Honey & mustard glazed chicken thighs with chunky parnips

This is a quick, & tasty, wintery dish which makes for a lovely Friday night dinner while it’s dark and cold outside. Don’t know why, it just is. Don’t be stingy with the parsnips, no matter how many you make, they’ll get eaten. Trust me.

Serves 4-5
Preparation time: 10 mins plus marinating time (30 mins)
Cooking time: 40 mins

2 packs (approx 1kg) chicken thighs
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coarse-grain mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into wedges

Place the chicken thighs in a shallow dish. To make the marinate whisk together the oil, honey, mustard, vinegar, thyme and seasoning. Pour over the chicken and turn gently to coat. Cover the dish and chill for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Preheat the oven to 190C, gas mark 5. Cook the parsnips in a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.

Add the parsnips to the chicken, then toss to coast in the marinade. Transfer to a roasting tin in a single layer. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning once during cooking, until the parsnips are golden and cooked through and the chicken is cooked through with no pink meat, with juices running clear. Serve with greens of your choice… with ginger beer or vintage cider.

Nutrition 569 kcals/31.3g protein/23.8 carbohydrate/15.9 sugars/38.7 fat/8.4g saturated fat/5.5g fibre/0.6g salt per serving

Quick lamb, orange and fennel stew

This recipe works for a light, one-pot family supper. I made it last Friday for six people, because I didn’t want to spend much time in the kitchen in the run up to dinner. I tried to do it in two stages, adding potatoes later. Though the stew was tasty, I suspect it would have been better if I hadn’t done that – the fennel might have stayed crunchier. Will make again, as this is an interesting variety of lamb stew – no brown flavour and orange and fennel combination produce amazingly subtle flavours for a stew! I am not sure this is anywhere near Morrocan cuisine but people commented on the combination as being typical for it.

Ingredients:
Serves 4, Ready in 45 minutes

600g cubed lamb (as the number of guests increased, I added about as much of pork shoulder diced. Wasn’t noticeable in all the lamb juicy goodness.)
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
300ml fresh chicken stock, hot
500g baby new potatoes (I didn’t have any new ones, so chopped bigger potatoes too big chunks at first, had to halve them as they have to cook in the stew)
1 large fennel bulb, roughly chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  1. In a bowl, coat the lamb in the seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the lamb, in batches, and brown for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

    Tip: Lamb is young and always tender, which is why this stew can be cooked so quickly. Use ready-cubed lamb or cut up your own choice of cut – for lean meat, choose leg; if you like it slightly fattier, try neck fillet.

  2. Add the onion, garlic and fennel seeds to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden.
  3. Stir in the orange zest and juice, the chicken stock, potatoes, fennel and browned lamb. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Stir in the vinegar and parsley and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve in warmed bowls with steamed spinach or spring greens. I had to add quite a bit of salt at the end as I am scared of over-salting, but the meat and potatoes can take quite a bit of salt to get the flavours stand out as they should.

Note: Nutritional Information per serving:
422kcals, 19g fat (6.3g saturated), 37.2g protein, 28.9g carbs, 7.3g sugar
Ingredients

Braised topside with anchovy and onion

This is one of my favourite slow cooked dishes, another example of French regional cooking, adapted from Elizabeth David’s An Omelette and a Glass of Wine via Sunday Telegraph’s magazine.

Ingredients:

250g (9oz) unsalted butter (I NEVER use this much. OK, the dish does need a lot of butter so I use about half the amount as required by the recipe, then let the dish cool down, fridge it for a while and then scoop out the butter that becomes very visible. In my experience this hasn’t affected the flavour but considerably reduced the fat content)
6 onions, peeled and cut into thick half moons
1.5kg (3lb 5oz) beff topside cut into portion-sized steaks
2 bay leaves (I always add more)
2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed (again my hand slips and I add more :P)
1 tbs red-wine vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil (I include in this amount the oil from anchovies)
5 anchovy fillets chopped
2 dried red chillies ideally bird’s-eye
1 very large handful fresh flat leaf parsley

Take a heavy casserole with a lid, and rub the inside all over with three quarters of the butter. It isn’t just a greasing agent – it’s really a part of the dish. Scatter in some of the onion. Season the beef and layer some of it over the onions. Continue to layer the beef and the onion. Throw in the bay leaves. Smear a sheet of greaseproof paper with the remaining butter and place, butter-side down, on top of the meat and onion.

Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/gas mark 1. Place the lid on the pot and heat over a flame until it starts to sizzle. Transfer to the oven and leave for two hours or so, until the meat is very tender.
Place the other ingredients in a food processor and blitz to make a paste. As I don’t have one, I use mortar & pestle and get a very satisfying amount of gooey paste that smells absolutely delicious. Stir the paste into the meat and juices. Replace the lid and leave to infuse for 30 minutes off the heat. Gently reheat for about 25 minutes over a low flame and serve with mash potatoes and something green.