny day.

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