Tag Archives: chicken

Chicken Waldorf Salad

It’s been a long time since I contributed to my own site here and after much um-ing and ah-ing over whether or not to continue Gentle Voice or amalgamate this with my blog, here I am again, posting here. I am nothing if not indecisive. I think.

So without any more wiffle, here’s a little treat for the tastebuds: Chicken Waldorf Salad. This is an incredibly simple but oh so tasty recipe. Don’t be afraid to alter amounts of the separate ingredients because it’s a very forgiving combo of flavours and creativity is the key to good cooking I say!

Ingredients (For two people):

2 cooked chicken breasts (or equivalent meat from elsewhere on the bird), cut into bite size pieces

1 stick of celery, chopped

2 spring onions (scallions), chopped

2 oz (50g) walnut halves, roughly chopped

6 oz (175g) seedless grapes, washed and halved

3 rounded tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt and crushed black pepper to season

Lettuce leaves (something crunchy like Cos / Romaine lettuce is good).

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl, add the mayonnaise and gently toss through to combine and coat everything. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves. Simple as …

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Butter Chicken

butter chicken







For the marinade

  • 50g natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chillies, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp tandoori masala powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 500g skinless fillets of chicken thighs, cut into 3cm pieces

For the masala

  • 4 tsp raw cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala powder, (optional)
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • 100ml single cream
  • 1 chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

For a lower fat alternative, try using reduced fat evaporated milk instead of cream in the masala



1. For the marinade: Mix the yogurt, flour, oil, aromatics and spices together, then place the chicken in a shallow dish and coat it with the mixture. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight if you can.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the marinated chicken over a medium heat for 10–15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

3. For the masala: Soak the cashew nuts in hot water for 10-15 minutes, drain and grind to fine paste in blender, adding a little milk if needed.

4. Heat the butter in a large sauce pan, add the bay leaf, ginger and garlic and cook gently for 1 minute until lightly golden. Mix in the masala powders and fry for a further minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and sizzle until the mixture reduces and the tomatoes have lost most of their moisture. Mix in the cashew paste and add enough milk to get a thick, saucy consistency.

5. Add the chicken and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes to warm through. Reserve a teaspoon of the cream and stir the rest in with the chilli, then season to taste. Spoon into a warmed dish, garnish with the reserved cream and serve with chapatis.

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Citrus Chicken with Chilli New Potatoes










For the citrus chicken

  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest only
  • 1 lime, juice and zest only
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small bunch coriander, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chilli new potatoes

  • 1kg new potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli paste, or 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 bag mixed green salad leaves, to serve




1. For the citrus chicken: lay the chicken fillets between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and use a rolling pin or meat mallet to flatten them out to about 5mm thick.

2. In a large, shallow dish, mix together the lemon and lime juice and zest, olive oil, coriander and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Add the chicken fillets and coat thoroughly in the marinade then cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

4. For the chilli new potatoes: parboil the potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 7-10 minutes. Drain well then cover with a clean, dry tea-towel to absorb any excess moisture. Set aside to cool slightly then cut into diagonal slices.

5. Melt the butter and oil together in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chilli and the potato slices and fry for 10 minutes, turning halfway, until crisp and golden-brown.

6. To cook the chicken, preheat a griddle pan over a high heat (you could also cook the chicken over the hot coals of a barbecue).

7. Place the chicken fillets on the griddle pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until charred on the outside and cooked through.

8. Serve the citrus chicken with the chilli new potatoes and green salad alongside.


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Baked lemon and garlic chicken with pilaf rice

Lemon and garlicThis recipe apparently has a silly amount of garlic in it but don’t be put off and don’t be tempted to reduce the quantity.  When garlic is roasted it loses its pungency and instead takes on a mellow sweetness that works well with the lemon flavour.


2 tbsp olive oil

1 chicken (approx 2.25 kg / 5 lbs) cut into pieces: breasts, thighs, drumsticks etc

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

125ml (4 fl. oz) white wine

20 garlic cloves, unpeeled

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 1 lemon

1 large sprig of thyme

1 bay leaf

300ml (1/2 pint) chicken stock

For the rice

25g (1 oz) butter

1 small onion (about 125g / 4 1/2 oz), peeled and chopped

300g (11 oz) basmati rice

750 ml (1-1/4 pints) chicken or vegetable stock

To serve

2 tbsp chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 170C (325F), gas mark 3.

Heat a large casserole or saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the olive oil and chicken pieces, skin side down and cook on both sides until golden brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour off and discard any excess fat.

Add the wine and garlic cloves and boil for 2 minutes.  Next add the lemon zest and juice, the herbs and the stock.  Bring to the boil, cover and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

To cook the rice: melt the butter in a casserole or saucepan that is large enough to accommodate all the rice (bearing in mind that it will swell).  Add the onion and season.  Cover and cook over a low heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes until it crackles, then add the stock and some salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil then transfer to the oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until the rice is just cooked so that it is slightly al dente and all the liquid absorbed.

Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve the chicken with the rice in shallow bowls and sprinkled with chopped parsley.


Adapted from a Rachel Allen Recipe


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What does that mean?  A spatchcock is a bird that has been split open for cooking – usually grilling.

Why?  A spatchcocked bird will cook faster than a whole bird (generally it will cook in 45 minutes), it can easily be set in a marinade to give it added flavour and is also a good way of preparing a whole bird for the barbecue (cook in the oven first and finish on the barbecue).

How?  The simple answer is to ask your butcher to do it for you (!) but if you’re stuck with one of those un-peopled long racks of meat in the supermarket, rather than a proper butchery section, it is actually something you can do pretty easily yourself.  I’m assuming that you are not one of those squeamish types about handling meat because you will have to get to grips with the chicken.  I should also say that if all else fails you can use good old chicken portions in a marinade.  This is just more expensive and somewhat defeats the object when there is something very satisfying about knowing how to spatcock a bird!  Isn’t there?

secateursTo spatchcock a chicken you will need a pair of poultry shears or something like very tough scissors or garden secateurs (it goes without saying that they have been reserved for this purpose as traces of poison tree bark on your bird just won’t do).  It has to be something that will pretty easily cut through small-ish bones.

Lay the bird breast side down and cut all along one side of the spine, then repeat the process on the other side.  With the spine now removed you can turn the bird over and flatten it out – it looks a little like a steamroller has gone over it but that, my friends, is a spatchcocked bird.

What next?  Here is a recipe we like from Nigella Lawson for Spatchcock Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary but do bear in mind that just about any marinade will work with a spatchcock bird so why not get creative?  General hints and tips on how to prepare a marinade are on my page here.


1 spatchcocked chicken (approx. 2 – 2.25 kg)

3 long sprigs of fresh rosemary

Juice of 1 lemon, plus more lemons to serve

1 red onion

100ml olive oil

Maldon (sea) salt

Serves 4


Put your spatchcocked chicken into a large freezer bag.  Pull the needles off 2 sprigs of rosemary and drop them on top.  Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the bag then chuck in the empty shells afterwards.  Cut the onion into eighths and add to the bag.  Pour in the olive oil then tie up the bag and give it a good squidge around before sitting it in the fridge.  The chicken can stay in this marinade in the fridge for up to two days (I would give it a minimum of 4 hours to allow the flavours to infuse into the bird).

When you’re ready to cook the bird, get it out of the fridge to let it come up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 210C / 415 – 425F / gas mark 7.  Lay the flattened chicken, skin side up, on a tin lined with foil, along with the lemon husks and onion pieces, and add the remaining sprig of rosemary torn into a couple of pieces, tucking them between the leg and breast.  Cook for about 45 minutes, by which time the chicken should be crisp skinned and tender within.  You can even turn the oven down to about 150C / 300F / gas mark 2 and let it remain in the oven long after it’s cooked through.  Somehow this doesn’t seem to make it stringily overcooked but rather infused with golden tenderness.

Take the tin out of the oven, cut the chicken into four pieces and arrange these on a plate, along with the onion bits, then pour over any syrupy golden juices from the tin and sprinkle generously with Maldon salt.  Cut a lemon or two into quarters and scatter these about the chicken.


This recipe appears in Nigella Lawson’s book ‘Forever Summer’ published by Chatto & Windus, ISBN 0 7011 7381 5


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Gravy – two options

There are two methods for making gravy – either will work for roast turkey, so here are both options.

Method 1: De-glazing the pan

At the end of cooking, once the bird is removed, tilt your roasting pan slightly.  You’ll see the fat sitting in a layer above the precious meat juices.  Pour or spoon off most of this fat, leaving about two tablespoons.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape the sides and base of the pan to release as much of the stuck on goodness as you can.  With the pan over a fairly low heat start to briskly whisk in a rounded tablespoon of plain (all purpose) flour.  When you have a smooth paste, start to add hot turkey stock, a little at a time.  You’ll find that once you have added some liquid any stubborn bits will come away from the pan and you have effectively de-glazed it.  You can either continue in the same pan, or transfer you liquid to a small saucepan if you find that easier (I usually do).  Now continue to add hot stock and maybe a glass of wine until you have the consistency that you are happy with.  How thick or thin you like your gravy is entirely up to you.  In general terms, 1 pint of liquid is good for each rounded tablespoon of flour.  Leaving the gravy on a gentle heat will reduce its bulk and make it thicker.  If it’s too thick for your liking add a little more liquid.  I’d advise checking seasoning and adding more only at the end of this process as it’s way too easy to mis-judge the intensity of those cooking juices and end up with salty gravy.  (This can be ‘repaired’ …see my page here).

Method 2: De-glaze and use beurre manie to thicken

As above, at the end of cooking, once the bird is removed, tilt your roasting pan slightly.  You’ll see the fat sitting in a layer above the precious meat juices.  Pour or spoon off most of this fat, leaving about two tablespoons.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape the sides and base of the pan to release as much of the stuck on goodness as you can.  Now start to add you hot stock, scraping any remaining goodness from the sides and base.  Once the sauce is bubbling, add beurre manie to thicken.  (I never bother with gravy browning …. what is that stuff anyway?!)  Again, don’t add seasoning until you have checked what your gravy tastes like.

These two methods produce tasty gravy for all roasts – just use a stock that is appropriate to your joint of meat.

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Bird? What bird?

roadr_coy1What size of bird (turkey) should you buy for you and your guests?  Aim on 1 pound of turkey for each adult guest (1-1/2 if you’re aiming to have leftovers).  Many people just go ahead and buy a great behemoth of a bird, regardless of this calculation – it’s no wonder they get sick of the sight of the thing by day two!  (A simple ‘What size turkey to buy’ chart is posted at the end of this article for quick reference).

If you only have a small group to cater for, you may like to consider an alternative.  Nowadays you can buy just a ‘turkey crown’ – this is literally just the turkey breast meat, so if you don’t like the brown meat anyway, this may suit you better.  Disadvantages: You’re unlikely to find it complete with giblets so you won’t easily be able to make your own turkey stock for the gravy (normally well worth doing), it won’t look as impressive if you usually take the bird to the table to carve (!) and it won’t cook in the same way.  Nevertheless, it’s a simpler option for a smaller family get together.

Steering away from turkey entirely, did you know that a growing number of people in the UK are opting for chicken on Christmas Day?  There is absolutely no reason why you can’t still do all the traditional trimmings  like ‘pigs in blankets’ to serve alongside the humble chicken. 

If your group is too big for a single chicken but too small to warrant an entire turkey, there is a kind of half-way-house option of a capon.   A capon is basically a castrated cockerel, the meat of which is succulent and tender.  They are, unfortunately, hard to find and big poultry producers use hormones to induce caponization (never something I’m happy with).  If you’re lucky enough to find a small supplier, and like me you’re bothered by hormones in food, check whether the bird has been surgically or chemically castrated.  You may find capons available through small, quality butchers or farm shops.

If you pick the ‘chicken option’ don’t feel you are cheating your family by the way.  I, for one, far prefer the flavour of chicken to the rather bland and often dry turkey.

Moving away from chicken and turkey, on continental Europe goose is the traditional choice in many countries.  It’s moist, tasty and has the added advantage of rendering a supply of fat to use for delicious roast potatoes and veggies.  See chef Gordon Ramsay’s roast goose recipe here.  (Cook the goose on a raised rack in the roasting tin to keep it out of the fat …not mentioned in this recipe).

Those are the most obvious bird alternatives for your Christmas meal.  No rule book says, however, that you need a bird at all.  A tasty roast of beef or pork would be very nice and judging by the number of hits I’ve been getting to this site lately for ham cooked in coke, I’d say that if that takes your fancy then you’d be in good company!


If you’re going down the turkey route, here is a quick reference chart to tell you what size turkey you’ll need to buy:

5 lb / 2.25 kg                    serves 4 – 6

8 lb / 3.6 kg                       serves 6 – 8

10-12 lb / 4.5 – 5.6 kg   serves 10 – 12

20 lb / 9 kg                        serves 12 – 15

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Basic Kitchen Hygiene

It’s coming up to that time of year again, when we wrestle with a behemoth of a bird in order to feed the gathering hordes family.  I often think that handling poultry is a bit like preparing fugu fish.  Get it wrong and you’ll pay – big time!  Don’t get in a panic however, the Gentle Voice is here to dispense a few words of wisdom that will help you through.  To begin with…

Hey..chicken tips!Should you wash poultry before cooking?  Simple answer: No. 

  • Salmonella cannot be washed off meat and can only be destroyed by the heat of proper cooking.  Washing poultry only raises the risk of splashing raw juices around sinks and work surfaces.

For further information, please visit the USDA site here and/or the Food Standards Agency site here

Here are a few other facts, pointers and tips:

Harmful bacteria can be found in all poultry: chicken, duck, goose and turkey as well as game birds like partridge and pheasant. 

Store raw birds in the bottom of your fridge to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Keep cooked meat away from raw meat.

Thoroughly thaw frozen meat – plan ahead and follow instructions on the packaging ‘to a T’, defrosting in the safe, cool environment of the refigerator (in other words, below 40F). Use your own judgement too – if you see ice crystals, or the flesh is ‘crunchy’ with ice when you start to handle it then it needs longer to defrost!  Some more information specifically to do with thawing can be found here.

Be aware that any / all packaging around the meat may well be tainted with harmful bacteria.  If you’ve touched it, you need to wash your hands.

Use separate cutting boards for raw meat

When you have handled raw meat, make sure that you thoroughly wipe down and clean anything that it has touched, together with all nearby surfaces, with hot soapy water.

~~~T O P~~T I P~~~

When I’m about to handle raw meat, I first fill a bowl in the sink with plenty of warm water, make sure that I have one of those soap dispensers with a push top nearby, and a few sheets of kitchen roll.  Once I’ve finished handling the raw meat I can plunge my hands straight into the clean water, press the top of the soap dispenser with my forearm and dry my hands with kitchen roll.  That way I don’t have to touch kitchen taps with ‘meaty hands’.  (To be honest I am so careful about raw meat that I usually wash my hands once in the bowl of water and then in running water from the tap, finishing by washing out the bowl and around the tap anyway!  Obsessive?  Yes maybe, but I have never made my family sick from the food I have prepared and I intend that things stay that way)!


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Totally yummy Bread Sauce

ClovesBread Sauce has been around for hundreds of years and is used as an accompaniment to poultry and game.  This recipe was part of a Roast Chicken meal prepared by a contestant on the recent ‘Britain’s Best Dish’ competition shown on UK ITV.  I can’t attribute it other than to say that because the ITV website, in their wisdom, haven’t included the contestant’s name. 

We tried this sauce at home as part of our Sunday roast and loved it so much that it has become an intrinsic part of the meal.  It would be equally good with the Christmas turkey and the advantage of this particular recipe is that it’s delicious yet a good deal  quicker to prepare than the usual sauce.

Scottish Bread Sauce

Serves 4

4 cloves of garlice, in their skins, wrapped in a little foil packet

1 medium onion, finely chopped

50g butter

White pepper and sea salt

500ml whole milk

8 cloves (you may find it handy to put these in a little muslin bag or an individual tea infuser to make them easier to fish out when you’ve finished with them)

30g porridge oats

50g dry-ish white bread, crumbed

1 tablespoon of double cream

200ml whole milk to add to the finished sauce if it’s too thick


Put the garlic in foil in a dry frying pan and heat for 10 minutes until rubbery.  Allow to cool a bit then remove the skins.

Fry the onion in butter with salt and pepper until soft. Add the milk, cloves, garlic, oats and cream.  Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove the cloves from the sauce mixture and blend with a hand blender.  Add the breadcrumbs and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Add some of the spare whole milk if you feel the sauce is too thick.

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