Sunday, 27 September 2009

Lovely Sunday Chicken

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Before the heavenly chicken, a quick bit of housekeeping. As you may notice, I am trying out a new look. I am not certain yet whether I shall keep it. Please do give me your opinion.

Some of you may wonder why I always write Posted By at the top of the post. Although it is mostly me on here, it is officially Sarah's blog too, and so I always want to make it immediately clear who you are talking to. (She is not ruthlessly shunning the whole notion; the reason she appears infrequently is that she has two jobs, two children, a husband and a dog. When she does arrive, it is always worth the wait.)

Now: chicken. I love doing something easy and substantial and slightly rustico on a Sunday, especially when the autumn winds have arrived, and there is nothing easier than this. It's not even a recipe, so I'm just going to describe it. Take some chicken pieces, some small peeled waxy potatoes, a few fat garlic cloves, a couple of very small onions, halved, a scattering of basil and throw them in a baking tray with enough water or stock to cover the bottom, a splash of white wine, a gloop of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper, and a scattering of basil. Cook at 180 degrees for thirty five minutes. That's it. You might like to do a bit of basting in the middle if you are feeling keen. But really, that's it. The potatoes are the best part, they go sort of chewy and melty at the same time, so good that you have to keep stopping eating them for fear of finishing too quickly. I used Charlottes; the yellower and waxier the better.

Normally when I do chicken in a dish I throw in courgettes and peppers and aubergines and a woody herb, but this new version, which I just made up today, is particularly pleasing in its simplicity, and all the textures are especially delightful: the chicken is tender but crispy on the top, the potatoes are dense and yielding, the onion, amazingly, retains some of its crispness, and the sweet garlic oozes out of its paper shell like toffee. Also, sometimes I just want to eat like the French and not have twenty different vegetables. Sometimes I just want meat and potatoes.


And, after.
And what it looked like outside as I ate it.


  1. What a perfect meal! I totally agree, sometimes too many things in the pan, are just too busy. Sometimes the simple tastes enrich the experience of the meal and allow the flavors of the food, air and day to come through.

    Lovely post.

  2. My next thing to try with roast chicken is as the wine writer in Sundat Times style mag suggested a couple of weeks ago: Roast chicken (perhaps with a few truffle slices and butter under the skin, braised peas (i'm thinking finely sliced onion, chicken stock, peas...) and pair with champagne. Admittedly this isn't your average supper, but anniversary coming up, so I'm going to give the whole night an airing of French simplicity with our Krug we've been storing up (bless the rewards of dog-sitting!).

  3. Truestarr - thank you so much. Interesting about the simplicity thing, I find I appreciate it more and more as I get older.

    Jo - chicken with champagne! And truffles! That is the kind of haute simplicity that can induce catatonic levels of pleasure, a sort of trance of gastronomic delight.


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