Chasseur is French for 'hunter' and a dish we probably already know from the Italian as Pollo a la Cacciatore, or 'Hunter's Chicken'.
Simply one-pot, you can make it as high-brow or as low-brow as you like ...
At it absolute simplest, it is a case of adding chopped onion or shallot, minced garlic, whole button mushrooms, tomato purée, perhaps some skinned and de-seeded chopped tomatoes, herbs, such as parsley, thyme, maybe tarragon, black pepper, chicken stock, wine, be it red or white, and all the chicken pieces you can find.
Pieces? Yeah! Once the breast has been removed, the pieces are whatever is left: wings, thighs, drumsticks and anything else you see that looks okay to eat. Chuck it all in! If your paleo proclivities are towards not using wine, then don't. Just the stock will do fine.
Ensure it is covered with stock and wine, and cook for a good 2-3 hours in the oven at, say, 150C (300F?).
Serve with thick, creamy mash and something green. Dinner, done!
I did mine ever so slightly differently ... well, don't I always?
Interested? My method is, I suppose, a little more refined and will give a dish already removed from the bone but all the goodness cooked in.
I simply cooked my chicken through for about 4 hours at 125C covered with nothing more than water and a couple of bay leaves in there. What I get from that is cooked chicken and stock.
Remove the chicken pieces, skin, remove the flesh from the bones and winkle out any gristle and sinew, returning these waste parts and the stock to a pan to reduce. Strain and set the stock aside. You'll no doubt have more than you need for this dish, so you've got a chicken broth already sorted for another day.
Don't shred the chicken flesh - leave it in large and irregular sized pieces.
Shortly before you want to eat, melt some goose fat (or your favourite paleo fat) in a good size skillet, sauté off some mushrooms, add onion or shallot, garlic, a couple of skinned and de-seeded tomatoes, chopped, dried thyme, fresh parsley, black pepper, sea salt, the chicken flesh and now a good glug of wine (red or white, doesn't matter) and chicken stock.
Simmer and reduce while you prepare your vegetables.
... a made-up name if ever I heard one, simply Cod, in an Italian style.
Let's break it down a little - it's Gratin Dauphinoise, over which I placed a couple of sea bass fillets and crowned with a prawn and tomato salsa, and some spinach alongside.
It's all pretty self-explanatory, really ...
Make the Gratin Dauphinoise, make up the salsa while you're waiting and then when you're ready to eat, wilt some spinach and fry off the fish fillets which will take no more than a few minutes.
The salsa was just de-seeded and chopped tomato, some prawns sliced in two, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and capers.
When I first heard about Chimichurri I thought, "that's nice" and set the idea aside, thinking it would involve ingredients that I either could not source or would be ridiculously priced; worse, that commercial offerings would ruin the experience entirely and so it sat in my mind as something I'd heard of.
I can't quite think what triggered it - maybe a photograph, maybe a description - but it suddenly struck me that it was very familiar and very easy to make. The fact that I'd never looked into what constituted Chimichurri kept it as something I had not tried.
Chimichurri is an Argentine sauce of chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil and vinegar. In its simplest form, that's about it but additions of chilli, other herbs, even cumin are not unheard of.
That's it ...
So, tonight, Griddled Tuna Steak & Chimichurri.
My Chimichurri was chopped parsley, minced garlic, de-seed and minced chilli, olive oil, cider vinegar, sea salt and black pepper. I also added in some shredded spring onions.
Salad of lamb's lettuce and red chard, olives and cornichons, avocado slices, Chimichurri over and some potato wedges alongside, pre-baked potatoes fried off in coconut oil.
Posted by Paul Halliday at 09:53
Folks often break out in a cold sweat at the thought of cooking up a curry as the complexity of the spice blends seems so bewildering to a newcomer, but we'll simplify it and start out with a good, basic spice mix which can have complexity worked in as you become more confident.
Our ingredient list is quite simple:
- Base - Onion, garlic, ginger & chillies
- Spices - Ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, asafoetida & fenugreek
- Fat - Ghee or butter
- Protein - Paneer (Cheese)
- Vegetables - Marrow, courgette, aubergine & peas
- Garnish - Black mustard seeds, lemon wedge & coriander
- Flavouring - Sea salt & black pepper
Paneer is an Indian curd cheese; milk set off with lemon juice, pressed overnight and cut into cubes. Yes, you can buy it. Do check the ingredients, which should read no more than milk and more likely acetic acid than lemon juice for a commercially produced cheese.
Paneer is the protein base for this otherwise vegetarian curry. Vegetables provide the rest of the bulk and it's your choice as to what you put in. I went with marrow, courgette, aubergine and peas. Cauliflower, squash, potato, carrot, daikon, mushrooms, whetever you fancy can all go into this curry.
Proportions do not have to be exact. Cooking is about taste and flavour - if you want more of something, put more in. If you like less of something, use less. If you cook too much for one sitting, great ... you've got lunch sorted, or a simple base for another dinner that will just need bulking out.
I'm going to base this around one large onion, which I find sets out the right proportion for two people, one hungry person or for one with leftovers.
Let's build this curry ...
Every curry has a base of onion.
Usually, caramelised, with garlic, ginger and some chillies. Tomato, sometimes, but notice I don't use tomato in this curry.
Shred a large onion and settle it into a heavy based skillet with an inch off the end of a stick of butter. Yes, an inch. Butter provides a wonderful flavour to this dish. Use ghee if you prefer, but butter is all good to me. We're not going to be cooking this on a high heat, so don't worry about hitting the smoke point or fat oxidisation.
Let the onions caramelise on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
The onions will become darker, but should not catch. Keep the heat low. This caramelisation releases all the sugars, which make the flavour of this dish.
Once nicely browned, add in a couple of cloves of minced garlic, a little ginger and a couple of chillies. Sea salt and black pepper, just a pinch and a grind.
Every curry has spice.
Let's make a simple spice mix from a teaspoon of ground coriander, teaspoon of ground cumin and teaspoon of turmeric powder. Add half a teaspoon of fenugreek and half a teaspoon of asafoetida.
Bung the lot into your skillet, stir well and cook on for another 10 minutes. That's 30 minutes in total.
Cube up your cheese into large chunks, say an inch cubes and toss through the onion spice mix. Some folks like to fry off until brown, but I don't. I like just coated in the spice mix.
Add in your vegetables in good sized pieces. My marrow, courgette and aubergine were cut into inch cubes and dropped in along with a good handful of peas.
Stir through, top up with hot water just to cover, raise the heat to bring up to the boil and then reduce to a good simmer until the food is cooked and the liquid reduced. I guess another 20 minutes, or so.
Towards the end of cooking, add in a teaspoon of black mustard seeds and some fresh coriander, chopped.
Taste. Taste is everything. I could list ingredients and quantities until the cows come home, but it's of no use or validity, since taste is personal. You might like a little more spice, more chilli, more salt, more butter. Add it in at this point.
Once served out, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and a wedge of lemon.
That's it! Curry. Easy, simple concepts and a good base for you to play around with ...
Drop out the cheese and add in some fish, perhaps some chicken, large prawns, you get the drill.