Sunday, August 28, 2011

Venetian Chicken - Nigella Lawson

How many times have you gotten a roast chicken, with all the intentions in the world of making something fabulously different with it, and just ending up roasting it or making soup? As delicious as those are, sometimes you need to do something different with the humble chicken. Its often affordable (unless you go for the high end organic, free range, massaged chickens fed organic corn, who sleep on beds of golden straw) and easy to come by. There is almost always a chicken in the shops! So I spotted some nice looking Mt Barker free range chooks at my local IGA (which turns out to be pretty well stocked for organic food, though not so much fruit n veg), the biggest was $22 dollars and looked like a turkey, it was massive. I bought the cheapest one I could find, $13 hidden at the back! I didnt know what I wanted to do with it, but considering I had a whole vege box from the Organic Collective in the fridge, I figured Id whip up something...

I got home and had decided on Venetian Chicken by Nigella Lawson, however I didnt really know what I needed for it (handy, since Id just come back from the shop...) so tried googling it, and just came back with loads of recipes with American conversions. Not useful, I cant be arsed with a mls to cup conversion on the best of days, I wasnt about the convert a whole recipe. It turned out that this recipe was in How to Eat, the only Nigella book I actually own. Bonus! But it was tucked away somewhere in the box with all my cookbooks in it, from the move. After scrounging around, putting all the books away, reading some, procrastinating and then actually looking at the book I had gone to find in the first place, I found it. Tagliatelle with chicken from the Venetian Ghetto. Meh. Its Venetian chicken from now on.

Anyway before I go on, heres the recipe.

1 whole chicken (1.5kg will feed about 4)
2 Tbsp EVOO
Needles from 2 or 3 sprigs of rosemary, chopped very finely
50g sultanas soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes
100g pinenuts, lightly toasted
500g tagliatelle

1) Preheat oven to 180C

2) Rub the chicken with oil, sprinkle with S&P and place it breast down on a baking dish and put it in the oven for 1-1.5 hours until well browned, turning it over towards the end to brown the breast. Its done when the juices run clear, not pink, when you cut into the thigh. When the chickens nearly ready, put abundant water on to boil for the pasta, adding salt when it boils.

3) Take the chicken out of the oven and take the meat off the bone, leaving all that glorious burnished skin on, and cut it into small pieces. (Ive taken a liberty here and not included some of what Nigella has written... its nothing important, promise.)

4) For the sauce, pour ALL the juices from the roasting dish into a saucepan. Add the finely chopped rosemary, the drained sultanas, and the pinenuts. Begin to simmer the sauce when you are ready to cook the pasta.

5) When the pastas cooked and drained, toss it with some of the sauce and chicken pieces in a large warmed bowl. I like some flat lead parsely chopped over at the last minute, no cheese please!

I pretty much followed the recipe, however I omitted the sultanas, because I know S doesnt like sweet things much, in savoury dishes, and Im not mad about sultanas. Id def try it one time, but I rarely have them in the house.

I also added some leeks and a potato to the roasting pan, along with a couple of cloves of garlic, skin on to slowly cook with the chicken. I also may have added a shlug of white wine to the pan juices at the end, which tasted awesome! I cant help but mess with recipes sometimes... I think it would also be fab with some spinach added at the end!

For 2 of us, I cooked a whole chicken, but only used the meat from the breast, purely because it was easier to cut up. It left us with another meals worth of chicken, which was pretty handy, its a cheap way to make a whole chicken go alot further!

This is a great meal to make which is really easy... Theres not a great deal of thought involved, and its a perfect meal to make when you're feeding a family or a bit of a crowd, add a nice simple salad and youre set! I loved it, S liked it too, and said that he would allow me to make it again lol

Check out for a review with pics of the recipe, as my memory card packed it in last night :(

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