Monday, April 19, 2010

an east coast party, a spring chicken and some home-grown herbs

What is it about barbeques and boys?

...yeah lets have an East Coast party by the beach, ripped t-shirts, shorts, a few beers and some lobster (no less!) on the bbq...sounds amazing, I do get the picture ...  except when you begin to really think the whole thing through and the fact that the said planned event might possibly have over fifty people invited, and not to Cape Cod, but to Cushendall! ...  a small, cold, albeit beautiful, patch of the East Antrim coast in May, expecting food, drink and entertainment, it might be a bit of a challenge.

Our family celebration will succeed, it is a good idea and will be a wonderful tribute to days gone by.
I know it will be a united effort from our close network of relatives and friends who, not only love food, but have been in the catering industry all their lives and know the challenges of feeding fifty people.  They will also do so without making it look like an effort and for their ideas, support and future hard work, we are deeply grateful already! 

Now to much more practical feed four from a very nice free-range chicken, inside the house, in a warm and relaxed unpretentious style, with well loved garden herbs, you will need:

1 large chicken, quartered
3 garlic cloves
fresh herbs - thyme, rosemary and marjoram
8 baby onions
200ml white wine
1 large knob butter
2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
parmesan for serving
sea salt and black pepper

In a heavy casserole dish with a lid, heat the butter, oil and herbs, garlic and onions until sizzling.

Place the chicken pieces in the hot, oily butter and brown on each side. You will want a lovely, crispy, rich brown colour to appear on the skin and flesh of all the pieces.
Pour in the white wine. Place the lid on and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked (with the point of a knife, if the juice runs clear without the sign of any blood it is ready).  Serve with some parmesan shavings, salt and black pepper.


I was in a bit of a hurry this evening and only added baby new potatoes to this, but you could add carrots or perhaps two savoy cabbage leaves per person laid on top of the chicken for the last ten minutes of cooking would make a nice colour and texture contrast.

My kitchen smells amazing and there are leftovers for the boys lunch tomorrow.
This is perfect comfort food - comfort for the chef and for the customer - just perfect!

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