When I was a young wife, in 1993, I was a Bad Cook. No, let me rephrase that: I had never cooked before. Don’t ask how I got away without ever needing to cook until the age of 25, but I did.
I learned (I’ve said this before) from Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course. I deviated not one whit from a recipe, and never ever thought that substitution was an option. If it said a pint of cream we used a pint of cream.
Fortunately, I learned how to cook quite quickly, or I hate to think how we’d look now. Now I read cookery books, but they’re really more like guidelines than an actual set of rules. I know that my gang won’t eat this vegetable, or prefer this seasoning to that, or even that anything made using potatoes will always take longer than stated because that’s the nature of the brute.
And, let’s be truthful, after a few recipe books the same food comes up again. How many ways to cook chicken are there? How different can you make Shepherd’s Pie without losing the original characteristics and it ceasing to be true. I think that’s why Heston Blumenthal has never been a hero to me (too much faffing and messing with the guidelines) while Nigel Slater is a hero (because his books are full of recipes that work whether you tweak or not. He loves his food, but he’s not precious about it)
My recipes now tend to be based on ones I learned to cook with, but twisted. I don’t need very many recipes in front of me anymore, and a lot of the time I work off instinct.
Today’s recipe has appeared in various forms in recipe books by Jamie Oliver , Nigella and Delia. It’s a basic family choice, and makes plain chicken into a real treat.
Chicken and Chorizo Bake
6 chicken breasts or 12 thighs, skin on
A Chorizo sausage ring, approx. 750g sliced into rounds about 2cm thick
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and diced fine.
Italian herb seasoning
Paprika, sweet or hot
- Preheat the oven to GM 7.
- Put 2tbsp oil in the base of a large, shallow roasting tin. Rub the skin of the chicken into the oil and put, skin side up, in the tin.
- Scatter over the onion, peppers, garlic and herbs. Sprinkle with the paprika and drizzle with a little more oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Put in the oven and bake for 1 hour, basting occasionally. I usually check it regularly. The chicken needs to be fully cooked, but not dry, so as soon as it’s done I whisk it out.
Serve with plain rice, or roasted new potatoes. We like ours with mash, where the pan juices make a very alternative gravy, and we have actually eaten it with chips when all other carbs had disappeared!
It’s possibly a sign of hygge our dinnertime is that I never seem to remember to take photographs of the food, either before or after the Ravenous Hordes have been there. Actually, there would be no point in photographing afterwards, because there’s very rarely anything left. #foodhygge on a plate.
Actually #foodhygge would make a good name for a recipe book. I might stick that behind my ear and think about that again. My book is nearing completion, and the dreadful question arises: do I self publish on Kindle or hawk it around to see if anyone will take on a Motherhygge like me? I’ll let you know, of course.
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