My wonderful "godmother" MamaC shared a delicious sounding Waitrose recipe which she had loved, and I thought it'd be nice to try a recommended recipe. And it seemed straightforward enough. And I like ringing the changes regularly. And I start too many sentences with "and". So anyway, I dutifully bought the chicken as listed in the ingredients - and forgot to check what else was needed. When today rolled round, I looked at the rest of the stuff needed, and realised I don't much like smoked paprika, the kids don't eat mushrooms really, nor does Papa (even though his shift means he doesn't eat with us on Thursdays, he loves a little leftovers for his lunch) so I decided to switch a bit around and improvise.
So here's what happened:
OK, so first off, I started the rice to soak up the delicious sauce. I made my simple "party rice" - pulao rice cooked on hob - chopped onion fried in butter, little whole cumin, some frozen peas, cup of rice, teaspoon of sesame seeds (optional), teaspoon of Marigold, cup and half of hot water, (Quick Cup, yes) bring to boil, turn down low, simmer for 15 mins, switch off, DO NOT UNCOVER - re-set timer for another 5mins, then uncover and add a little salt if desired.
Inbetween times, I browned a pack of chicken mini fillets in a saute pan in some oil. Once they were nicely browned on all sides, I took them out to drain on kitchen paper and added a chopped onion and a crushed garlic clove and cooked that for 3 minutes til soft. I then added 2 teaspoons of ground cumin and a shake of coarsely ground black pepper(the recipe called for the smoked paprika here if you're interested), and once those were mixed in and coated, a teaspoon of sundried tomato paste (and I'm glad I did have that, as it does make a difference from ordinary tomato paste) and finally about 250ml chicken stock. Depending on the stock, you may want to add some seasoning now.
Now I returned the chicken to the pan, covered the pan and simmered for 15 minutes until the chicken was tender and cooked through.
Now the recipe asks for a pack of halved chestnut mushrooms, so I tipped in the rest of a tetra of cannelini beans instead, (had used some earlier in the week in a pasta sauce) and simmered the whole she-bang for another five minutes.
After this I switched off the heat and stirred in half a tub of organic creme fraiche I had instead of the 170ml carton of soured cream the recipe lists. (I had yoghurt on standby if it wasn't creamy enough, but it was gloriously creamy) and finally I sprinkled on a handful of fresh parsley.
Oh, the sauce was sour and creamy and unctuous and wonderful mixed with the lightly scented vaguely nutty perfectly separate-grained rice, and the chicken had absorbed so much flavour and was juicy and succulent, and most importantly, the kids LOVED it, and Littl'Un has a cold and hasn't much of an appetite, and yet she ate almost all of it.
Definitely yum, definitely one to do again! In the summer, I might add a really simple salad of leaves and a lemon dressing to mop up even more of that amazing sauce.
Thanks MamaC, we love the recipe - we'll call it our inspiration!