Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I love one pot meals.
I love one tray bake meals even more.
Point here is ..... the less time spent putting dinner on the table and cleaning up the better.
I did try for a few years to like cooking but I just can't. All the crazy work involved just to have a meal was just not worth it for me. I rather have toast and coffee anytime. The man tried to encourage me. My friends too. But however hard I tried, the magic did not happen. I never found the joy (and therapy) that they claimed existed from chopping vegetables and stirring pots. But reality is I still needed to cook dinner at home. We cannot afford to eat out everyday or hire a cook. Hard fact to stomach and it was no fun.
I made Jamie Oliver's baked chicken with tomatoes and basil last week. It was my second partially failed attempt. The chicken was tender and flavorful. The man and the girls loved it to the bits, literary. And complimented me till my face and ears turned bright red. So, what was wrong? I did not tell them that the skin was supposed to be crispy not limp and soggy! *hides face in shame* I had no idea what I did wrong. I read and re-read Jamie's recipe and yet could not figure out the problem. After stressing over it for days, I gave up. I decided that this would be my version and the skin is NOT supposed to be crispy!
I thought the non-crispy skin would remain a mystery forever. One of my friends (a damn awesome cook) came over for coffee recently and I told her about it. She took a look at the picture above, chuckled and told me, "You shouldn't put the tomatoes and basil on top of the chicken. All their juices will prevent the skin from crisping up. You should tuck them between the gaps." It was a light-bulb moment for me.
Tender and Crisp Chicken with Tomatoes and Basil
(Recipe from Jamie Oliver)
• 4 chicken legs, preferably free-range or organic, jointed
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• a big bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
• 2 big handfuls of red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved, and ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
• 1 whole bulb of garlic, broken up into cloves
• 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
• olive oil
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Season your chicken pieces all over and put them into a snug-fitting pan in one layer. Throw in all the basil leaves and stalks, then chuck in your tomatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan with the chopped chilli and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix around a bit, pushing the tomatoes underneath. Place in the oven for 1½ hours, turning the tomatoes halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone.
I have been following the Cook Like A Star blog hop event for awhile now but never participated. This is my first entry for the event, organized by Bake for Happy Kids.