How To Butterfly A Chicken

chickenDawn: An alternative way of cooking a whole chicken other than roasting it or placing it in a casserole is to butterfly it.

Andrew: This means cutting it open and spreading it into two halves joined in the centre like a butterfly.

Dawn: If you buy from a butcher, you can have it done there, but as most of us buy from supermarkets these days, here is our simple guide to doing it yourself.

Andrew: Care is needed here. A sharp knife is essential as a blunt one is more likely to cause an accident. Strong kitchen scissors are another useful tool here.

Dawn: Once finished you have a bird that can be cooked in a deep frying pan, on the griddle or even on a barbecue.

Andrew: You can also stuff herbs, garlic, bacon and butter under the skin to provide an incredible flavour boost.

Ingredients

1 Chicken (fresh or frozen, the latter thawed)

Method

  • Remove the chicken from its packaging. Place on a clean chopping board breast up. Dislocate the legs and wings by twisting them.Chicken1
  • Take the largest and sharpest knife you have and cut straight down into the breastbone. You should here a crunch as the bone breaks.20160110_172934
  • Continue to cut down, right to the neck.20160110_173001
  • Turn the bird and cut down to the Parson’s nose.20160110_173035
  • Ease the bird apart with your hands then flatten it as much as you can which will help in the cooking process.20160110_173052
  • If you wish to stuff under the skin, gently work your fingers under the skin to break the membrane between skin and flesh being careful not to tear the skin.20160110_173207
  • Move your hand side to side and use our fingers to reach right under the skin of the legs.20160110_173220

See our other fantastic recipes for stuffing ideas! They include: “How to Make Sage and Onion Stuffing” and “Apple and Dates Stuffing“.  All can be savoured at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and follow us @Love_Food_UK as well as Facebook and Mumsnet

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Spicy Stuffed Marrow

The audience has a hushed silence hanging about it…the kind of silence that you only hear with baited anticipation holding everyones’ breaths deep within them as individual excitements mount to create a palpable collective and universal thrill as what lies in store.

The heavy auditorium curtains give little away as the audience’s excited anticipation reaches fever pitch.

Then…the curtains begin to slowly open and commence their seemingly torturous slow journey to reach their destinations at either side of the impressively large stage. Slowly the heavy fabric sleeves holding their secret are opening with a come-hither look of seductive prowess about them to reveal what the whole auditorium have been waiting for…no other than the Cooking Duo!

Yes, foodies! Live, on stage! With each beaming the widest of smiles and waving cheery greetings of “Hello, fellow Foodies!” to everyone gathered here to see and watch this dynamic Cooking Duo’s show.

Dawn: Well Andrew, what do you have for me today?

Andrew: I’ve been busy in the Love Food garden, Dawn. Have you seen the size of my marrow?

marrow

Dawn: (raises eyebrows) My! That’s an impressive size!

Andrew: The more it’s loved, the more it grows!

Dawn: I don’t wish to know that! But what to do with the beast; it looks a real monster!

Andrew: The marrow is from the same family as courgettes, but unlike its smaller cousin, it is an advantage to be this size.

Dawn: It’s about 15 inches long. Should fit nicely into that baking tray.

Andrew: Marrow is delicious, nutritious, easy to grow and cook. However, the taste is often quite bland.

Dawn: Shall we spice it up a little?

Andrew: You know I can never decline an invitation like that!

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 large marrow

1 red or white onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (or a teaspoon of chili flakes)

1 tsp hot paprika

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

200g chorizo, cubed

250g baby plum/cherry tomatoes

Small glass of wine (or water)

75-100g couscous

Handful of breadcrumbs

Grated cheese of choice – we used mature cheddar but anything you have in the fridge will work just as well as well as manchego or parmesan would be just as good

Andrew: Definitely going to be a kick from this combination.

Dawn: Let’s get this party started!

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200⁰C.
  • Cut the marrow in half, scoop out the seeds and the flesh leaving about a centimetre depth in each half. Season with black pepper and salt, and place in a baking tray.
  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan or frying pan, heat a tablespoon of any type of cooking oil – sunflower, olive or rapeseed oil – over a medium heat.
  • Sweat the onion for 5 minutes, then add the peppers for a further 5 minutes, allowing them to soften.
  • Add the garlic, herbs and spices. Mix well.
  • Add the chorizo and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, allowing the flavour and colour to develop.
  • Throw the tomatoes in (whole or halved depending on taste).
  • Pour in the wine or water, cover and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes until the tomatoes have split and the liquid reduced.
  • Turn off the heat, add the couscous, mix and cover again. The couscous will cook in the liquid and absorb it.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly into the halved marrow.
  • 20150728_192053Cover with tin foil, place in the oven and bake for half an hour.
  • Remove from oven, discard the tin foil, and sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese evenly across the marrow.
  • Cook for a further 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the breadcrumbs toasted, and the marrow is tender.
  • Serve with a salad of your choice, with chicken or lamb if hungry.

20150728_201131Andrew: Half of one of the halves will be sufficient for a lunch.

Dawn: And cold the next day, the spicy flavours really penetrate the marrow.

Andrew: Another winner from the Love Food kitchen.

Dawn: And excellent use of our home grown vegetables!

For more inspiring and easy-to-make recipe ideas from the Cooking Duo, keep following forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and the Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK.

Vegetarian Three Beans Chilli

Are you a vegetarian? Or feeling in a “veggie” mood? Then this simple and tasty meal is a variation on my “Yummy Chunky Chilli” dish – minus the meat!

DSCI4124

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 tsps whole cumin seeds

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 red peppers, washed, de-cored, de-seeded and sliced

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

500ml vegetable stock

1 tin of red kidney beans, drained and washed

1 tin of black eyed peas, drained and washed

1 tin of chick peas, drained and washed (or do your own “How to Rehydrate Dried Chick Peas”)

1/2 a butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into small squares

Method

  • Put the cumin seeds in a large saucepan and toast for about 3-5 minutes on a low heat.

Dawn: You’ll know the cumin is toasted as the seeds begin to release their ‘woody’ aroma. Mmm…delicious!

  • Next, add the paprika and a splash of warm water to prevent the spices from sticking to the saucepan.
  • Add the onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes, adding extra warm water as required to stop the ingredients from sticking to the saucepan.
  • Add the sliced red peppers and chopped tomatoes.

Dawn: You can roast the red peppers before adding them and this will lend a mild roasted flavour to the dish. I’ve not done this on this occasion as I was short of time but it’s worth doing as it adds another dimension to the depth of flavours achieved in the cooking.

  • The vegetable stock and three types of beans are poured into the saucepan and mixed together.
  • Next add the cubed butternut squash and stir the ingredients together. On a medium heat, cook these until they have reached boiling point and then lower the heat, cover and allow to cook on a low and gentle heat for about 45-60 minutes until all the ingredients are tender.

Dawn: You’ll know the dish is cooked when the butternut squash becomes ‘mellow-looking’ – soft and mushy – around the edges and the stock is thick and gluey-looking in appearance and texture. It’ll look like a thickish soup with lots of textures to it when it’s cooked.

  • Serve in a warm bowl with either cooked rice – see my “How to Boil Rice” – or a green salad or simply a slice of tasty bread to lap up the juices when you’ve finished.

Dawn: Voila! A glistening nest of ruby red jewels and opulent orangey gems to feast your eyes – and bellies – upon! Enjoy!

For more easy to make and oh-so simple to follow recipes, then follow this blog at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and over at Twitter @Love_Food_UK. The Cooking Whiz is also on Mumsnet and Facebook.