Thursday 19 December 2013

Chicken and Salad for our buddies

Now that the end of year work rush is over, I've finally had some time to spare. Though I have only just managed to book myself a long overdue hair appointment - long and shaggy might just be this year's look for Christmas for me - I did make some time to prepare a modest little meal for a couple of deserving families we know. Growing up rural, this is always the thing to do when anyone you know found themselves in a need. So here's a simple, summer, child friendly meal that can be eaten cold or the chicken re-heated. The recipe makes enough to share with a good crowd of friends. 

Asian style Chicken Drumsticks served with a simple Pasta Salad and Herb Vinaigrette

20 Chicken Drumsticks or thigh cutlets - whatever is in the supermarket
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 cloves crushed garlic

Combine the marinade ingredients in an extra large bowl. Place the drumsticks in the bowl and stir to cover. Cling wrap and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Line a large baking tray with cooking paper.
Place the chicken onto the lined tray being careful to leave enough room around each piece of chicken so they can brown evenly.

Wash, wash, wash all the equipment and utensils in hot soapy water and sanitise the surfaces; you don't want the raw chicken contaminating anything else in the kitchen.

Cook for about 30 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 85 degrees and the juices of the chicken run clear. I always cook drumsticks to 85 degrees because the large thigh bone takes longer to cook and it is harder to get a reliable temperature reading from.

These can be serve hot or leave covered on the bench to cool enough to package and store in the fridge. 

Pasta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette

500g pack of pasta 
4 carrots
2 onions
1 1/2 cups sun-dried tomatoes - I used the ones packed in oil
2/3 cup large green olives
a bunch of asparagus
about 200g salami 

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salted water. Once firm to the bite, drain in a large colander and refresh with cold water. Shake the water off and leave to drain.

While the pasta is cooking prepare the vegetables: peel and julienne the carrots; finely dice the onion; cut the drained sun dried tomatoes into fine little strips; cook the asparagus in boiling salted water and once cooked refresh with cold water, slice into 2cm sections; slice the salami into little strips; and cut the flesh from the stones of the large green olives.

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate while making the dressing. When your ready, load the salad into whatever container you happen to be using to transport it. 

Herb Vinaigrette - you can use whatever herbs you have in the garden.

4 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
lots of ground black pepper
3/4 cup good olive oil
a good handful of fresh parsley and mint leaves

Place all ingredients into a bowl or flat bottomed jug. 

Using a stick blender mix the ingredients until all the herbs are finely chopped and the mixture has emulsified.

Dress the salad just prior to serving. I put the dressing into little jars so out friends could add what they wanted for themselves. 

Two lots of dinner parcels ready for delivery. Little Miss 4 was overjoyed to be able to provide dinner for her buddies. We are always keen for our little only child to have opportunities for sharing. She glowed with joy to receive thanks from our grateful friends. Just a simple little gesture that shares the love around. 

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