I have been a little busy these last few days. I know that is hard to believe, but sometimes looking for a perfect job causes a flurry of activity. Also, my brother was visiting with my nephew and we had to go out and have lots of fun, which we did. October is always busy in our family anyhow because we celebrate the birthdays of 4 people, myself included.
I missed the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, which is a shame, because I would have loved to cook up a yummy little Catalan dish to remind me of all things Claretian. Those is the know will be savvy to the fact that I lived for a year with some of the UK Claretian community, in Cambridgeshire, when I was 19. So, they have a fond place in my heart. The feast was on a Sunday this year, 24th October, also it is the birthday of my Ma - a double cause for celebration.
Anyhow tomorrow, the feast of Saints Simon and Jude. It seems to me the perfect day to make dinner from those ingredients lost at the back of the fridge. A time to make a celebration of a few lost causes. Unless you have the time to make persian lamb, of course, which would be great. I might get the recipe for that up later. Some Ancient Christian writers have said that Simon and Jude went as missionaries to Persia and were martyred there. That is why we know so comparatively little about them.
Distractions aside, the 'soon to be lost forever' candidates in our fridge at home were: chicken strips (you know the ones cut from the breast that look like you are meant to make a stir fry from them), bacon lardons (who got those? and what for?), a bag of salad and some watercress (these always hang out in the drawer of the fridge as if just buying them makes you healthy), and hanging out on the work top, onions and garlic beginning to look a bit sad, a lemon and some red potatoes (not yet sprouting, but threatening to). I do not know about you, but I never know what to do with chicken cut this way. I am not a big fan of stir fry; put it in a big sauce and the chicken gets lost; I suppose you can grill it, or better still, turn it into BBQ skewers, but, I am normally a firm believer in cooking meat on the bone. So, what to do?
Chicken Patties with Red Roasted Chips and Salad
For the Patties (for 4)
a large onion
3 garlic cloves
bacon lardons - 200g
chicken strips (yes, free range) 680g
groundnut oil for frying (it heats up hotter that ordinary oil)
chicken stock 375ml (OK, I bought it from Waitrose - if you want to make it, go ahead, be my hero)
4 bushy sprigs of Rosemary
For the Red Potato Chips
err, Red Potatoes, a little ground nut oil and salt.
Put the watercress and spinach in a bowl, dress with olive oil and salt if you like. A squeeze of lemon doesn't go amiss either.
This is a Nigel Slater recipe really, although with a few changes here and there. he calls for minced chicken. I have never heard of it and do not have a mincer.
So, first things first, chop up your chicken pieces very finely and place them in a bowl. To get the minced effect I used my hand held blender, just a little bit. I did not want to decimate the pieces, but if some of the chicken were blended the patties would hold together better.
Thinly slice the onions, crush the garlic and gently fry both in a pan with the butter. If you are me, you then have to run to the end of the garden, with a torch in the pouring rain to find the four sprigs of rosemary you need. Other people will have already brought that in, apparently. So, rub your finger down the rosemary stalks backwards to release the leaves, and then finely chop those and add them to your gently frying onion and garlic. The place should now smell wonderful. Add the bacon lardons to the pan and cook through. When this is done, turn out the heat and leave to cool.
Once cooled mix the onions, garlic, rosemary and bacon to the chicken. Get your hands in, you want everything to be properly blended together. Form this mixture into little patties, about the size of a good biscuit and lay them on a clean plate. My mixture made 14 patties. Allows the patties to rest for 30 mins. to settle. Preheat the oven to 190C.
Get a big pot of cold water on for the potatoes. Chop the spuds length ways, and then into big long wedges. Place them into the pan of water, season with sea salt and bring to the boil. Once par-boiled, drain place back into the pot, and with the lid on give a good shake. This makes the final chip fluffy, which is nice. Place the spuds onto a metal cooking tray, pour over a little groundnut oil and mix around to make sure they have a good covering, season with salt and put them in the oven. they will take at least 40 mins.
Clean your onion frying pan with some kitchen towel, add some groundnut oil for frying and heat up. Fry each little pattie on both sides to colour golden brown. This takes about 3 mins. a side. Once browned place the patties into an oven proof dish (like a lasagna dish), and ladle over the chicken stock. Cook in the over for 25 - 35 mins, until succulent and cooked through. Serve in bowls, with a little of the stock ladled over. Serve the chips and salad in large bowls for the table, so as people can use them, in their bowls to mop up all the yummy juices. Classy. Oh, yes, and cut the lemon into thick wedges, the chicken patties taste even better with a squeeze of juice!