Mark Hix recipes: Our chef reveals how to get the most out of a regular-sized chicken

One trusty old foul can go a clucking long way...
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Indy Lifestyle Online

You will be surprised how many dishes you can get out of a regular-sized chicken. There are never too many recipes for chicken to keep up your sleeve. All the more so when they are both economical and interesting. One chicken may cost you anything from £5 upwards – it depends on its provenance and upbringing – and for that sum you get a lot.

There are lots of chicken restaurants popping up all over the UK – my favourite is Bird in East London – which is a great thing. When I was exploring the market before I opened my restaurant Tramshed which specialises in chicken and steak, I was amazed to find there was hardly any alternative to KFC or Nando's.

Now a word on the recipes. To prepare your chicken for the below get yourself a heavy sharp knife and a sturdy chopping board with some damp paper towel under it to stop it sliding around. Lay the bird on its side, lift the leg up by the end of the drumstick and cut towards the joint that meets the carcass. Now hold the chicken and pull the leg in the opposite direction and the joint will come out of the socket, you then just cut it free from the carcass and do the same with the other leg.

Next remove the breasts by carefully cutting either side of the central breast bone, down the rib cage, until you get to the wing joint. Pull the breast away and cut free through the joint.

Remove the under fillets from the breast and put to one side. Hold the wing up and cut it away from the breast. You should now have two legs, two wings, two fillets, two breasts and the bones and the livers, which should be inside the bird.

To make the stock

The chicken bones from the preparation
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small leek, roughly chopped and washed
A stick of celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
10 black peppercorns
Chicken stock to cover (a cube dissolved in boiling water will do)

Chop the chicken bones with a heavy knife or cleaver a few times. Put them into a saucepan, cover them with cold water and bring to the boil. Drain in a colander, discarding the water and wash off again in cold water.

Return to a clean pan with the other ingredients and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1.5 hours skimming every so often. Strain the stock through a fine meshed sieve, taste and continue to simmer to concentrate it if it needs more flavour.

Chicken Jambonettes with carrots

Serves 2

A nice way to make the most of chicken legs, this takes a bit of preparation but is well worth the effort. You could serve with some leaf spinach or greens under the chicken if you wish.

2 chicken legs

For the stuffing

A couple of good knobs of butter
2 large shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
The livers from the chicken, chopped
2-3 tbs fresh white breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs chopped parsley

For the sauce

A good knob of butter
1 shallot, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1/2 tsp flour
120ml cider
350ml chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish

1 medium carrot, trimmed, peeled and cut into neat batons
A good knob of butter
A few sprigs of parsley chopped

With the point of a sharp knife cut the flesh away either side of the thigh bone and up to about 2cm past the joint, leaving the skin and flesh as intact as possible, then chop the bone through with a heavy chopping knife and put to one side. Chop the bone still attached just slightly below the knuckle to reveal it. Chop the knuckle and bones into small pieces and put to one side and add to the stock (see above).

To make the sauce

Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan and gently cook the shallot for a minute or so, stir in the flour then gradually stir or whisk in the cider, bring to the boil and reduce by half then add the stock and continue simmering until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Season, then cover and put to one side.

To make the stuffing

Mix all of the ingredients together and season. Push the stuffing into the boned legs as far up the drumstick as you can and leaving a tablespoon of stuffing on the thigh part. Fold over the thigh meat, encasing the stuffing and secure with a couple of cocktail sticks so the stuffing doesn't fall out. Wrap each leg tightly in clingfilm, then foil so you end up with a kind of mini ham shape. Place the legs in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Remove the clingfilm from the chicken legs and place in a small roasting pan, season and spoon over a little oil and roast for about 30 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile, bring a small pan of water to the boil with a little salt and blanch the carrots for a minute or so until tender then drain. Toss them in a little butter and parsley, season and keep warm.

To serve, reheat the sauce, remove the chicken from the roasting tray, drain on kitchen paper.

Place the chicken on a warmed serving plate, spoon over the hot sauce and scatter with the carrots. >

Wings and fillets

Serves 2

This dish was inspired by something at Bird, which involves using a Korean paste in the chicken marinade. I'm using it here as a straight marinade, as it gives the slower-cooked wings and the briefly cooked fillets a an interesting tangy flavour.

2 chicken wings
2 chicken fillets
3-4tbsp Gouchjang (Korean hot pepper and bean paste)
A little vegetable or corn oil for brushing

For the salad garnish

1 small, mild green chilli, thinly sliced
A small handful of picked coriander leaves
A small handful of picked mint leaves
1 spring onion, trimmed and thinly sliced on the angle
A little rice vinegar to dress

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Wings and fillets was inspired by something at Bird, which involves using a Korean paste in the chicken marinade (Jason Lowe)

Marinate the chicken in the paste for at least 30 minutes. Either pre-heat oven to 200°C/g as mark 6. Or set a grill to a low heat as its a bit of a waste turning the oven on for just two wings but probably worth it for 6-8 people.

Put the wings into a small foil lined container and cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes, turning and basting with the marinade as they are cooking. Meanwhile heat a griddle or heavy frying pan and brush with oil.

Griddle the fillets for a minute or so on each side until cooked and remove from the heat. Toss the salad ingredients in a little of the vinegar and arrange on plates with the wings and fillets.

Breast of chicken with ginger and wild garlic broth

Serves 2

Black garlic is produced down my way on the South West Garlic Farm and lends itself to all sorts of things including marinades or glazes like this.

2 chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of black garlic
2tbsp treacle or honey
1tbs light soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100ml chicken broth from recipe
2 spring onions, cut into 3cm lengths
30g root ginger, scraped and finely shredded
A handful of wild garlic leaves and stems, separated

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Breast of chicken with ginger and wild garlic broth (Jason Lowe)

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Make a paste with the black garlic, honey and soy in a blender or small food processor and season. Score the chicken breasts 5 or 6 times then place on a small baking tray lined with foil brush the breasts generously with the marinade and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, brushing with more marinade and turning as they are cooking so they get well glazed and caramelised.

Meanwhile bring the broth to a simmer, add the spring onions, wild garlic stems and ginger and simmer for a minute then stir in the wild garlic leaves and remove from the heat.

To serve, place the chicken breasts in a pasta bowl type dish with the skin side up then spoon the broth around.

Chicken, squash and chilli chowder

Serves 4-6

This is great for a weekend brunch or a starter. It's best to use thighs for something like this as they stay moist during cooking.

large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 rashers of rindless, smoked, streaky bacon, chopped into rough 1cm squares
60g butter
1tbsp flour
1.2litre hot chicken stock
200g butternut squash flesh, cut into rough 1cm dice
1 large potato, peeled and cut into rough 1cm cubes
Any chicken meat
2tbsp chopped parsley
60ml double cream

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Chicken, squash and chilli chowder (Jason Lowe)

Gently cook the onion, garlic and bacon in the butter for 4-5 minutes until soft with a lid on, stirring every so often. Stir in the flour and and cook on a low heat for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the hot chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the squash and potatoes, season with salt and pepper and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove about one-fifth of the soup from the pan; blend until smooth.

Return to the pan with the pieces of chicken removed from the carcass, the cream and parsley and simmer for 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and re-season if necessary. Serve immediately.

@MarkEHix

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