Aug 29, 2007

Yay, Chicken tonight!

Three easy and versatile chicken dishes to try on a week night.

Chicken and Cashews

500 g skinless boneless chicken breasts
Fresh root ginger
Salt
Ground black pepper
1 tsp rice wine or sherry
1 tsp sesame oil
2 large egg whites
Spring onions
Dried chilies
60-90 g (2-3 oz) cashew nuts


Sauce

2 tsp rice wine or sherry
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1-2 tablespoons sugar, to taste
2 tsp sesame oil
Chicken stock


1. Cut the chicken into bit-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Grate about one third of the ginger over the chicken, then add the salt, pepper, rice wine or sherry and sesame oil. Lightly beat the egg whites and mix into the chicken with the corn flour. Cover and set aside while preparing the remaining ingredients.

2. Shred the remaining ginger. Cut the spring onions into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths. Prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, mix the corn flour with 1 tablespoon cold water, then add the remaining sauce ingredients and mix until smooth.

3. Heat the oil in a wok or deep sauté pan over moderate heat. Add the chilies and stir fry until they darken in colour. Increase the heat and continue stirring until the chilies are almost dark.

4. Add the chicken and stir fry until it is white, then add the ginger, spring onions, cashews and the sauce mixture. Stir fry until all the ingredients are glossy and sauce has thickened, 3-4 minutes.


Chicken Breast with Wild Mushroom


250 g (8 oz) mushroom
Shallots
1-2 garlic cloves
Oil
Butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, each weighing about 175 g (6 oz)
Chicken stock
Double cream or all purpose cream
Fresh chives, chervil or flat leaf parsley to garnish


1. Slice the mushroom, finely chop the shallots and crush the garlic. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan. Season the chicken breast, place them in the pan and cook them over low to moderate heat until they are lightly golden, about 3 minutes on each side.
2. Remove the chicken breast to a plate and set aside. Add the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the mushrooms and garlic and toss over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes.
3. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, stirring. Return the chicken to the pan, together with any juice that have collected on the plate, cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover the pan, remove the chicken to the plate again and keep hot.
4. Cook the sauce for another 8-12 minutes over moderate heat, then season to taste and mix in all but about 4 tablespoons of the cream. Return the chicken and any juice to the pan and simmer for another 1-2 minutes, turning once.


Chicken with Mushrooms and Leeks


2 leeks, weighing about 175 g (6 oz)
Button mushrooms
Garlic
Butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oil
Chicken stock
4 skinless chicken breasts, each weighing 175-200g (6-7 oz)
4 tablespoon sherry


1. Cut the leek into very thin strips, and then wash them well in cold water. Leave to soak in fresh cold water for 2 minutes. Slice the mushrooms. Crush the garlic.

2. Melt half the butter in a sauté pan over low heat. Drain the leek and add them to the hot butter. Cover the pan and cook over low heat until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, season and allow to cool.

3. Heat half the oil in the sauté pan, add mushroom, garlic and salt and pepper and sauté over the high heat. Drain off any excess liquid, add the stock and leave to simmer until reduced by about half.

4. Carefully cut open each chicken breast lengthways to make a pocket in the center. Fill the pocket with the leeks. Season the chicken. Melt the remaining butter and oil in a frying pan, add the chicken and brown over moderate heat. After about 3 minutes, turn the chicken over and reduce the heat slightly. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes, basting frequently. Transfer the chicken breast to a warm plate, cover and keep hot.

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