Having my favourite meal tonight – chicken in orange and tarragon sauce.
So easy – lightly cook through raw chicken pieces and a finely chopped onion – by lightly, I still mean thoroughly, but not brown – I fry the chicken and onion in a little olive oil and chilli oil mixed to give it a kick. I know we’re not supposed to fry this or butter that, but to hell with it, I like my food to taste good and rich and yummy.
Then I add finely chopped fresh or dried tarragon, chicken stock and orange juice. Great if you have real chicken stock hanging around in the freezer or fridge, but if you don’t, just use a couple of stock cubes – don’t make the stock too watery – in fact, make it strong, and then make up to the recommended amount with orange juice.
Fresh chopped tarragon at the end – and if I forget to toss my raw chicken in seasoned flour to begin with (which i’ve done tonight) I just stick in some thickening granules at the end. No fuss. Then, you can either add some cream, or creme fresh, or even natural yoghurt if you’re feeling particularly virtuous – but be sure to thicken before you add any of these or your sauce will separate. Or you can eat without any additions, which is even more virtuous!
But how much virtue can you take? Let’s have some indulgent Butternut Squash soup.
I’m not sure if it’s called Butternut Squash in every part of the world, so here’s a pic…
Again, I use a mix of chilli oil and olive oil as i like things spicy (you think?)
So… peel (I know some chefs say you don’t need to peel, but i think that makes the soup gritty however long I bake the squash for.
Peel and remove the seeds and goo from the centre. Slice and place on a baking tray with 2 sliced onions. Drizzle with oil (and honey if you like a sweet soup, but be sparing as both the onion and squash are naturally sweet). Bake in a really slow oven until you know that your whizz-banger won’t explode if you try to mulch the pieces down. I don’t know how long – I’ve never timed it – just make sure it doesn’t brown or you will discolour your soup. Quite a time is my best guide ? Maybe an hour — cover if it threatens to brown before it’s soft.
Then whizz bang the pieces of squash and onion with your stock and add coconut milk – season to taste, and hey presto!
I can’t tell you how much stock, either – i’d say to taste – just so the soup is a little bit thick without being gunky – and not watery, that’s for sure.
I love homemade food, and believe me, mine is all trial and error. It wouldn’t be Christmas here without something left to turn to cinders in the AGA – but if 90% turns out yummy, that’s good enough for me.
Love to you all, and happy eating! My mouth is watering just reading this, so I’m off to check my chicken is still simmering away contentedly on the stove (not sure my vegetarian son would agree – but i’ll make sure he has something equally special to eat on Christmas Day ?)